In a sport that constantly rewards forward movement with a new set of chances, Mcgregory Frederique has come a long way. The Elmont resident, 31, has spent the past year showcasing his football skills with the upstart Team America, hoping to catch the eye of professional scouts despite having his first serious exposure to the game in 2015 as a member of the semi-pro Westchester Steelers. But as Frederique notes, his passion and dedication to the sport has helped him make up for lost time.
“If I’m not reading about football, I’m watching football, watching the NFL preseason games, watching videos, just learning more about the sport,” Frederique said. “It’s all about football at the end of the day.”
In order to make it onto Team America, Frederique had to send in a highlight video and wait to be called. The team plays many of its games in front of scouts from the NFL, CFL and Indoor Football League, and Frederique sensed it was a golden opportunity to advance his career and land a professional contract. Despite competing with thousands of aspiring players, many of whom had more experience, Frederique was selected for the roster. So far, he says, he’s faced a considerable learning curve, but has managed to persevere.
“It’s been pretty tough to learn the playbook,” Frederique said. “When I was playing for the [Westchester] Steelers, we didn’t really have a playbook. They gave us sheets to remember plays. But so far, so good.”
Frederique cleared an important hurdle in January, when he participated in a Team America game in Daytona Beach with 10,000 people in attendance. Though he didn’t see action at his primary position, wide receiver, Frederique was pleased with his performance, acknowledging that it led to a number of new opportunities.
“I did pretty well,” he said. “I played on special teams. After that, I got an email a couple of weeks ago that they wanted me to play in Canada. That was really surprising. And not only that, I was invited to Germany as well to play there.”
Frederique departs for Canada on Sept. 1, and has even more excitement to look forward to come Oct. 14, when he’ll participate in his largest showcase yet. Frederique was given the opportunity through his new talent agent, who is affiliated with the NFL.
“That’s something I really want to prepare for. That’s giving me the opportunity of a lifetime—to show my talents to a lot of scouts,” Frederique said.
The youthful-looking Frederique hasn’t faced many questions about his age as of yet, but he is well aware that 31 is around the time when players at skill positions like running back and wide receiver begin to approach the ends of their athletic careers. However, though he recognizes his window of opportunity may be short, Frederique sees his age as little more than an anecdote, and he has no intention of stopping short of his goal.
“I don’t think like that because if you think like that, it’s going to discourage you,” Frederique said. “The dream is developing. I’ve gotten this far, so why give up? I don’t give up on something that I really want to do.”