West Point Commit Looks Back on Initial Passion

Senior Matai Bell announced his commitment to play Division 1 football at West Point Military Academy.

After being contacted by one of the West Point football coaches, Bell visited the campus in November 2019 to watch the team practice. Although Bell was unable to go on an additional official visit to West Point due to COVID-19, he nonetheless describes the overall recruiting process as “a really enjoyable experience.”

Besides West Point’s rigorous football program, it was their wide variety of career paths for Bell, such as the NFL and engineering, which put the school at the top of his list.

However, Bell’s journey to collegiate football has been a unique one, as his love for the game wasn’t immediate. According to Bell, when he 1st started playing football, he “hated it.”

“My dad kept signing me back up. Then, once I got to middle school I had a growth spurt and I started doing better at the game, and I started seeing myself playing at the college level,” said Bell.

Since then, Bell’s father has become his inspiration as he navigated the world of elite athletics.

“He guided me through my morning and late night workouts. We watched almost every NFL game together and he talked about how we wants to see me there one day,” said Bell.

Bell also credits the Campolindo Football program for his successful football career. According to Bell, the adjustment from club to high school football allowed him to practice in a more competitive environment and improve as an athlete.

Coach Macy recognized Matai’s potential in the sport early on. “We had him up on varsity as a sophomore and everyone knew he would be on the recruiting lists moving forward,” said Macy.

Macy was also convinced of Matai’s excellence as an athlete during the “burpee challenge,” in which Campo football players did as many burpees as possible in 30 minutes to raise funds for soldiers with PTSD.

According to Macy, Bell led his team well beyond the 30 minute mark, inspiring teammates who “were ready to give in,” to persevere for a good cause.

With his high school football career coming to a close, Bell’s advice to younger athletes is to “trust the process.”

“When I was a sophomore and early junior, I didn’t think I was going to receive any of this, and I almost gave up. I trusted the process and did what people said,” said Bell.