DES MOINES – Dozens of athletes filed in to the Pella Fieldhouse on a cold November afternoon for the opportunity to earn a spot on the Iowa Barnstormers training camp roster. Among those athletes was defensive back Jeremy Gloston and wide receiver Jonathan Duarte.
Traveling to Pella from different locations, both athletes had the same goal in mind: to showcase their skills and most importantly prove themselves.
"My goal was to go in there, prove myself, and earn a spot on the roster," said Duarte. "I traveled 6 hours from Chicago alone to make the tryout, so I had much time to think about the task at hand and visualize what I had to do to perform my best."
Gloston shared similar thoughts going into the open tryout, noting that he arrived prepared and ready to give it his all and show off the hard work he put into training
Proving that hard work pays off; Duarte and Gloston both received a contract following their open tryout performances.
"I was hyped," said Gloston. "First thing I did was thank God, then called my mom. Getting that call made me realize I'm that much closer to my ultimate goal of playing in the NFL."
For these athletes, the open tryout was only the first stop in a long road to making the team. Receiving a contract from the open tryout meant earning a spot at the Barnstormers Training Camp, where they would once again compete to make the final roster.
"Going into Training Camp I was excited to go against all the competition I had been reading about from the signings," said Gloston. "I felt like I had something to prove coming into camp. Getting invited to camp is one thing, but my mindset was 'don't be content, come to play every day like it was your last.'"
Entering Training Camp, the tryout duo joined 32 other athletes who were equally eager to earn a spot on the final roster.
"Training Camp was a whole new monster," said Duarte." "I was more curious than nervous. I was mainly curious about this being a slightly different game than outdoor football. Having Coach Chinn helped me get through it. I would not really ask him questions, but I'd listen to his every word, even ones not spoken toward me. Being a coach myself, I've learned that no matter how long I've played for there is always more to learn."
Gloston and Duarte both participated in a two week long Training Camp which included practices, one-on-one's, and an inter-league practice with the Quad Cities Steamwheelers of the CIF.
"Going through camp was fun," said Gloston. "You had over 30 men trying to win a spot on the roster which means you were going to get nothing but their best. Adjusting to playing indoor was different, but Bryce [Enyard], BJ [Butler], and other returning players gave me helpful tips and tricks that have benefited me up to this point."
At the end of the two week camp the Iowa Barnstormers coaching staff would have to cut their roster down to 25, forming the final roster for the 2018 season. Both Gloston and Duarte made the cut after a long journey from the November tryout.
"Cut day was a long day," said Gloston. "I was just waiting, kept checking my phone to make sure it was on loud. I found out I made the team, I gave all glory to God then I called my momma."
Duarte felt relief upon learning he made the final roster. "It was so relieving to find out I made it, but I knew I had to work that much harder because I'm not the type to get comfortable," said Duarte. "I also felt a sense of pride."
Both athletes noted that their main goal for the season is to win games and help bring a championship to Des Moines. The Iowa Barnstormers are now 2-0 and sitting in first place as they go into their third game of the season this Sunday, March 18. Both Gloston and Duarte have seen playing time in the team's first two victories, one home and one away, and look for another win this weekend.
The Iowa Barnstormers return to Wells Fargo Arena this Sunday, March 18 to face the Sioux Falls Storm. Kickoff is at 3:05 p.m. The first 1,000 fans at the game will receive a free poster courtesy of Scrap Processors, Inc. featuring Jeremy Gloston and Jonathan Duarte. Tickets to the game are available now. Call the Barnstormers front office at (515) 633-2255 or visit www.theiowabarnstormers.com.