Team Updates:
Clash of the Titans
Hall of Fame
USA Bowl
Team Banquet
Stelter Goes Pro
2012 NEFL Champs
Elite Bowl in St Paul
Pioneers Top Seed
South America
Conference Clinched
Football Camp
St Paul Moves to 7-0
Pioneers On WCCO
Pioneers Move To 6-0
Player Feature
Pioneers 'The Movie'
St Paul Goes 5-0
Pioneers Go To 4-0
Pioneers Are 3-0
Pioneers Win Again
Kare11 Feature
Pioneers Beat Sting
New Pioneer
Season Kickoff Party
CityPages Award
No Accident
2nd Practice
1st Practice
Mini Camp Highlights
Mini Camp
Tryout 2 Success
New Apparel Store
2012 Tryout Dates
Tryout Success
Wills Thankful
DE/Te Wills Goes Pro
George Hall Returns
Schulz Returns
Move to Sea Foam
Powell New DC
VidSwap Sponsor
2011 Season Wrap Up

Pioneer News

  Non-league “Clash of the Titans” Announced  

Two of the best semi-pro football teams in the country will clash on May 4, 2013 in St. Paul, Minn., as the St. Paul Pioneers, winners of three consecutive Northern Elite Football League championships and the 2009 NAFL National Championship, take on the Des Moines Blaze, winners of the past two Midwest Football Alliance championships and 2011 Semi-Pro BCS National Champions, in a non-league game.

The matchup will be played at 7 p.m. at Seafoam Stadium at Concordia University-St. Paul, home of the Pioneers.

“Our fans, our families, our players, have been asking for a challenging non-league schedule and quality opponents,” Pioneers Head Coach Mark Heiser said Monday. “They don’t get much better, or more challenging, than Des Moines.”

(Read Full Story)

(Return to Top)

  “Juice” named to the American Football Hall of Fame  

We have referred to George Hall by a lot of terms of endearment over the years.

Lineman. Equipment Guy. Owner. Board Member. King Juicy. Juice.

Now, the St. Paul Pioneers are proud to hang another name on a guy who has been one of the keys to all of our 102 wins, seven league championships and one National Title since 2002: Hall of Famer.

Former team owner and current Pioneers Board Member Geor ge “Juice” Hall has been named to the American Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Hall will be honored soon in a recognition ceremony in Miami, Florida.

Board member and Assistant Head Coach James Walsh has known “Juice” since they were members of the Minneapolis Lumberjacks together in the late 1990s. He praised the decision to add Hall to the Hall of Fame.

“No one in this part of the country has played a larger role in building the quality of amateur football than Juice,” Walsh said. “The way he has helped build the Pioneers into one of the top teams in the nation, while still reaching out to other teams and forging relationships with players, coaches, owners and board members throughout the area has helped our sport grow in stature and in recognition.”

The St. Paul Pioneers are proud to have one of our own going into the Hall of Fame. It is well-deserved. Congratulations to our friend and our teammate!

Here is what the Hall of Fame said in its letter to Juice:
Dear Hall of Famer:
CONGRATULATIONS and WELCOME! You have been accepted for induction into the American Football Hall of Fame Class of 2013.
Our fourth American Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony, honoring a “League of Extraordinary People” from all levels of American Football, will take place this year in Miami, Florida.
You will be receiving additional information under separate cover. Please feel free to contact either of us for any assistance we can give.

Again, congratulations and welcome. We are honored.
Board of Directors
Jesse Wiggins Dick Suess TBA
Southeast Region Northwest Region Central States Region
Guy “Tiny” Lee Mercedes Wiggins TBA
Midwest Region Southeast Region Northeast Region
(Read Full Story)

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers To Play In USA Bowl National Championship  

The St. Paul Pioneers are scheduled to take on the North Texas Longhorns on Saturday, Jan. 19, in the USA Bowl Spring-Summer National Championship game in Daytona Beach, Florida.
The Pioneers are 12-0 and three-time champions of the NEFL. North Texas is 15-0 and champions of the TUFL. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. at Daytona Beach Municipal Stadium, home of the Bethune-Cookman Panthers.
For more details click HERE.

(Return to Top)

  2012 Championship Celebration Banquet  

What: 2012 Championship Celebration Banquet. Come enjoy post-season awards, great food, a highlight video, free championship t-shirts and a post-season bowl announcement.
Where: O’Gara’s Bar and Grill
When: 5:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 23
Cost: Just $10 for players, volunteers and staff; $15 for family and friends.
Please go to to pay online.

