5 EC football players share 3 bedroom apartment


Jaymin Austin, 21 relaxes in his room playing a few rounds of Fortnite. Photo credit: Jeremy Taylor

Upon first entering the Torrance three bedroom apartment of five EC football players, it doesn’t look any different from your typical college dorm. There is a small kitchen, a bathroom and in each of the bedrooms there are two beds.

In the large living room, there is an L-shaped couch with blankets and pillows strewn about. Jordan Williams sits in a sofa chair playing the popular multiplayer game, Fortnite, less than two feet away from an HDTV that rests atop a dresser.

“It’s like we’re brothers. You know, having roommates especially not being from here, you don’t have your friends that you have from back home,” said wide receiver Okwes Nwaelleh, a 20 year old business major from Ontario, Canada, “so were kinda each others automatic friends right away, that’s a blessing in itself.”

If you are a one of the select high school student athletes who receives an athletic scholarship, you have it have it pretty good. Your housing, meals and healthcare are all encompassed in your scholarship, leaving you to focus just on school and sports.

However if you aren’t offered a scholarship, community college is a path that offers a second chance for some, to earn one.

Scholarships and financial inducements for athletic participation aren’t allowed at the community college level in the state of California, according to California Community College Athletic Association’s constitution.

The financial burden of school fees (in or out of state) and living expenses are the athlete’s responsibility.

“The worst thing that could happen is a kid comes from out the area and not be prepared and not have support and be starving and not have a place to stay,” said head coach Gifford Lindheim, “How can a kid be successful under that circumstances?”

Jaymin Austin, a 21-year-old linebacker from Colorado, has resided in the apartment the longest and he has seen his fair share of roommates come and go, “Fifteen guys have come here and they really…maybe it just wasn’t for them,” Austin said.

“We see a lot of Juco guys fold,” Nwaelleh said.

“Guys who could’ve been really good too,” Austin said, ” Yeah. Mentality, mindset, discipline, perseverance, nothing here is guaranteed or handed to you. So when you come out here and you figure out that you’re not the starting guy, or you have rent to pay or you might have to find a job to sustain this life, a lot of people aren’t ready for that in life so far so I feel like people kind of move into this too soon. They really don’t have it planned out.

“Or the mental fortitude, the mental toughness to go through it, when the going gets tough,” Nwaelleh said.

The players all pay their own share of the rent separately online, but utilities are paid collectively.

“Our electricity bill is a little high because I mean it’s five of us in here so it gets a little expensive,”Austin said, “I’d say close to like $150 to $200 a month, we all manage to make it work.”

These athletes are like brothers on and off the field and just like siblings, there can be the occasional disagreement.

“Sometimes you might argue a little bit, fight a little but, it never gets physical,” Nwaelleh said,”but you know, it’s just like brothers, brothers fight. At the end of the day we’re always good like brothers, we go through it together, it makes it easier.”