By: Joseph Cacciotti
Three Algonquin students have been invited to join the Ottawa Sooners.
Jamie Sturgeon, Graham Kelly, and Devin Paul attended their first practice camp with the team Sunday March 9.
“It’s why we’re so sore today, but it was a great experience,” said Jamie Sturgeon, a professional writing student.
Getting the team’s attention, however, was not easy.
“We applied last year but they turned us down saying they wanted people with more experience. We’re really excited and it’s a great experience for us.”
Sturgeon, Kelly, an architectural technician student and Paul, police foundations, all live in residence with a passion for football. Between classes and assignments they have been working together to practice their trick-shots and promote their brand Sweettoss, which has changed from a hobby into a career-building opportunity.
They create videos of trick shots, have a line of clothing, play in Algonquin’s intermural football every Tuesday and have started training with the Ottawa Sooners for the season starting in August. Kelly, 19, will be quarterback. Paul and Sturgeon, also 19, will become wide receivers.
The trio met in residence, but played in the Quebec Junior Football League together.
“That really brought us closer and Sweettoss is bringing us even closer as friends,” said Kelly.
What is now known as Sweettoss began in the athletics dome, at the end of the parking lot opposite Student Commons.
“We went to train ourselves, to stay in shape and be ready for camps and the next season coming up,” said Kelly.
“We started playing horse, just having fun and I filmed a throw from 50 yards away at a pylon on a goal post and I hit it.”
A friend encouraged them to make something out of their talent upon seeing them practice earlier this year. On Jan. 17 they created their Sweettoss youtube, twitter, and Facebook accounts, and by Jan. 25 started uploading videos.
“What we are doing is trick shots. We’re going downtown, to the canal, to Carleton University, everywhere we can imagine that might appeal to fans,” said Kelly.
Kelly, Paul and Sturgeon have been meeting up in the dome every day from Monday to Friday between classes to work on their skills and have fun. They were already practicing football together for roughly two hours a day before they ever thought of Sweettoss.
Though they have only been filming since late January their YouTube channel quickly climbed to 10 000 video views. This may in part be because of their Harlem Shake shorts which make up the majority of their views.
“We try to integrate comedy to make our videos more entertaining and engaging,” said Kelly.
What you can expect from a Sweettoss video is good music and football stunts with deadly accuracy. They have done everything from throwing a football in a moving bin 15 ft. off the ground from 70 yards away, to bouncing shots off walls and hitting distant targets.
Sweettoss shoots their YouTube videos in locations nobody would expect.
“We were doing a bridge shot from the top of the bridge to the canal and there must have been 50 people watching us,” said Kelly.
With some of their trick shots being done inside and off of buildings, they are not always allowed to be attempting the shots they film.
“We have a system in place, there are three of us, and there’s no harm in carrying a football around,” said Kelly.
Despite their confidence, risks are a part of every toss they film. On Friday March 8, Sweettoss went downtown to film trick shots by the canal and from around the Rideau Centre.
“We didn’t get in any trouble but we also couldn’t get any shots worth our time. Security was everywhere that day. I don’t know why,” said Paul.
“We had to come back on Sunday and then we were able to make some progress.”
Sturgeon, Kelly and Paul did not think up the concept of Sweettoss entirely on their own. The concept is based on YouTube artists Dude Perfect who plays basketball and Brody Smith who uses Frisbees. Sweetoss’ primary goal is to be in an episode with Dude Perfect.
“We haven’t found anyone that uses football like this,” said Kelly.
“This really gives us confidence proceeding with our work.”
Sweettoss hopes to create a club with competitions for most accurate throws, kicks and creativity including prizes from their newly created Sweettoss gear.
Using a website called Spreadshirt the trio have created 70 different articles of clothing to sell. They have made $240 since creating the Spreadshirt Sweettoss gear last month. This is not a large amount however it is a start for a growing college brand less than three months old, and has yielded over $200 for a bank account they set up for the running of Sweettoss.
The students continue to commit to football and Sweettoss, with strong support from their family and friends.
“My family has a business with a branch in China; in the future we would like to use this connection to outsource production to China and make full profit on our products,” said Kelly.