(Return to Top)

  Long-snapper Stelter signs Pro Contract  

He had been busting his rear for years, working camps, teaching youngsters all over the country the tools of the long-snapping trade. He had also won a few championships with the St. Paul Pioneers. But, despite being what his coaches consider one of the best long-snappers in the country, Kyle Stelter’s odyssey for a spot in professional football had not yet reached its goal.

But, just as Stelter was preparing to start a student teaching job, everything changed. The Sacramento Mountain Lions of the professional United Football League called and offered him a job. Stelter heads for training camp this week.

“It was unbelievable,” said the 24-year-old who still has a semester to finish at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. “When I got that call, I knew that my dream is still alive.”

Just as the father’s of left-handed boys are well-advised to see if their sons possess a decent fastball, so too do long-snappers have a rare skill coveted by football coaches. There just are not that many people out there who possess the speed and accuracy to sling a football back between their legs to National Football League standards. But the pros are always searching.  Pioneers Head Coach Mark Heiser thinks they have found one of those rare talents in Stelter.

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Win Third Straight Elite Bowl  

By Cassie Kickert

Saturday, the Pioneers played in their third consecutive Northern Elite Football League Elite Bowl.  Would they win their third championship, and fourth overall, in a row?

It was looking good early, when linebacker John Robinson stopped Predators quarterback LA Anderson short of a first down.

The Pioneers offense started quickly as well when, just a few minutes later, quarterback Michael Spriggs threw to Delane Woods, who then ran 23 yards for the game’s first touchdown.

Woods had never played in a championship game before Saturday’s Elite Bowl.

A short time later, however, the Predators became only the third team to score on the Pioneers this season as Vince Furby ran 72 yards for a touchdown. After a failed extra point attempt, the score was 7-6 Pioneers. Suddenly, the future of the Pioneers’ title hopes weren’t quite so clear.

(Read Full Article) 

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Advance to 2012 NEFL Championship Game  

By Cassie Kickert

In two games earlier this season, the St. Paul Pioneers outscored the Minnesota Spartans 55-22. Saturday’s playoff game, though, had more at stake. The winner would go on to Elite Bowl V, the Northern Elite Football League title game.

The loser would go home.

Less than two minutes into the game, the Pioneers sent a message: They would not be going home.

On the Pioneers’ first offensive play, Isaac Odim took the ball right and ran 54 yards to the end zone for the game’s first score.

Then, after defensive back Jake Lindsey intercepted Spartans quarterback David Connors’ double-reverse, Hail Mary pass, Pioneers quarterback Michael Spriggs and wideout Marcus Foster connected on a 40-yard touchdown pass. Just like that, the Pioneers set the tone for the rest of the game.
(Read Full Article) 

(Return to Top)

  8-0 Pioneers Clinch the NEFL Playoffs' Top Seed  

By Cassie Kickert

Pioneers fans saw a familiar sight Saturday during St. Paul’s final regular season game against the River City Rough Riders at Seafoam Stadium: Isaac Odim running almost the length of the field for an early Pioneers touchdown.

Less than two minutes into the game, the star running back from the University of Minnesota-Duluth ran 83 yards on the Pioneers’ second offensive play. It gave him and the team a great start on another superior day rushing. Odim carried the ball just eight times for 145 yards.

The Pioneers were not done, though. They were on a mission—a mission to clinch the top seed in the 2012 NEFL playoffs.

(Read Full Article) 

(Return to Top)

  Pioneer to take his football talents to South America  

By Jim Walsh

Phil Breidall’s football career has, until now, been confined to southern Minnesota and northern Iowa.

He played high school ball at Pine Island and spent a semester at Upper Iowa University,
before transferring to Rochester Community and Technical College in 2007. Later, he became a defensive stalwart at linebacker for Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, before joining the St. Paul Pioneers this spring.

Now, though, Breidall’s life is going to become a lot more worldly. The Pioneers’ leading tackler is leaving the cozy confines of the United States to start his latest football journey in Brazil. Yes, Brazil. And it is not to play futbol – or soccer – but American football for the Jaraqua Breakers.  He leaves this week for the land of Carnival, Salsa dancing and the Amazon.

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Clinch The Western Conference  

By Cassie Kickert

Saturday’s game in the extreme heat and humidity of LaCrosse, Wisconsin, didn’t start as the Pioneers had hoped, at least defensively, as they watched the River City Rough Riders drive down the field for over eight minutes to start the game.

