COLUMBIA — The end of a college athlete’s career can be the end of their athletic career all together.
Marvin Williams, 24, knows exactly how that feels. But he is getting another shot.
The Columbia Trojans, Columbia’s new semiprofessional football team, offer a chance for men 18-and-older to get together and play the sport they love. The Trojans held their first preseason practice Saturday at Rock Bridge High School .
“I finally gave up my dreams of going to the next level,” Williams said. “Now I’m just out here to have fun.”
Williams is a graduate of Hickman High School, where he played defensive tackle and defensive end. After graduation, he went to Missouri Western in St. Joseph where he played for two years.
During his second season in 2005, Williams tore his meniscus in his left knee. In December of that year, Williams underwent surgery and had 85 percent of the cartilage in his knee removed.
The next year, Williams transferred to MU in hopes of walking on to the Tiger football team. Although he accomplished that goal, Williams decided he wanted to play more and eventually chose to play for Central Methodist in Fayette his final two years. Williams graduated from CMU with a bachelor’s degree in business finance and a minor in math.
After graduation, Williams had hoped to play professional football and had worked out with the St. Louis Rams. However, Williams fell short of his NFL dream.
So he decided to just let football go.
“I just figured," Williams said, "'well I have a degree, so I might as well use it.'”
But now, Williams has two jobs, one as an accountant for MU and one as a Trojans football player.
And Williams says he’s OK with balancing the two.
“I’ve always had more than one thing to do,” Williams said, “and the people I work with are very understanding.”
So now that Williams is getting one last shot, will that also mean one last shot for his knee?
“I’m not too worried about it,” Williams said. “It’s just a matter of keeping it iced and taking care of it.”
Williams was one of about 16 who showed up Saturday for the Trojans' first practice . But defensive coordinator Nate Brinkley says they still need more.
“We need people to come out of retirement and dust off their cleats,” Brinkley said.
Brinkley says the team is in its beginning phases right now, and looking to see how much interest it receives. The team does not hold tryouts, just preseason practices like the one held Saturday. Brinkley said anybody who wants to come out and participate would automatically be a part of the team.
The Trojans season is scheduled to begin on June 6, with several preseason games to precede it.