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League owner looking to start semipro football team in Bemidji

BEMIDJI — James Kern is the owner of the Midwest Premiere Football League (MPFL) and he is exploring the possibility of adding a team in the Bemidji area.

“I want to have a fall league with teams in Bemidji, Brainerd, the Twin Cities and Duluth,” Kern said. “And I’m looking for players, coaches, a partial owner, sponsors and others to become part of the team.”

Kern classifies the MPFL as a semiprofessional football league.

“The majority of the players play for the love of the game,” Kern said. “Nobody gets paid. The players have to purchase their own equipment. But I think there are many guys from the different age groups and the different backgrounds who would like to play.”

Kern also owns the Brainerd team and he said that those players range in age from 18 to 44. A roster includes 30 to 40 players and Kern said the successful teams are those which have ties to the community.

“Anybody who wants to be part of the organization is welcome,” Kern said. “What I am looking to do is build a community-based football team.”

The game is true football and follows the NFL rules. Kern’s goal is to have the fall league, and Bemidji’s team, up and running in August.

Where the team would play and where it would practice are yet to be decided but Kern is currently working on those details.

The team also doesn’t have an official name but Kern is taking suggestions.

“I hope to announce a name in two weeks and I thought I would have the fans come up with it,” Kern said. “People are urged to contact me with a suggestion and we will use the name that gets the most votes.”

People who have suggestions are asked to contact Kern either by phone call or text at 218-831-1400.

The fall season will be short as each team will play the other three in a home-and-home series. Following those six games the league will have a playoff which would feature all four teams in the semifinals and those winners would play off for the title.

“There are a thousand semipro football teams in the country and I see no reason why one can’t be successful in a community like Bemidji,” Kern said. “Bemidji has the size, it has a college and it has a successful high school program.”

Anyone wishing to play or become a part of the Bemidji team can contact Kern.  

Pat Miller

Pat Miller is the sports editor at the Pioneer.

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