CHARLOTTE, NC (WVNS) — Coming from small towns in West Virginia, high school athletes do not always get the same exposure as everyone else in the country, but one man from McDowell County is not giving up on his dream.
Donnell “Paco” Bonds grew up in Welch, West Virginia. Coming up in McDowell County, Paco knew he would not have the best equipment or facilities. However, he said he would not let that stop him from playing football at the next level.
“I just kept going man, worked out by myself, cold, heat, rain, snow, we are out there grinding,” said Bonds.
After graduating from Mount View High School in 2014, Paco had the chance to play for Marshall, but he did not feel he was ready. Instead, he walked on to play football at Concord University, and ended up transferring to play at Fairmont State University. From there, he played for a few indoor and arena football leagues, until most recently landing a spot in the American Arena League, as a center and a defensive lineman with the Charlotte Thunder.
The Thunder went undefeated in their first year. Part owner and retired NFL football player Thomas Davis, said giving guys like Paco a chance is one of the reasons he started the team.
“You know it is extremely important to allow these guys to continue their careers continue fighting for their dream om playing this game, you know providing them a platform,” said Davis.
Paco said he is motivated to get better each and every day to try and be a role model for those back home.
“The whole home town, you know Welch, West Virginia! I just want to thank everybody and I promise when I get back I am gonna give back and everything is gonna be great,” said Bonds.
While Paco is grateful for where he is right now, he said this is not his last stop.