Defensive back Lionel Lamarre temporarily righted the ship when he recovered a fumble that stopped the long drive and gave the Pioneers possession.

Then, the offense went to work.

Isaac Odim, who has become the Pioneers’ trustworthy and consistent ball carrier, got the Pioneers to the Rough Riders 38 yard line. After a pass from Spriggs to tight end Joe Ubani moved the chains again, Spriggs threw 33 yards to receiver Damien Rochon-Washington, who slid across the goal line for a touchdown, the game’s first score, in the second quarter. Jay Harding banged the extra point off the upright, however, making the lead 6-0.

(Read Full Article) 

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Youth Football Camp A Success  

By Cassie Kickert

The St. Paul Pioneers held their fourth annual Capital City Youth Football Camp on Saturday, June 9, at St. Paul’s Rice/Arlington turf field.

The Pioneers offensive players who participated in the camp included: quarterback Michael Spriggs, running backs Ron Toles, DeMario Walton and Joe Sellwood, receiver Mike Dozier, tight ends Joe Ubani and Eric Baumgartner and offensive lineman Zach Thompson. Defensive players at the camp included Tyrese Brent and Tierre Thompson.

To start off the camp, all 10 Pioneers players taught future tackle football players, ages 8-14, proper technique for offensive positions such as quarterback, running back, wide receiver and offensive line.  Then, after a brief water break, the focus switched to defense, where the kids were put through defensive line drills, linebacker drills and defensive back drills

The camp concluded with a touch football game, enjoyed by all who participated. QB Spriggs could be heard cheering his team on from across the field. The kids were revved up too, cheering before each play; Coby Birch was named most valuable camper and was rewarded with a Vikings football.

Finally, each camper received two free tickets to that afternoon’s game versus the Minnnesota Spartans and could see how their favorite Pioneer played.

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Edge Spartans to Clinch Spot in Playoffs  

By Cassie Kickert

Saturday’s game was the latest installment in the Pioneers/Spartans (formerly Dragons) rivalry. From coaches yelling instructions to players on the field to players encouraging each other to keep fighting to the blowing horns blaring from both sides of the field, even the casual observer knew this game meant something to both teams.

To the Pioneers, a win meant a spot in the playoffs. To the Spartans, it meant beating their rival and, also, beating the best.

Games like that rarely go according to plan.
That was the case Saturday as well.
No one could have predicted the Spartans would be the first to score.

(Read Full Article)  (Photos)

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers On WCCO  

Your St Paul Pioneers were recently featured on WCCO. 
To watch the full feature Click HERE.

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Shut Out Giants in Rochester  

By Cassie Kickert

On Saturday, the St. Paul Pioneers hit the “replay” button. Another game with rain. Another shutout by the defense. Another scoring frenzy.

But this game didn’t start with a quick score as so many have this season. The end result was the same, though: another huge Pioneers victory.

Neither team would score on their first possession. On the second Pioneers possession, however, running back Isaac Odim – a star and national champion at the University of Minnesota-Duluth -- was the workhorse. He gained all of the Pioneers 78 yards on the drive, including a 63 yard touchdown run for the game’s first score.

The next Giants drive started at their own 23. The Pioneers defense, including linebacker Phil Breidall who sacked Giants’ quarterback Mike Van Leer when he exploded through the line on a blitz, ensured they did not get beyond it.

(Read Full Article)  (Photos)

(Return to Top)

  Original Pioneer Series: Damien Rochon-Washington  

By Cassie Kickert

One player still with the Pioneers from the original 2002 squad is receiver Damien Rochon-Washington.

11 years ago, fellow original Pioneer Guillame Paek, Rochon-Washington’s teammate with the former Minneapolis Lumberjacks, approached him about joining a new semi-pro team, the St. Paul Pioneers.

The Pioneers’ founders, Adam Gold and Ryan Venturine, also played for the Lumberjacks as well as current assistant head coach/defensive line coach Jim Walsh, who came up with the nickname “Pioneers”.

(Read Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  St Paul Pioneers 'The Movie'  

Recently, filmmaker Ryne Martin has been spending time with the Pioneers shooting a unique, behind the scenes video series.  Just released is his first video of the St. Paul Pioneers... called 'What We Do."
Please watch it here... and watch for more of Ryne's work throughout the remainder of our season.

