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Mass Effect arena football signee helping COVID-19 frontlines

Jeff Turcotte signing with the Mass Effect, an Elite Indoor Football arena league team. (Photo: Edward Monigan)

FALL RIVER, Mass. (BVM) — Jeff Turcotte has always had a love for football. The 26-year-old was once a versatile defender at Husson University in Maine before making his most recent jump to the Elite Indoor Football (EIF) arena league. With a delayed start-time in his newest football adventure, Turcotte is helping the frontlines of COVID-19.

Turcotte works for Maine Oxy, which distributes specialty gases, along with other products, to the medical and lab testing fields. With his hope of playing football in the arena league postponed, Turcotte is staying busy at his job by filling cylinders and sending them out to hospitals and labs. This is now how Turcotte stays in shape for the football season.

Things have certainly been interesting here,” Turcotte said. “A little crazy at times just like everyone in the world right now, but we’re working hard to do our part to help supply the frontlines. Whether it’s medical oxygen, or liquid helium for MRI machines, it just feels good to be doing our part during this scary time.

Before Turcotte went off to Husson, the linebacker and running back played football at Lewiston High School. Graduating in 2012, he decided to play his next year at Hebron Academy before going to the collegiate level. While playing for the Eagles, Turcotte played both sides of the ball, settling in later at defensive end and linebacker. Football has always been special for Turcotte and his passion for the game has never wavered.

The football field has always been a sanctuary of mine,” Turcotte said. “[It’s] a place where I can get away from stress, from any problems in the world and just have fun whether it’s practice, film sessions, or full-on games. Football has just been a blessing for me and has led me to meet some great people; coaches, players, fans. It has just been a great experience and I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

Once college football ended for Turcotte, the Maine native wanted to continue to play the game he loved. He took the field for an arena team before spending three seasons playing for the semi-pro Southern Maine Raging Bulls in the New England Football League (NEFL). 

“Playing semi-pro football was great,” Turcotte said. “If you want to know about some tough guys, the semi-pro circuit is where you can find them. The passion, the love of the game, the dedication those guys show, it’s truly motivational. A lot of these guys are suiting up after a long week of working at their respective jobs, bruising up some opponents, and then getting ready for work the following week. I learned so much from older players. Some guys had been on the Bulls for over nine years and the competition in the NEFL was there every week.”

After his time playing for the Raging Bulls came to an end, his most recent opportunity came to fruition. With the chance to play at a higher level, Turcotte decided to sign with the Massachusetts EIF team, Mass Effect, on March 2. With the opening day postponed from it’s March 28 start time, Turcotte will be more than ready to play when he’s called back into action.

“I saw an opportunity, the league screams second chances,” Turcotte said. “It was a new league, a new team, a chance to make a name for myself with a bunch of great teammates, coaches, and additional staff. I mean it was a dream come true. The Mass Effect arena football team is a standup organization, great family atmosphere, and the coaching staff would give the shirt off their backs for anyone. I truly do feel lucky that I was able to sign with them.

The main thing I am looking forward to is the competition. The arena game is fast, so you need to adapt or you will be left in the dust. It’s a chance for me to get faster, work on skills, and just continue bettering myself as an athlete, a professional, and an individual in my community of Lewiston, Maine and also the Fall River, Mass. community as well.”

Turcotte’s passion for football has kept his competitive drive going. He hopes other athletes around the Lewiston area are able to get their opportunity in the future.

“I come from an area where athletes get passed over. I never had a lot of offers for college football and never had coaches at my games.” Turcotte said. “At one point, I even had a coach in my area tell me I wouldn’t make it in college, or on a football team. I want to prove people wrong and show them that this area is full of talented individuals, all wanting their chance.”

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