Pirates Ismail Named NAL Coach of the Year

08/29/2018 5:05 AM -

By Mick Moninghoff

August 28th, 2018

Worcester, MA

The National Arena League has announced that Massachusetts Pirates head coach Ameer Ismail has been named Coach of the Year for 2018.  Ismail led the Pirates to the most wins in the league with an 11-5 regular season record. Ismail wins the award in just his first year coaching in the NAL while guiding the first year franchise.

“It means a lot. I look at it as a team award. I would not have been able to accomplish this without the help of a great team including the All-League performers and everyone in general as a unit. Great players with great character made it easy for me to do my job,” he said.  “Having the opportunity to do so with team owner Hassan Yatim and team president Jawad Yatim was special. They believed in me and gave me the opportunity to do the best job I could along with our assistant coaches, interns, and our training staff,” he added.

This was just Ismail’s second season as a head coach. Last season he led Bloomington in the CIFL to an 8-5 record. The previous three seasons he served as a defensive coordinator in Cedar Rapids, Tri-Cities and Spokane.  This season Ismail saw his team accomplish many “firsts” while leading the league in eight offensive categories including total touchdowns (123) and offensive yards per game (250.8), which is a testament to offensive coordinator Anthony Payton as well.  The offensive line allowed the fewest sacks in the league (11) while forcing more turnovers (43) than anyone else in the NAL.

A former division on All-American at Western Michigan, Ismail went on to a career in the NFL, AFL and IFL as a linebacker. He was the IFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2012.  His desire on the field has translated to success on the sidelines.

“I coach with a lot of intensity, passion and energy.  It’s something that I believe in. In this day and age it is important to relate to the players. It’s a testament to the players who have played for me and believed in my ability to help them be the best that they can be. In turn it helps me be the best coach I can be. It requires a lot of trust.  To come into a new environment with a new team and a new organization there are a lot of unknowns. I am very thankful to have their trust knowing that I will take care of them when it comes to the proper workouts, nutrition, while providing them with the tools to be successful,” Ismail said.

The coach has an affinity for the indoor game because he knows how hard it is for players to have an opportunity to show their talents. Now he wants to use his experiences to help today’s players to achieve success.

“I coach in arena football because I feel like I know how to use the resources in this platform. I had opportunities myself and I wanted to share that and help players.  I also want to improve myself as a coach every year going to camps, clinics, all-star games, continue to learn and pass that on to my players so they can get the most out of themselves.”

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 $149.00. To become a Pirate Nation Season Ticket member or for more information on the Massachusetts Pirates please call (508) 452-MASS (6277), email or visit Single game tickets are available online at or the DCU Center Box Office. For group outings please call Kara Mancini at 508-929-0125 or email Follow the Pirates on facebook at on Instagram @mass.pirates, as well as Twitter @mass_pirates.