‘I’m having a blast’: 49-year-old college freshman makes football team

The North Dakota College of Science Wildcats says 49-year-old Ray Ruschel has joined their football team. (Source: KVLY)
Published: Sep. 9, 2022 at 7:55 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (KVLY/Gray News) - Usually, a college freshman making the football team isn’t the talk of the campus, but that’s not the case at a school in North Dakota.

The North Dakota College of Science Wildcats said 49-year-old Ray Ruschel has joined their undefeated football team.

KVLY reports Ruschel is an active-duty North Dakota Army National Guard member. Ruschel said he has been a part of that team for 17 years before being welcomed to this team.

“They’ve all been very receptive of me coming in and playing,” Ruschel said. “At first, they thought I was another football coach on our first day of camp. And whenever I got in line for pads, they were like ‘wait a minute, you’re playing?’”

Head coach Eric Issendorf, just a year younger than Ruschel, said he is happy to have him part of the team.

“He’s always in a good mood; he’s always just Ray,” Issendorf said. “He’s always in a good mood, ready to work and do what he can for his teammates.”

Ruschel said he found out about the Wildcat football team from a friend and was determined to not only make the team but make a real impact with his teammates.

“I want to live life,” he said. “If I had the chance and didn’t take it, I would regret it. I had a chance, and I’m taking it, and I’m living life to the fullest.”

Ruschel said his goals remain simple while looking forward to stopping touchdowns and winning games.

“I’m having a blast playing. Out here with these young kids and actually being able to keep up! I surprise myself,” Ruschel said.