Jeremie Writz and Austin Levine are co-owners of the central Wisconsin Bandits. Jeremie shared with us his story and how the Central Wisconsin Bandits came to Merrill...
Five years ago, after Jeremie won the 2018 Championship with the Eau Claire Cowboys, in the Northern Lights Football League, he came to the realization that he was getting older and not sure how much longer he would have to play the game he loves. It was a hard realization because he was a 16+ year veteran in semi pro football and couldn't see himself just walking away, but he finally decided that he would retire. It wouldn’t last long though because in 2019 Scott Van Handle, Jessie Clenny, and Jeremie decided to start a semi pro team in central Wisconsin, Scott and Jeremie as co-owners and Jessie as a dedicated member to the team. Scott co-owned the team with Jeremie for a year, before giving up his share of the team, and eventually becoming a player.
The team developed in Marshfield, Wisconsin because they saw it as a good central location. The team would stay there for three years. It started off strong with a lot of interest of guys wanting to play. In 2020, as it got closer to Spring, when the season would normally start, COVID hit, so they didn't actually get to play a season. While they could not actually play real games, they did end up doing more of a free-lance, asking other teams if they wanted to play games just to play. Because of this strategy they survived and stayed together.
Three years ago Jeremie also moved to Merrill, and after he got out and talked with the community, he saw how much our town loves their sports. He also saw that there was really nothing here yet, other than high school sports.
At the end of the 2022 Central Wisconsin Bandits season Jeremie brought in Austin Levine. Austin was their quarterback that had gotten injured during the season and didn't know if he would be able to play again. Jeremie knew Austin had the same passion and dedication which made him an obvious choice to join forces. Austin became a co-owner with Jeremie, as well as, head coach. Jeremie and Austin worked together during their off season to figure out how they could make their team better and find a new place they could call home. They wanted a place where people would appreciate them, and because of Jeremie’s knowledge of Merrill they began to introduce themselves to the Merrill community and found our community to be just what they were looking for. Jeremie and Austin saw how the community was excited for this semi pro football team opportunity and knew that Jay Stadium was one of the nicest fields in the area, so they thought it was a win-win situation. Once they had their location figured out, they began to put together their coaching staff and create an awesome group of board members, mixed with players and non-players. These individuals work behind the curtain to put the team on the map and make a run for championship. They also work within the community to put together kids football camps and set up different charities to be involved with. After the board was formed the next step was to recruit players for the 2023 season. The great thing about semi pro is that anyone from all walks of life can play. They just have to be at least 18 years of age. Currently, their team is made up of players that have never played football before, only played high school football, guys who have played in college, guys who are semi pro veterans, and some older guys that just wanting to relive their golden years and play the game again one more time. Jeremie, can relate to this one. He is 44 years old and has no intentions of stopping just yet. Jeremie and Austin's dream is to keep this team going for years to come and give the opportunity to play football to others. They want others to know, just because you don't make it to the NFL doesn't mean you have to stop playing football after high school or college. If you work hard you can move on to bigger. There are scouts out there looking for the hidden talent.