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Outplay Spartans  

By Cassie Kickert

Excitement, anticipation and passion ran as high as the temperature Saturday afternoon at Seafoam Stadium as the Pioneers battled the rival Minnesota Spartans.

This game started the same way the last one ended—with an interception by the Pioneers defense. This one was negated by an offside penalty, though.

There would be more mistakes by both teams but the Pioneers, like all championship-caliber teams do, overcame theirs to take home the victory.

The next mistake came when the Spartans intercepted quarterback Michael Spriggs, his first in five games this season. Spriggs was undeterred, coming back and throwing a touchdown pass to tight end Joe Ubani on the next Pioneers possession.
(Read Full Article)  (Photos)

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Beat Thunderhawks 58-0  

By Cassie Kickert

“They’ve never had an offense like ours”, quarterback Michael Spriggs said to the offense in a huddle after last Thursday’s practice – he was talking about past Pioneers teams.

He’s right. Through the first four games of 2011, the Pioneers scored 111 points. The opposition scored only 19 points, impressive, to be sure. But in 2012, the Pioneers offense and defense have taken their accomplishments to another level. Through the first four games this season, the team has scored 207 points, 96 more points than last season.

And how many have teams scored against the Pioneers? Zero. Zilch. Nada. That’s right. No team has yet been able to score on the Pioneers this season. Although the Menomonie Thunderhawks came close – being stuffed on 4th down at the 1-yard line – the Pioneers defense made sure it didn’t happen Saturday at Seafoam Stadium.

While the Pioneers are seemingly scoring at will, the defense is unlike anything anyone has seen from the Pioneers, too. Saturday also marked the 50th victory for head coach Mark Heiser in four short years coaching the Pioneers.

(Read Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Offense, Defense Crush Giants  

By Cassie Kickert

Every season has its own set of challenges. No one expected the 2012 season to be any different. No one could have predicted the Pioneers’ previously deep set of running backs would be down to a couple during Saturday’s NEFL game against the Rochester Giants, though.

As it turned out, there was no need to worry. Quarterback Michael Spriggs and the Pioneers receivers made sure more than enough points were scored to win the game. And the Pioneers defense – continuing its early season dominance – did more than its part as well.

In a 37-0 victory, the Pioneers did make some mistakes but, like all great teams, had the talent to overcome them.

The challenges started early when Lionel Lamarre ran a punt back for a touchdown only to have it called back on a Pioneers penalty.

Spriggs and the offense came right back and scored on a 55 yard touchdown pass from Spriggs to Marcus Foster.
(Read Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Crush the Spartans  

By Cassie Kickert

To say that the Pioneers overpowered the Central Wisconsin Spartans Saturday would be an understatement. The Pioneers imposed their will on the Spartans all afternoon, especially in the running game.

Even though running back Brad Foss hurt his knee in the first quarter, Andy Folz and Jamal McNutt did their best to make sure the offense didn’t miss a beat.

In fact, the Pioneers first three touchdowns were by running backs. Foss took the first one in from six yards out after quarterback Michael Spriggs ran for 25 yards.

Foss was the workhorse on the next drive, starting from the Spartans’ 15 yard line, until he injured his knee. Then, running back DeMario Walton took it in from the one yard line. On the next offensive possession, Spriggs’ pass to Foss set up a touchdown run by Folz on fourth and one.

When asked about sticking with the run on that drive, Folz said, “We decided to stick with it. We got our blocks and were able to get in.”
(Read Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Featured On Kare11  

On May 8th, your St Paul Pioneers were featured on Kare11 News!
For the video feature and article, click here:

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Dominate Sting  

By Cassie Kickert

Pioneers’ players and coaches are calling it Step One.

It is what happened in the first game at Concordia University’s Seafoam Stadium – a decisive, all-encompassing victory for the hometown, 2-time defending NEFL champion St. Paul Pioneers.

It began slowly, but turned quickly. The Pioneers won the toss but elected to defer, trusting Kahn Powell’s defense to stop the Sting.

Indeed, they did more than that. The Pioneers staunch defense shut the Sting down. Although the Sting would intercept Pioneers backup quarterback Bryan Trulen and recover a fumble in the third quarter, they would be unable to capitalize on it.

The Pioneers offense did more than its part as well – scoring twice in the first quarter and five times in the first half. Starting quarterback Michael Spriggs threw touchdowns to three different receivers and also took one in himself. The first one came on the second possession of the game to running back Isaac Odim.

