June 25, 2024

Arena Insider

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Former Iowa Rampage player opens up about sudden termination and facing eviction

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COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA — Many Iowa Rampage players and coaches are scrambling to find their next destination nearly a week since its franchise unexpectedly ceased operations.

On May 2, the Rampage announced it was discontinuing operations citing finance and communication issues. In the join statement, owners Trevor Burdett and Mike Taliaferro also claimed the players and staff did not get paid and largely criticized the Arena Football League’s front office.

However, noseguard Tamatoa Silva said he was blindsided by the announcement from the owners.

”[The owner] sent us a paragraph in our group-chat stating that the team was going to fold and he had no choice,” Silva told Arena Insider. “But I remember going on Instagram and seeing it posted at the same time they are telling us so it did catch a lot of us by surprise. They didn’t have the respect to come down and talk to us as men and professionals.”

The Rampage still traveled to play in its originally scheduled game against the Southwest Kansas Storm on May 4, due to a “cooperative agreement” between the Storm and the Arena Football League.

Silva said the Storm paid for a bus to transport the Rampage to Dodge City and he is thankful for their generosity. But after the game, he and his teammates were figuratively driving down an unknown road.

”It’s unfortunate because at the end of the day, the coaches and players are really suffering from this in all aspects,” Silva said. “We were looking forward to playing this season. That’s why I decided to speak out because it’s not right what’s taken place and what was done. This right here could kill somebody’s dream.”

Silva shared he has yet to be paid this season and the team-provided apartment also recently gave him an eviction notice. He said his former teammates that were staying at hotel rooms were also told to leave over non-payment.

”I shed tears over this whole situation,” Silva said. “My wife was preparing and cooking meals for the team and she cried over this. It’s sad because we were sold on something that really wasn’t what it was.”

Silva grew up in Hawaii with his wife and two kids. He played football in high school, worked out with teams in the XFL and eventually made his indoor football debut with the Topeka Tropics of the now defunct Champions Indoor Football League and Duke City Gladiators of the Indoor Football League.

He then got a call in September, 2023 to join the Rampage and agreed to play with no hesitation.

”I still had to pray and talk about it with my wife first but it was a blessing,” Silva said. “God allows things to happen for a reason. This is the premiere Arena Football League and I saw the reputation it had before when my coaches played, [James] Romain, [Donovan] Morgan and [Tyus] Jackson. So I took the opportunity.”

Silva said his family motivates him to succeed each day and knows the sacrifices they made moving from Hawaii to follow his dream. He plans to continue not only fighting for them but also his former teammates.

”I’m hoping that the league and [Burdett and Taliaferro] can be professional about this,” Silva said. “You can’t call us professional football players and not treat us like professional football players. You can’t call yourself a professional league and you’re not conducting yourself as a professional league. I hope they can come together collectively and make this right.”

Despite the troubles surrounding him, Silva knows he has faith on his side and will get him to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

”There’s only one thing that’s keeping me in the right spirit and its praying and trusting God,” Silva said. “If I was leaning on my own understanding right now, I would be really stressed out and trying to make sense of all of this.

“Things aren’t going to make sense overnight but God can go before me and perform miracles.”

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