Kean Football player finds support on the field
By Mak Ojutiku
You need to be a certain kind of person to be a football player. It takes a special kind of mentality to get through all the practices, training camps and workouts. All football players have some kind of defining motivator one way or another. For some it’s the rush of just being on the field, or the adrenaline rush after a big play. For others the power to perform comes from within. Some use football as an outlet, a way to channel the anger and emotions that comes with a troubled life. One such player is Kyle Wiggins.
Wiggins, a sophomore defensive back for Kean University’s Football team, is currently in his second semester here at Kean. Despite being here for a somewhat short time, he already feels embraced by the people that make up the Kean community.
“I love it here,” Says Wiggins. “I met some great people here and if I ever leave there would be at least 50 people here I’d keep talking to.”
He doesn’t plan on transferring, but if he did it wouldn’t be the first time he’s had a sudden change in environment. Wiggins has been moving around since his early childhood. Born in Baltimore, Maryland his family moved to New Jersey in the middle of his fourth grade. In his eighth grade his family had to move again due to illnesses in the family.
“My mom and stepdad got very sick, so they moved into a home closer to a hospital,” He recalls. “I basically lived and took care of myself for all of that year.”
His parents’ illnesses lead to economic struggles for the family. He occasionally had to go without power and hot water because of unpaid bills. His struggles continued and it wasn’t until the parents of one of his teammates saw what was happening, that something happened. They saw the conditions he was living in and they invited him into their home. These days Wiggins sees these struggles as an obstacle that he was forced to overcome with a positive attitude and a strong support system.
“[I was] moving from place to place, not really knowing where I was gonna be next year,” He says. “No matter where I was I always had people that loved me and cared about me.”
Sports have always been around Wiggins’ life. “When I was a kid was never inside I was never playing video games. I was outside playing sports.” Football in particular was a sport he had much affinity for. Wiggins was initially attracted to the team aspect of the game. “In football you have to get eleven different personalities to be on the same page at the same time. It makes it harder but if you get it it’s a thing of beauty.” Football also gave him a chance to let the emotions that he had no other venue for.
“Football helped me not be angry all the time,” He says. “I realize I have to [be] the rock for my family. So if someone’s upset I can’t be upset because I have to take care of them. Football’s where I let all my emotions out. I’m always the one screaming, getting everyone hyped up. I put all my emotions into it because that’s where I can express myself.”
In high school, Wiggins’ emotion filled play lead him to become one of the most revered defensive backs in New Jersey. During his playing days for Absegami High School in Galloway, New Jersey he received attention from programs like Rutgers, the University of Connecticut and Monmouth University.
After high school, Wiggins decided to go and play for Wesley College of Delaware. He ended up only being there for one semester. He says he never felt embraced there and he ended up leaving there after one semester. He then found his way to Kean.
“As soon as I got here I was embraced” he says. “In Wesley we never hung out and stuff. Here the coaches actually care about you it’s more of a family more of a camaraderie. I’ve met some great people here”.