Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Meet Eric Merrida
Not so way back when, Merrida was a four sport athlete at St. Mary's High in Berkeley. Besides lining up as a quarterback for the Panthers, he also played basketball, ran track and took to the golf links. He graduated in 2006.
Life was good, the path to success ahead. He would be the first in his generation of family to attend college.
So it was across the bay to College of San Mateo (CSM), in order to defray some of the costs of college. Along with that came a switch from running the offense to defensive back. After making the Dean's List academically for three straight semesters, Merrida departed CSM in December 2007 for Greeneville,Tennessee, Tusculum University of the South Atlantic Conference in particular.
As Merrida said, "The experience was great but I didn't like it out there."
His next stop was to be the University of Maryland, where he compiled a 3.4 grade point average but incurred $11,000 in tuition costs as an out-of-state student.
Entering into further debt was ultimately unsustainable so Merrida had to map out a different road to success.
He moved on to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
That became his home away from home, majoring in Business Marketing and playing defensive back.
Merrida graduated last December 16 and returned to the Bay Area.
Those are map points and particulars of the past.
Now Merrida wants to put what he has learned and received to use in aiding others. He has joined up with the Advanced Sports Training Institute (ASTI) and his focus will be working with footballers, a giving back of sorts.
"I'm from Richmond so [attending] St. Mary's was a life-changing experience for me," he explained. "There were so many people caring about you, it really helped in succeeding."
"I used to help some of the other guys I played with and against and I convinced a number of them to attend College of San Mateo with me, to go there and handle business on the field and in the classroom as well. Even when I was training with Anthony Eggleton (founder and co-owner of ASTI), I'd try and help the other guys and they would tell me 'you're going to be a coach someday.'"
I convinced a number of football players from other high schools to attend college of San Mateo with me, to go there and handle business on the field and in the class room as well.
He added, "With ASTI, I want to give guys the proper coaching so that they can work to pull away from the competition."
Merrida sees his even keel temperament as a lifelong plus and something beneficial for down the road. "I can be patient or aggressive, it's situational. I played quarterback and cornerback because I wanted the responsibility. Winning or losing was on me and if I didn't do my assignment, no one was behind me to help."
What he learned early on was that knowledge is king. "It comes from studying film, knowing your opponent and the schemes of the coaches. Like what the opponent will do if outside the numbers, that they could run one of three routes. Even doing opposition research on opponents is helpful like what they like to eat, where they are from because sometimes you can distract them."
Even at his tender age, he's already displaying his maturity and making his mark.
"With some of the high school and college guys I played with, I put together film on them and contacted scouts, former pro players, agents and coaches in the United Football League and the Canadian Football League and I helped them land jobs."
Minus an ounce of bravado, stating reality, Merrida offered, "I understand the game. I know talent."
The National Football League should be keeping a watchful eye.
Here's video of Merrida putting his charges through their paces.