09/29/2020 4:52 PM
TRENTON - Keith Newell has re-signed with the Jersey Flight. The former Trenton Central High School standout won two ArenaBowl championships during his time with the Philadelphia Soul. The veteran offensive lineman returns home to Trenton after five seasons with the Soul.
“Having Keith stay here in Trenton was one of the main priorities for this organization after the 2020 season was canceled,” Flight head coach Terrence Foster said. “Keith not only brings his wealth of experience at the highest level of arena football, he brings leadership and knowledge to this Flight locker room. He brings that every player, every play mentality to every practice and every game which builds a comroderry throughout and breeds a championship mentality. That mentality will be contagious throughout the locker room and the community.”
Foster also added, “I'm honored to have Keith here in his home town assisting the Jersey Flight organization on this championship journey on and off the field. He is truly "Trenton's Own.”
Newell was born and raised in Trenton, New Jersey and played his Pop Warner through High School career in Trenton. He went on to play at Rutgers University and Delaware State University.
“The city of Trenton means a lot to me,” Newell said. “It’s really a proving ground. You go places and they say ‘if you can make it here you can make it anywhere,’ it’s that for me. It’s been the hardest, highest pressure situation I’ve ever been in and I was born in it. So when I go to other places or environments where I face adversity, it seems light to what I’ve been through and experienced first and second hand,”
“Trenton produces some of the finest people and the finest talent. You may not hear about it because the press only publicises the negatives and the stuff that sells, but a lot of good talent has come from here. Athletically and otherwise as well, great lawyers and attorneys, promoters and entertainers, you’d be surprised whose actually came from Trenton and whose been through Trenton. It’s a jewel in the state of New Jersey and I’m proud to say that I’m from there.”
Newell began his arena football career in 2014 following his senior season at Delaware State. He initially signed with the Trenton Freedom of the PIFL, but received a contract offer from the Pittsburgh Power of the AFL before suiting up with the Freedom. Newell spent his rookie season in Pittsburgh, playing in 14 games and starting ten. Newell and quarterback Tommy Grady were teammates on the Power. The Power went 15-3 and made the AFL playoffs.
Newell went on to sign with the Philadelphia Soul in 2015 and was a key member of the organization until 2019 when the team folded. Newell began his time with the Soul on the offensive line rotation before firmly entrenching himself as a starter in 2017. Newell became one of the longest tenured players on the Soul roster and a clear leader in the locker room. The Soul won back-to-back ArenaBowls in 2016 & 2017. Newell caught two touchdown passes as the eligible tight end in 2019.
“Our team is reminiscent of last year's Soul team. We had a lot of veterans and a lot of young guys with the Soul. It gives us an opportunity to teach the game to the young guys and get them acclimated as quickly as possible so that when the ball gets rolling we’re all on the same page and you can’t tell who’s a rookie and who’s not. We’ve got the experience and the youth and athleticism to really get the job done,” Newell said.
Newell was a driving force in the Flight’s recruitment of defensive lineman Sean Daniels. Newell and Daniels played together for four seasons with the Soul, and upon hearing that Newell had signed, almost immediately the wheels began turning to bring Daniels to Trenton.
“When the AFL folded everybody was trying to figure out their next move, and I was no different,” Daniels said. “I was at work one day and I had some time to kill so I went on Facebook and saw that Keith had signed with the Jersey Flight. I remembered hearing about the Flight so I looked them up and saw that they were in the NAL now. Within ten minutes I texted Keith and asked for coach Foster’s phone number. I believe I had a contract in my email two days later.”
“Keith is one of the lineman who helped get me to where I’m at right now in arena football. Every single day me and Keith would go at it and headbut each other in one-on-ones. If I’m trying to have a day off, he’s calling me out, and if he wants to take a day off, I’m calling him out. They say that iron sharpens iron, I can say wholeheartedly that Keith helped make me the arena football player that I am,” Daniels said.
Newell and Daniels are set to take the field in Trenton next April when the 2021 National Arena League season begins.
“To win a championship for Trenton would be inspirational, it would mean a lot to me. I’ve won here on the Pop Warner level but I went to high school just as the glory days of Trenton Central High School winning championships had ended. I went to college at Rutgers University and won two bowl games with them, the latter being against Russell Wilson,”
“I know what it’s like to win in Jersey and I know what it’s like to win for Jersey, but to bring it back locally to the hood on some we went and got this for y’all, we’ve got Trenton on our Jersey, we play here, I’m from here, this is really for us. That’d mean the world to me. I get goosebump talking about it because I know what it’s going to be like. It’d be something special I know that,” Newell said.
The Jersey Flight are a professional Arena Football team based in Trenton, New Jersey. The Flight are a member of the National Arena League (NAL). Home games are played at Cure Insurance Arena in Trenton. The team is owned by New Flight Enterprises, LLC. Follow the team @JerseyFlight on Instagram & Facebook, and @JerseyFlightFB on Twitter.