(Read Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  A New Pioneer Joins the Family  

The St. Paul Pioneers would like to wish a hearty congratulations and best wishes to Ron and Lasha Toles on the birth of their beautiful new baby girl. Here are the vital stats:

Name: Zamira Leia Toles
Born on: 4/28/12
Time: 11:16 pm
Weight: 9.0 lbsLength: 21 inches long

(Return to Top)

  2012 Season Kickoff Party  

Saturday April 28 from 7pm – Midnight at O'Gara's Bar & Grill!
Celebrate the Season Kick Off with the St. Paul Pioneers!
Bottomless beer for just $10

O'Gara's Bar & Grill:
164 North Snelling Avenue, Saint Paul, MN
(651) 644-3333

(Return to Top)

  Damien Rochon-Washington Wins Award  

St. Paul Pioneers' receiver Damien Rochon-Washington was just named the Twin Cities best personal trainer by CityPages!

(Return to Top)

  Success Is No Accident  

Written By: Cassie Kickert
Many people make the St. Paul Pioneers’ success possible – on and off the field. This article will highlight three people who will be valued contributors this season.

Lionel Lamarre is one new face Pioneers fans will see on the field this season. Last season, he played in the All-American Bowl with the Minnesota Spartans. Then, his friend, receiver Marcus Foster, told him about the Pioneers.

Lamarre’s playing resume is exemplary. He has been an extraordinary player everywhere he’s been.

He was a star defensive back for the Southwest Minnesota State Mustangs, earning Honorable Mention All-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) his junior and senior seasons. He had a team high three interceptions and eight pass breakups in 2008, SMSU’s first winning season since 1999.
(Read Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Makes Perfect  

Written By: Cassie Kickert
Although the air outside was cold Thursday night, action on the St. Paul Pioneers’ practice field was heating up. Players new and old to the squad are getting ready for the season opener May 5.

Running back DeMario Walton is returning for a third year with the Pioneers.

His favorite thing about being a Pioneer is the “camaraderie and togetherness of the team. [Being able to] be a part of the team coming together as the season goes on.”

Those watching practice can see it happening already as players cheer on and encourage one another.

“Everybody’s on the same page. Everybody wants to win,” Walton said.
(Read Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Have Good First Practice  

Written By: Cassie Kickert
The St. Paul Pioneers’ first regular practice was one of continued learning and improvement. To begin practice, players received instruction from the coaches and then broke off by position doing a variety of drills. In addition, the offense and defense fought for the ball while practicing many different plays.

Linebacker Derrick Jacobs is one player the offense will go up against in practice. This is his first year playing for the Pioneers.

When asked why he joined St. Paul, he said, “I miss football.”

Jacobs, who played at Minnesota State University-Mankato, was a two-year starter and lettered three years at Northfield High School in Northfield, Minnesota. In addition, he was the school’s second leading tackler and named Honorable Mention All-Missota Conference.

Another new Pioneers defensive player is defensive lineman Brandon Murdock. Murdock played high school football at Richfield High School here in the Twin Cities. He also played one year for the Ridgewater Community College Warriors.

His goals are to “go as far as I can until I get injured or slow down.”

By contrast, Ron Toles is not new to the Pioneers. The running back was on the Pioneer’s practice squad last year and is again this year. Toles played high school football at California Independent High School.  He moved to Minnesota three-and-a-half years ago after getting married.

The Pioneers’ next practice is Thursday, April 5 at 7 pm at St. Paul Municipal Athletics.

(Return to Top)

  Mini Camp Highlights  

Written By: Cassie Kickert
With a rare March Minnesota sun beating down on MacMurray Field in St. Paul, players took to the field Saturday and Sunday, learning Pioneers plays and formations at the St. Paul Pioneers 2012 Minicamp.

Quarterback Michael Spriggs is one player hoping to make the Pioneers again in 2012. Spriggs just moved back to the Twin Cities. He last played for the Pioneers in 2009, helping the team on its road to the NAFL National Championship.

“I love the organization,” Spriggs said.

When asked what his goal is this season, he didn’t hesitate: “To win another championship.”

(Read The Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  Team Mini Camp  

The St. Paul Pioneers will hold their annual mini-camp on March 24 and March 25 at McMurray Field in St. Paul. This is a FULL CONTACT event and players need to wear full equipment to participate. This is your last chance to try out for the Pioneers for 2012. If you have attended either of the previous tryouts, or were on the roster at the end of the 2011 season, there is NO COST.

