The Massachusetts Pirates professional arena football team in Worcester has signed former NFL and Boston College defensive back Al Louis-Jean for the 2019 season which begins on April 13 at the DCU Center.
Louis-Jean was born in Boston and grew up in Brockton, MA. At Brockton High in 2010 he was a Super 26 All-State selection and earned honors as a defensive back from the Boston Globe and the Boston Heard. He committed to the University of Miami but then had a change of heart and stayed home, taking his talents to Boston College. He saw action in ten games his freshman year, missed his second season and came back in year three, taking the field in 11 games. In his 21 games he notched 36 tackles and then declared himself eligible for the NFL Draft. Despite not being drafted he was able to sign a free agent contract with the Chicago Bears. He was promoted to the practice squad and later was activated, seeing the field in nine games in 2014 where he recorded nine tackles and broke up one pass.
In 2015 he signed on to the practice squad with the Washington Redskins. A short stint with the Miami Dolphins followed in 2016 and then in 2017 he went north of the border to the Ottawa Redblacks of the Canadian Football League. At age 24 he took part in the Spring League in Texas and now he’ll try arena football for the first time with the Pirates.
“I chose the Pirates because I’m a hometown guy. I do know a couple of guys on the team already. One is Manny Asprilla. I played in college with him. We also use to keep in touch in high school just going through the process trying to go play college football. I had a talk with Jawad (Pirates GM Jawad Yatim) and he explained a couple of things; what was the mentality behind the team and the whole organization. I kind of liked everything that I heard. It seems like they have the right energy and they want to win championships. I want to win championships. I haven’t won one in football, so this is an opportunity with the Pirates, just to compete and to have fun playing the game I love,” he said.
Yatim knows the experience Louis-Jean brings to the Pirates is invaluable.
"Al is a guy I have been following for some time now. He's a local product from a big time high school program in Brockton High, you tend to hear about those guys as they gradually continue throughout their career playing at a high level. He's a long, physical corner who changes direction well is nimble footed and plays the ball in the air well,” he said.
“To not just sign an NFL contract but to be activated and then earn playing time in the regular season speaks volumes to the type of player we are bringing into our organization. I was at the game when he came to Foxboro to play the Patriots when he was with the Bears and the experience he gained that day after competing against Tom Brady and that offense is honestly second to none. Not to mention lining up against Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey in practice every day. You can't teach that experience. We've had some good conversations and he's excited to represent his home state and we are excited to have him," Yatim added.
When it comes to playing in a 200 by 85 foot arena, Louis-Jean says he’ll feel right at home.
“The way I look at it is, growing up, I used to play in even smaller spaces that were concrete so I’m extremely adaptable. I used to play football in the streets growing up before I played on a football team. It will be an adjustment for sure, but it’s nothing that I’m not use to,” he added.
When it comes to what he can bring to the Pirates, Louis-Jean says he’ll strive for perfection in the secondary.
“I’m extremely technical,” he said. “I’m trying to be perfect on the field. Meaning that when I see something happening on the field with my opponent, I’m going to react to him in a way that’s extremely technical. I’m not reacting based off of my talent or guessing, I’m just doing things based off of, he did this, so this is what I need to do to gain the advantage on him. I’m paying very close attention to my opponent to make sure I can play him that way,” he explained. “I’m like a boxer,” he added.
The Massachusetts Pirates are members of the National Arena League (NAL). The Pirates play all home games at the DCU Center located at 50 Foster St. Worcester, MA. 01608. Pirate Nation Season Ticket Memberships for the 2019 season will be on sale in September. Pirate Nation Memberships start as low as $200.00. To become a Pirate Nation Season Ticket member or for more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.masspiratesfootball.com. Single game tickets are available online at ticketmaster.com or the DCU Center Box Office. For group outings please call 508-452-MASS (6277). Follow the Pirates on Facebook at Facebook.com/MAPirates on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.