EL PASO, TX (KTSM) –Two men are stranded here in the borderland after what they say are empty promises from an arena football coach. Craig Thomas had plans to create an arena football league franchise here in El Paso but according to Reggie Lee and Michael Holland that is not what happened.

RELATED STORY: Update: Stranded football players to return home

Their saga began over a week ago when their former coach who lives in Florida, Michael Coleman, was contacted by Thomas to ask for players. He knew who would want to play in his league for nine games here in El Paso. Coach Coleman then put him in contact with his former players Michael Holland and Reggie Lee who agreed to play.

However, once they arrived they noticed that things were not what they were used to especially when only four people showed up to the practice.

“In football you got a head coach and a strength & conditioning coach who runs all the drills and the warmups. There was nobody out there to do the warmups. They just ran out there with their cleats. It’s just unorganized. It’s the little things, you know in playing pro football, high school was more organized than this,” said Holland, one of the stranded athletes promised somehthing.

After being promised that they would be given housing, food, and a job, Lee and Holland said there has been little to no communication between them and Thomas. Since they have arrived, the only time they have seen Thomas was when he paid for the hotel initially for the days they have been there, and when he fed them, which according to them has only been once and it was leftover food from Thomas’ home. 

The last time we spoke he said he was yesterday morning and he said he was going to bring us some food, never brought food for us. I hit him up later that night and I texted him like ‘hey are you still bringing us food,’ never got a response.

Reggie Lee, stranded athlete

With no players and no coach, Lee and Holland are stranded with no way to get home. Now they are left using what savings they have to pay for the hotel that Thomas initially booked.

But now I’m taking money out of my savings that I don’t have because I’m not rich. I only have a little bit of money left in my savings because I need to have money to eat, and Reggie is taking out money to eat and it’s just too much when we’re not rich.

Michael Holland, stranded athlete

Coach Coleman has been trying to work with local organizations to find someone who can help them get back home but is frustrated that what seemed to be a great opportunity to open new doors for them have now been completely closed.

That’s just awful. It takes just a despicable person. A person that is not human with no humanity with no class just to do this to these young men.

Michael Coleman, former coach of stranded athletes

KTSM was able to get in contact with Craig Thomas to ask him about this situation but he declined to give further comment.

If you would like to help out the players in any way coach Coleman asks to contact him: (470) 213-8128; email: kingson643@gmail.com

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