New players who have not yet tried out for the team in 2012 must pay $20.

The camp will be held both days from noon to 3 p.m. Returning players are STRONGLY encouraged to attend.

McMurray is located at 1101 W. Jessamine Avenue in St. Paul, at the southern end of Como Park just west of Lexington Parkway.

Contact Head Coach Mark Heiser for more information: (651) 300-4365

(Return to Top)

  Another Successful Tryout  

Excitement and anticipation ran high at the second St. Paul Pioneers tryout on Sunday February 19th. During the 11-on-11 drills, applause rang throughout the arena as players cheered on potential teammates.

Delane Woods was one newcomer hoping to make the 2012 Pioneers. Woods has plenty of experience playing football, however. He played high school football at Minneapolis Washburn High School. He also played for two years at East Los Angeles College, a junior college in California.

In 2008, he was second on the team with 20 catches for 412 yards and six touchdowns. That year, he finished with 603 all-purpose yards.

He transferred to North Dakota State but suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament, however. Now, his knee is fully healed and he hopes to put the hurt on Pioneers’ opponents. He hopes that playing with the Pioneers, defending champions of the Northern Elite Football League, will give him a chance to play football at an even higher level.

(Read The Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  New Team Apparel Store  

St. Paul Pioneers fans, family members, players and staff who want the latest and best Pioneers gear have a new place to go for attire that fits them to a “P” – the new Pioneers team store through GTM Sportswear.

Developed this year to give Pioneers followers and fanatics a greater range of choices – from T-shirts and sweat shirts to equipment bags and jackets – the new team store will allow fans to buy a wide variety of team-themed items all year long.

“We are really happy with what GTM is able to do for us with this online team store,” Head Coach and General Manager Mark Heiser said. “This just gives us a much more professional way to make our fans happy.”To access the new Pioneers team store through GTM, go to

(Return to Top)

  Player Tryouts February 19th  

The St. Paul Pioneers members of the Northern Elite Football League and the 2010 & 2011 League Champions will hold open tryouts for the 2012 season on Sunday February 19th from 2pm-4pm. Tryouts will take place at the Bethel University Sports and Recreation Center (3900 Bethel Drive, Arden Hills, MN 55112).

Registration will begin at 1:30pm. The cost of the tryout is $20 for new players and can be paid at the door or online through the Pro Shop on the Pioneers website . There will be no charge for players that ended the season on the 2011 Pioneers roster.

Players should wear shorts, t-shirt, and gym type shoes and be ready to go through football related drills.

Questions about the 2012 tryouts can be directed to Mark Heiser at or (651) 300-4365.

(Return to Top)

  January 8th Tryout Success  

The nearly 60 players came from all walks of life and all experience levels – from on-the-verge pros to longtime dreamers. But any way you look at it, the St. Paul Pioneers’ first tryout for the 2012 season – held Jan. 8 at the Bethel University Sports and Recreation Center – was a rousing and exciting success.

Near the top of the list for the Pioneers’ hopes for a third straight Northern Elite Football League title was a running back who has been a two-time NCAA Division II All-America and a Division II National Champion – not to mention a San Diego Charger for a couple months last summer. Issac Odim, a former star running back for the University of Minnesota Duluth Bulldogs signed a Letter of Intent to play for the Pioneers in 2012.

For the Pioneers, who have won six championships in their first 10 seasons, including the 2009 NAFL National Championship, the appearance of Odim and all the other high quality football players provides high hopes for this season as well.

(Read the Full Article)

(Return to Top)

  Wills Thanks Pioneers for Making Him Feel Welcome  

It was a pretty easy decision to make.
Robert Wills, an All-NSIC defender for the Bemidji State Beavers, wanted to keep playing football after graduating from college. And he wanted to play for the Pioneers.

“A no-brainer for us,” said Jim Walsh, the Pioneers assistant head coach and defensive assistant.But Wills, who had taken part in several combines, wanted to try his hand at tight end. He had played defensive end in college.

Again, a no-brainer, said offensive coordinator Rob Neumann.  The Pioneers were willing to give it a shot.

In the end, Wills played both tight end and defensive end for the St. Paul Pioneers in their 2011 championship season. And he played well enough to get a look from the Green Bay Blizzard of the Indoor Football League. The Blizzard recently signed Wills to a professional contract.
(Continue Reading)

(Return to Top)

  Versatile Pioneers Standout Gets Pro Contract  

St. Paul Pioneers Tight End/Defensive End Robert Wills wanted to have fun and keep playing football last summer – so he joined what is perhaps the best amateur team in the Upper Midwest. It turned out to be a great move – for the Pioneers and Wills. The Bemidji State University star not only helped St. Paul to its second consecutive league title, but he caught the eye of professional scouts.

