Coaches and family members have guided DB/S McNabb in right direction

Sheldon McNabb has been playing football for three years and is heading into his first year of high school ball, but back when he first considered playing football, his mom was opposed to the idea because of the injury risks, which would have prevented him from playing the other sports that he was already involved in. But a coach changed his mom’s mind.

“Coach Koop talked to her and the next thing I knew I was playing football,” he said.

Sheldon plays two positions but prefers one to the other.

“I like playing DB more than safety,” Sheldon said. “There is a lot more action. Playing DB keeps me on my toes. I am always trying to stay one step ahead of the offence and contain them.”

And he believes that his “athleticism” gives him an edge.

He has had a few memorable moments during his playing days, such as winning the Provincial Championship in Tier 1 this year with the Sherwood Park Rams, making the Bantam Bowl North Team and playing in the Western U16 Football Challenge and winning the gold medal.

Here are some of Sheldon’s other accomplishments: Sherwood Park Raiders – Most Valuable Offensive Threat Award (2014), Sherwood Park Rams – Jim Skitsko Award, playoff MVP and MVP Defence Award (2016), and Bantam Bowl North Team (2017).

So far this year, Sheldon has attended numerous camps and combines. Most recently, he completed a summer development program through Cross Conditioning.

“In this program, we worked on strength training at the local recreation centre as well as outdoor sessions that were focused on speed, sprinting skills and individualized positional football skills,” he said.

Other camps/combines that he participated in include: Edmonton Wildcats Summer Camp, Team Alberta U16 Western Challenge, Bantam Bowl tryouts, U of A Golden Bears Passing School, U of A Golden Bears Passing School (DB work), U of A Golden Bear Elite 64 Camp and Semi Pro’s flag football.

The flag football camp was comprised of “a lot of the Salisbury High School Players,” which is where he’ll be attending school.

“We worked mostly on positioning skills, then had fun scrimmages,” Sheldon said. “Attending these variety camps and being coached by different individuals continuously increased my skill level and knowledge surrounding football. Seeing the skills of the older players that are in post-secondary, shows me how hard I will have to work to succeed. I am looking forward to the challenge of competing alongside all other athletes at Salisbury High School.”

However, the recruitment process has been non-existent so far, except for an invite he received to a football camp by coach Brian Wyllie of SFU, which he had to decline because he was at the Western Challenge.

In the future, Sheldon is interested in playing for a post-secondary team. He isn’t sure which career path he wants to choose yet, but he’s sure he’ll “figure that out soon enough!”

“I am hoping that I will be able to earn a scholarship of some sort,” he said.

As for influences, he’s had several coaches who have significantly impacted his life.

“I think the most influential person in my football life would be coach Skitsko (bantam football head coach),” he said. “He was a great mentor and a father figure for me. Before every practice started, our team sat together in our clubhouse and listened to what he had to say. He gave great advice about life and always said, ‘Education came first.’ Coach Nyszczuk (bantam defence coach) always supported me. I would do anything for him, which meant I worked that much harder as I never wanted to disappoint him. Coach Clarke and Ferguson (junior high basketball coaches and PE teachers), I looked up to them as father figures, as my dad died when I was four years old. They always had their offices open and often I would sit in there and talk with them over lunch hour.”

His mom and sister Jolene have been vital support systems as well.

“The three of us have been through a lot,” Sheldon said. “My mom has always supported me, driven me thousands of miles to practices and games, and is always in the stands cheering me on. My sister is my biggest cheer leader and I love it when she comes to my games. I can ALWAYS hear her cheering from the stands.”

For the upcoming season, he is “looking forward to the challenge.” There will be an adjustment phase, but he is confident he “will do just fine.”

“I have just finished playing for Team Alberta, which has given me more experience and different coaching as well,” he said. “I just finished attending the Cross Conditioning Camp, allowing me to stay in shape throughout the summer. I also attended the high school spring camp, which helped me develop my skills. At the end of the school year, I participated in a football jamboree with my upcoming high school football team, which gave me a pretty good idea of how hard I will have to work to strive and succeed.”

At the end of the day, football is meaningful to Sheldon on many different levels.

“Football means so many things: teamwork, responsibility, sportsmanship, loyalty, dedication, discipline, honour and respect,” Sheldon said. “It has given me the chance to meet new people and make some great friends! It has taught me how to win and lose gracefully, how to be prepared mentally and how to learn from my mistakes. It taught me about family, my football family!”


Sheldon McNabb (#12)
6’0, 150lbs

Teams: Sherwood Park pee wee Raiders, Sherwood Park bantam Rams, Alberta Border Bowl Team, Team Canada U16 West, Team Alberta U16 Western Challenge, Bantam Bowl Team North
Commitment: None
Official Visits: None
Considerations: Open
Class: 2020


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