NEW ROCHELLE’S RAY DURRETT BRINGS SKILLS AND SMARTS TO THE STREETS
Already a teacher, a counselor and a coach, the local product is set to begin a pro football career.
By Peter Schwartz
Growing up in New Rochelle, Ray Durrett loved to play football. In fact, his dream was to play professional football. After finishing a stellar career and graduating from New Rochelle High School in 2012, he went on to star as a linebacker for American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. After college, however, the dream of becoming a professional football player hit a bit of a roadblock.
“When I graduated from American International College (in 2017), my professional football hopes didn’t really go as planned,” said Durrett.
So with a Bachelors degree in Marketing as well as an MBA in hand after Graduate School, Durrett became a coach for the New Rochelle HuguenotElite, a youth football program which is part of the Boys and Girls Club where he is now a Youth Development Counselor. Durrett is also a permanent substitute teacher at Isaac E. Young Middle School in New Rochelle and is also an assistant football coach at the school.
Durrett certainly prepared himself for a life without playing football but now that life includes playing football as he is now a defensive end and jack linebacker for the Streets who will begin play in the National Arena League later this month.
“I’m extremely excited,” said the 6-2 225 pound Durrett. “Honestly it’s a dream come true. It’s always been my dream since I was a child to play professional football and to have the opportunity to do that is definitely a great opportunity.”
The Streets discovered Durrett at a workout this past summer and he impressed the team with his speed. He recently delivered a good performance in an intersquad scrimmage at training camp and is one of several local players battling to earn a roster spot for the Streets’ inaugural season.
“I’m really excited to have local players in camp,” said Streets Head Coach Rick Marsilio. “Ray is a hybrid defensive end and jack linebacker in this game. He’s making an impression on and off the field.”
Durrett has frequently been the first player to arrive at the Streets’ practice facility in Brooklyn for training camps and also generally the last one to leave. That’s pretty impressive considering he has a life away from the football field but he’s managing to juggle everything to keep his dream alive.
It’s very clear that aside from being able to play and football, while also being a teacher and a counselor, Durrett has been able to excel at something that a lot of people struggle with and that’s time management
“It’s football,” said Durrett. “It’s been a part of my life. During the (outdoor) football season this year, I had to coach on two teams and juggle both jobs. It will definitely be a challenge but I’m used to it.”
During his collegiate career at AIC, Durrett played 43 games for the Yellow Jackets and recorded 79 tackles to go along with 7.5 sacks. He has experience playing defensive end but the jack linebacker position is something that is unique to Arena Football and it comes with a lot of responsibility.
But he’s taken on this challenge head on and is running with it.
“It’s kind of like being the quarterback for the defense,” said Durrett. “You definitely have to communicate a lot and you have to slide around sideline to sideline. That’s been the most challenging thing to me but I enjoy that position a lot.”
When the Streets kickoff their season in Jacksonville on April 13th, it will end an eleven year absence of Arena Football in New York. Durrett, who was now 24, was in Middle School when the New York Dragons played their final season in the Arena Football League back in 2008. After playing the outdoor game as a child, then into middle school and high school, and then in college, Durrett is now taking his game indoors.
Just like the Dragons did.
“I definitely used to watch the (Dragons) games,” said Durrett. “The Arena game is definitely an exciting game. It’s more fast-paced than outdoor and a little bit more hard-hitting. It’s a hard transition from outside to indoor but I’ve definitely enjoyed it so far the little bit that I’ve been with the Streets.”
After starting the season on the road, the Streets will play their home opener against the Orlando Predators on Saturday April 20th at the Westchester County Center in White Plains. Durrett, who has been to the building many times for basketball games, will certainly have plenty of family and friends in the seats cheering him and his Streets teammates on.
He’s excited about playing professional football in his backyard, but he’s having a hard time explaining to his co-workers that it’s going to be a fifty yard field surrounding by dasher boards inside the historic venue.
“They’re like ‘County Center for football?’,” said Durrett. “They can’t wrap their arms around it but I think it’s just going to be a great opportunity to be playing football there because it’s a small venue. I feel like we can definitely fill that up every game and it’s definitely a loud place when that place is full and the energy and excitement for a new football team there I think it’s going to be a great year for us.”
Ray Durrett brings a special combination of ability and smarts to the New York Streets. All his life, he’s excelled on the football field as well as in the classroom. Today, he’s a big part of his community as a teacher and counselor while also coaching youth football players.
And now, Durrett can check off another box on his life to-do list.
He’s a professional football player and he gets to do it not far from where he grew up.
Single game tickets for New York Streets home games are now available by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. For season tickets, please visit www.nystreetsfootball.com and click on the “Purchase Tickets” button on the splash page or click on the “Season Tickets” banner on the home page.