All in the family: Sippio keeps family name alive in hometown
[KISSIMMEE, Fla.] - It's definitely an All in The Family situation for Osceola GhostRiders linebacker Roger Sippio as he prepares for the upcoming World Indoor Football League season.
There's no dysfunctional thing going on with the Sippios, but never underestimate the motivating power of sibling rivalry when it comes to athletics. And, this is the part the GhostRiders front office definitely likes; the extended family has always been supportive and may fill up two sections in Silver Spurs Arena beginning in March.
"Everybody's been sticking with us since little league,'' Sippio said. "It's a good problem I have, who all is going to get in and how many ticket's we're going to need.
Sippio's main focus, of course, is putting on a show for his built-in fanbase. Originally slated to play college ball at Miami, Sippio instead toiled with the Orlando Rage of the Sunshine State Football League, registering 27 interceptions in two seasons while garnering a team defensive MVP nod.
"I just love the game,'' Sippio said. "Having family in the stands makes you want to play harder, but I just want the opportunity to play."
GhostRiders coach Marquette Smith said that the linebacker position is loaded right now, but Sippio brings an intangible to the game.
"He's hungry and I'd rather have a kid's who is driven rather than a star with a little more talent who has issues,'" Smith said. "Sipp's big, strong and has a nose for the ball. He's big, but has the pass coverage skills and is pretty good against the run as well."
Sippio's other intangible could be keeping up with older brother Bobby, who keyed the Chicago Rush's improbable from a 5-9 record to an Arena Bowl championship with four playoff road victories and an upset of the Orlando Predators in the title game.
Bobby's pedigree - quarterbacking a state champion team at Kissimmee Osceola high school, All American at Western Kentucky, af2 Ironman of the Year with Greensboro and signing with the Miami Dolphins.
Younger sister Ra'Shawna led Chipola Junior College to a state title last year and is currently being heavily recruited by the North Carolinas and Florida States. And dad Robert won a state track and field championship at St. Cloud high school.
"We're always battling back and forth, talking back and forth," Roger said. "How many catches he has, how many hits. It's all good."
The GhostRiders open the 2007 season at home February 24 against the Augusta Spartans. All home games will be played on IOA Field at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. GhostRiders Ticket Packages for the 2007 season are on sale now. Be a part of the action with season tickets or flex tickets. To reserve your seats, please call 407-210-2383 to speak with a Ticket Representative or email [email protected]
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