Now, Wills joins the Green Bay Blizzard of the professional Indoor Football League – thanks in large part to his ability to keep sharp playing the game he loves with the Pioneers. Wills caught a key 2-point conversion in the Pioneers’ 15-0 win over the Chippewa Valley Predators in the Northern Elite Football League title game in August.
(Continue Reading)

(Return to Top)

  George Hall Returns As Director of Player Relations  

There is no need for the St. Paul Pioneers to baste their turkey this Thanksgiving. The team just got a whole lot more Juicy.

George Hall, known as Juice to those who know him and love him, is returning to the team he helped start on its way 10 years ago. Hall, who has been everything from a player to sideline manager to team owner, is joining the Pioneers’ Board of Directors as Director of Player Relations.

Hall owned the team in from 2008 through 2010. In 2009, St. Paul embarked on a historic coast-to-coast odyssey to win the 2009 NAFL National Championship in Miami Beach, Fla. He took last season off to tend to the home fires and move ahead professionally.

Now, he is back. And to Hall and the Pioneers, it is like he never really left.

“I am very happy, actually,” Hall said of his and the team’s decision to rejoin each other. “It’s in my blood, this organization. It’s in my soul. It’s a part of me. Being away for a week, a month, or more, it eats at you a little bit.”
(Continue Reading)

(Return to Top)

  Brian Schulz Returns to the Annoucers' Booth  

Brian Schulz, the voice of the St. Paul Pioneers, is returning to the booth as the Pioneers’ PA announcer at all home games. Schulz will work Pioneers games at their new home: Sea Foam Stadium at Concordia University-St. Paul.

Schulz, a former coach and owner of the Pioneers, took a couple of years off to focus on his kids and career. But he said he is jazzed about returning to the team that has been such a big part of his life. The Pioneers are the two-time defending champions of the Northern Elite Football League.

“I missed the history, the tradition. Everything,” Schulz said. “I missed that camaraderie.”
(Continue Reading)

(Return to Top)

  Pioneers Move to Sea Foam Stadium  

The two-time NEFL Champion St. Paul Pioneers will call a new stadium home for the 2012 season: Sea Foam Stadium at Concordia University-St. Paul.

Sea Foam, one of the best and newest football stadiums in the St. Paul- Minneapolis Twin Cities area, opened two years ago. It cost an estimated $14.5 million to build and is located in the heart of St. Paul’s Midway neighborhood at Interstate Hwy. 94 and Hamline Avenue.

The Pioneers will have full access to the stadium facilities, including home and away locker rooms. Being on the campus of Concordia University should feel like coming home to several current and former Pioneers players, many of whom played for the Golden Bears during their college careers.

“We would like to thank Concordia officials and staff for their willingness to work with us to make this exciting opportunity happen,” Pioneers Head Coach Mark Heiser said. “Moving to Concordia will only help the Pioneers draw an even larger fan base.”

The move to Sea Foam already is opening new doors for Pioneers sponsorships and other partnerships with area businesses. New announcements regarding those developments will be coming soon.
(Continue Reading)

(Return to Top)

  Powell Named New Defensive Coordinator  

Maybe the ball-hawking, ball-stealing, points-scoring St. Paul Pioneers defense will now be known as the Wrath of Kahn.

Kahn Powell, a much-respected and longtime Pioneers defensive assistant, has been promoted to Defensive Coordinator, the Pioneers announced Sunday. Powell, who had been the Pioneers defensive backs coach since 2008, promises to stress taking the ball away from opposing offenses.

“This is just a great opportunity to step up and coach a great group of players,” Powell said about his decision to take the defensive reins for St. Paul, the NEFL’s top defense over the past two seasons. “I’m happy I can do it with the Pioneers.”

Pioneers Head Coach Mark Heiser, who was the team’s defensive coordinator himself in 2006 and 2007, said Powell will bring an excitement to the Pioneers’ defense. “And I am excited about the dynamics he will bring. Kahn is going to help make a great defense even better.”

