Three Nebraska Wesleyan transfer students have been working hard preparing for their upcoming season in the fall. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the past season during the spring semester was short. Even though these unprecedented times have been difficult, Clay Nelson, Dylan Sieber, and McKade Smith are all excited to get back on the field—even after the spring season was considerably shorter. With a summer of training to look forward to and the prospect of a full season in the fall, these players still enjoy practicing together and improving their skills.
Clay Nelson, a sophomore business administration major from Yutan, Nebr., is a safety on the football team. Nelson attended the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) in Omaha, Nebr. for his freshman year of college before deciding to transfer to NWU. When asked why he decided to transfer, Nelson mentioned that UNO does not offer football as a college sport, and he wanted to get back to the game he loves. Nelson instantly felt at home at NWU and the city of Lincoln. Football at NWU has allowed him to stay busy. Nelson is excited to get back to the field because the team “practiced all fall” and “hasn’t played a game in so long.” It’s been 2 ½ years since Nelson specifically has played a competitive football game which adds to the excitement of a season finally beginning.
Dylan Sieber, a sophomore exercise science major from Silver Springs, Nevada, is a running-back on the football team. Sieber attended MacMurray College in Jackson, Illinois before transferring to NWU. During the COVID shutdowns last spring, he found out that MacMurray College would be permanently closing down. Knowing he still wanted to play football, Sieber started looking at different colleges with his previous coaches. He decided to play football at NWU because he “loved the program and facilities” and NWU is bigger than his previous college with “more of a city aspect.” Sieber is excited to get back to in-person competition, especially after such an uncertain year. It was hard for the team to keep pushing through, but they are ready to give it their all on the field.
McKade Smith, a junior athletic training major from Sidney, Nebr., is a wide receiver on the football team. Smith attended Chadron State College in Chadron, Nebr., before transferring to NWU. He transferred in January for his major; he was drawn to NWU’s football program. Smith said, “Chadron did not have an athletic training program and Wesleyan has a really good one.” There was also more football opportunities for Smith at NWU than at Chadron State College. He even mentions that “the atmosphere at NWU is great, and I love the professors.” Smith is “looking forward to getting on the field and playing with the guys” after practicing together all semester.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the team has been limited to three tickets per player this past spring season. This is to ensure that everyone stays healthy and safe. Masks were also required in attendance. For those who could access tickets, the games were live streamed on the Nebraska Wesleyan football page so fans could still support the players. On April 10, 2021, NWU football had a home game against Central College and on April 17, 2021, NWU football travelled to Coe College for their game.
Even though the football team did not play a full season, the players are ready to get back to the field in the fall. These three transfer students are even more excited to continue their football career at NWU. Each of them has a unique story as to what brought them to NWU and will be a great addition to the Nebraska Wesleyan community.