Jason Livingston said he fell in love with the game of football all over again.
The former Conway High standout stepped away from the sport in 2014 after graduating from Newberry College and joined the workforce. Livingston then found his way back to football earlier this year when he heard the American Indoor Football League’s Myrtle Beach Freedom was holding tryouts.
“I heard a couple of people talking about [The Myrtle Beach Freedom] and I was like, ‘you know what? Why not? Let’s give it a shot,’” Livingston said. “I went out there and impressed the coaches, made the team and it felt good to be playing the game again.”
Shortly after joining the Freedom, Livingston was contacted via social media (Instagram) about a chance to possibly play professional football overseas. The wide receiver submitted a highlight tape through his friend Brian Pirone of Euro Sports Scouting and hoped for the best.
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“Things just kind of went from there,” Livingston said.
Livingston’s tape eventually reached the Warsaw Dukes of the Polish American Football League, which was so impressed with the wide receiver they decided to make an offer for his services.
The former local standout has agreed to a deal with the team, expecting to join the Dukes in coming days.
I’m excited and I’m the type of guy that looks forward to adventures. When the opportunity came, I was totally all-in. I feel like everything happens for a reason, so I’m going to run with it.
Former Conway standout Jason Livingston on agreeing to a deal with the Warsaw Dukes of the Polish American Football League
Livingston has already set the bar high, preparing to play for a team that was undefeated last season heading into the SuperFinal (Polish Bowl) championship. He hopes his addition will lead to greater things for both him and the team.
“I want to win the championship,” Livingston said. “They have a tradition of winning and I’m looking forward to hopefully helping those guys win another championship and put some jewelry on my finger, like I’ve always wanted to since high school.
“And I just want to go out there and have fun, make those guys better and hopefully draw some attention from maybe the Canadian Football League, Arena Football League or maybe even the NFL.”
Livingston played in six games (one exhibition) with the Myrtle Beach Freedom,catching a 40-yard game-winning touchdown in the team’s win over the Savannah Steam on March 28 in their inaugural regular season game – one of his many highlights with the team. Livingston said his time with the team certainly helped in pursuit of his dreams.
“Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to play professional football; it doesn’t matter what league,” Livingston said. “I definitely appreciate the Myrtle Beach Freedom and the opportunity they gave me.”
Freedom owner Ronnie McCuin said he’s excited for Livingston and said his signing is great for the team and what they promote as he’s the first player to sign a professional deal.
“With the whole Freedom team and AIF league being a developmental league, the main goal is to help these guys get opportunities such as this so they get to play at a higher professional level,” McCuin said. “We’re thrilled for Jason. He’s been a tremendous player for our team. He works hard and he deserves it.”
Livingston was previously working as a merchandiser for The Yahnis Company, a beverage distributor out of Conway. With his new deal, Livingston will be playing football for a living and all of his expenses including airfare, housing and transportation will be paid for by the team.
“I was stoked. I was at work and got that phone call and it was shocking. I was at a loss for words and just thankful for the opportunity,” Livingston said. “I’m just ready to get this next chapter in my life started.”
The Dukes are 2-0 this season. Livingston said he expects to be there for the team’s next game against the Szczecin Cougars on May 8.
Livingston, who said he has never left the continental United States before, will experience a major culture change as he moves overseas. However, he is ambitiously awaiting the new experience.
“I’m excited and I’m the type of guy that looks forward to adventures,” he said. “When the opportunity came, I was totally all-in. I feel like everything happens for a reason, so I’m going to run with it.”