Rob Neumann, the Pioneers’ Offensive Coordinator, was happy to hear the news that Powell had accepted the job.
(Continue Reading)

(Return to Top)

  VidSwap Sponsorship  

The NEFL Champion St. Paul Pioneers are proud to announce a 2012 season
partnership with, an online game video distribution and analysis
provider that allows the Pioneers to immediately post game film to the Internet
to be seen by coaches, players and professional scouts.

As a Pioneers’ sponsor, gives Pioneers players and coaches a true
advantage – allowing the team immediate access to game film from any laptop or
PC. It means the Pioneers are able to game plan an opponent, evaluate their own
games and send game film to professional scouts at the click of a mouse.
(Continue Reading)

(Return to Top)

  2011 Season Wrap Up  

The two-time NEFL Champion St. Paul Pioneers recently looked back on an incredible 2011 season – while also looking ahead to building an even better team in 2012.

First, some reflections on 2011, another championship year:
Wide receiver Joseph Mapson was named the Pioneers’ Most Valuable Player. The Concordia University- St. Paul standout played receiver, punt returner and even quarterback at times for the cardinal and black. Mapson proves his value every year, but he came through with perhaps the season’s most sensational play with a leaping, twisting and falling touchdown grab against the Chippewa Valley Predators in the 2011 Elite Bowl to give the Pioneers a lead they would never relinquish in a 15-0 win.  Mapson was also named co-player of the year for the NEFL.

Defensive tackle Jeff McGaster, a Pioneers dominating force since joining the team in 2008, was named Defensive Most Valuable Player. Jeff had 10 sacks, 60 tackles, an interception and a blocked field goal in seven games. More importantly, he is a game-changer that forces the other team to double-team him if they hope to do anything on offense. McGaster was also awarded Defensive Player of the Year for the NEFL National Conference.
(Continue Reading)

(Return to Top)


  1. 1 Pioneer News
    1. 1.1   Non-league “Clash of the Titans” Announced  
    2. 1.2   “Juice” named to the American Football Hall of Fame  
    3. 1.3   Pioneers To Play In USA Bowl National Championship  
    4. 1.4   2012 Championship Celebration Banquet  
    5. 1.5   Long-snapper Stelter signs Pro Contract  
    6. 1.6   Pioneers Win Third Straight Elite Bowl  
    7. 1.7   Pioneers Advance to 2012 NEFL Championship Game  
    8. 1.8   8-0 Pioneers Clinch the NEFL Playoffs' Top Seed  
    9. 1.9   Pioneer to take his football talents to South America  
    10. 1.10   Pioneers Clinch The Western Conference  
    11. 1.11   Pioneers Youth Football Camp A Success  
    12. 1.12   Pioneers Edge Spartans to Clinch Spot in Playoffs  
    13. 1.13   Pioneers On WCCO  
    14. 1.14   Pioneers Shut Out Giants in Rochester  
    15. 1.15   Original Pioneer Series: Damien Rochon-Washington  
    16. 1.16   St Paul Pioneers 'The Movie'  
    17. 1.17   Pioneers Outplay Spartans  
    18. 1.18   Pioneers Beat Thunderhawks 58-0  
    19. 1.19   Pioneers Offense, Defense Crush Giants  
    20. 1.20   Pioneers Crush the Spartans  
    21. 1.21   Pioneers Featured On Kare11  
    22. 1.22   Pioneers Dominate Sting  
    23. 1.23   A New Pioneer Joins the Family  
    24. 1.24   2012 Season Kickoff Party  
    25. 1.25   Damien Rochon-Washington Wins Award  
    26. 1.26   Success Is No Accident  
    27. 1.27   Pioneers Makes Perfect  
    28. 1.28   Pioneers Have Good First Practice  
    29. 1.29   Mini Camp Highlights  
    30. 1.30   Team Mini Camp  
    31. 1.31   Another Successful Tryout  
    32. 1.32   New Team Apparel Store  
    33. 1.33   Player Tryouts February 19th  
    34. 1.34   January 8th Tryout Success  
    35. 1.35   Wills Thanks Pioneers for Making Him Feel Welcome  
    36. 1.36   Versatile Pioneers Standout Gets Pro Contract  
    37. 1.37   George Hall Returns As Director of Player Relations  
    38. 1.38   Brian Schulz Returns to the Annoucers' Booth  
    39. 1.39   Pioneers Move to Sea Foam Stadium  
    40. 1.40   Powell Named New Defensive Coordinator  
    41. 1.41   VidSwap Sponsorship  
    42. 1.42   2011 Season Wrap Up