From West to East
PHILADELPHIA (May 7, 2015) -LB Beau Bell and WR Shaun Kauleinamoku (SK) have traveled long distances to live out their dream of playing football. Bell, originally from Tustin, California, played for University of Nevada Las Vegas. SK, originally from Hawai'i, played for Western Oregon University.
"I've always dreamed big and thought I could get to this level of high expectation and do what I love," says SK. "My motivation is my family and friends. Getting out of the situation I was in back in Hawai'i has inspired me to try and expand my wings and play this game of football."
Since he was a little kid, all SK wanted to do was play professional football. In high school, he was a two-time All-State selection and three-time first team All-ILH pick. In his top game as a senior, he had eight catches for 165 yards.
He then played in nine games as a freshman for Western Oregon and contributed a long punt return for 23 yards, a 28-yard kick-off return, and a recovered fumble punt return. As a sophomore, he was named All-ICAA Second Team and Independent Collegiate Athletic Association Special Team Player of the Year. He also was awarded several MVP titles for individual games throughout the season. As a junior, he started all 11 games, registered 37 receptions for 573 yards and eight touchdowns. He earned Second Team All-GNAC honors and is sixth in his school's history with 350 punt return yards.
It was in 2010 when SK got his shot to play professional football; he signed with the Spokane Shock. Then in 2012, he started playing for the San Antonio Talons, and midseason he went to the Utah Blaze. In 2014 he signed with the Pittsburgh Power, and being somewhat of a homebody, SK was nervous he would have a hard time being so far away from his family. "My reaction was it was very cold and I had to get used to the weather and the climate, but the team made the transition very easy, they were like a family," said SK. With no consideration of moving back, he welcomed the change with open arms.
"Since I was a kid, the dream was professional football. That shot came when I was 22 and I was drafted by the Cleveland Browns." said Bell. Even though his NFL dream ended early due to an injury, he was grateful to find the AFL a few years later.
Bell has always excelled at the sport. In high school, he competed in the prestigious Cal-Florida Game and registered five tackles; he was named Defensive MVP of the Century League as both a junior and senior. His senior year he finished the season with 150 tackles, five sacks, and two interceptions.
At UNLV, he played in all 11 games as a freshman and recorded 26 total tackles, a fumble recovery, and a forced fumble. As a sophomore he started in seven of 11 games. He was a 2005 Second Team All-MWC selection, and finished fourth in the MWC with 92 tackles. By his junior year, he started in every game, but a left ankle sprain limited that to only seven. Sporting News ranked him the No. 16 outside linebacker in college football. He had career high four QB sacks and recorded 76 tackles, including 41 solo takedowns. In his senior year, he opened the season on the Butkus Award Watch List and went on to lead the league and ranks among the national leaders with 126 total tackles and five forced fumbles. He also recorded four interceptions and three sacks. He was named the 2007 Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year in voting by the league's coaches and media.
"It was different, it was a culture change, it was a weather change- it was just a big change period," said Bell about moving out east.
Bell's first experience out east was when he moved to Cleveland.
"It was a reality check for myself," said Bell, "I had never actually been away from everybody I knew like that." When he went to college, Bell was still close to family, so moving across the country was something he never pictured himself doing. Fortunately, he knew everything would be fine as long as he stayed true to himself and continued to be the best he could be both on and off the field.
Even though both players aren't close to family, they have that comfort knowing the Soul family is always there for them. They may not be related by blood, but they are all related by the passion for the sport.
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Arena Football League Stories from May 7, 2015
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- From West to East - Philadelphia Soul
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