An undefeated youth football team is heading to the Sunshine State to play in the Youth National Championship, thanks to a crowdfunding campaign that caught the attention of NFL superstar, Richard Sherman.
The football team, which is run out of Compton and hosts children ages six and younger, went undefeated in their division in California, and subsequently earned an invitation to attend their version of the Super Bowl in Florida. However, after training every day, all while maintaining a 3.1 GPA, the only thing that stood between the Hub City football team and their desire to hit the field in Florida was money.
“They train every day. They train like intense training. It’s training that you don’t see from 6-year-olds. It’s kids that just met each other this year where they can have a long brotherhood and future,” Coach Mike Clark told Fox News. At the time, the team raised $700 of their $15,000 goal, through food and candy fundraisers and parent donations to cover the costs of travel, boarding, and food for the trip.
“Hello, we are a youth football team, (6u division) based in Compton, CA,” Lonnae Taylor wrote in her GoFundMe Campaign. “It has been a long road to the Super Bowl, and our boys have taken the title for King Conference Super Bowl Champs going two years straight, undefeated for 2018 and 2019. We recently were invited to the National Youth Championship in Florida, an event that is invite-only to the best teams in the nation. We are trying to raise a minimum of $15000 to pay for boarding, travel, transportation, activities, and food for our 20 boys.”
But just hours after the story and campaign hit the internet, the hard work and dedication of the coaching staff and students caught the attention of Sherman, a Compton native.
“Someone get me in contact with the person running the show here, please. I respect good football, but I respect the 3.1 min GPA more. Establishing good habits young. I would like to help,” Sherman wrote, as he shared the article to his 2+ million followers. “I will just do it through the go fund. Thank you for the help.”
By the next morning, Sherman had donated $5,000, and with the extra attention, the football team exceeded their goal, all while earning donations from the NFL’s Keisean Nixon and Ryan Grant in the process.
In a statement to Baller Alert, Taylor expressed gratitude to everyone involved.
“We are extremely amazed and frankly so thankful for the overflow of support and love that we have received in such a short amount of time!” She said. “When we initially set up the team GoFundMe, we didn’t even dream of meeting our goal. Thanks to the overwhelming support and generosity of our community, state, and nation, we have met our minimum goal and almost double what we were expecting.”
“We never expected for so much love from the people, let alone NFL players like Richard Sherman, Keisean Nixon, and Ryan Grant. We also got a huge donation of their caliber from an anonymous donor with whom was the first to donate $5,000. We originally were trying to save enough for at least 13 players (the minimum amount of players required to participate), which we roughly estimated on the most cost-efficient price $15,000. But thanks to you all, we have made enough to cover the costs for our 20 boys that were confirmed on wanting to participate!!!!!!!” Taylor continued.
“We are currently in the process of planning the official itinerary for our boys to have an amazing experience. Our coaches have been working to get a good schedule for our boys to follow, given the time zone change that we will have to adjust too. Youth football is a commitment that those that are not in it, don’t understand the tireless days of : making sure that they understand their homework and that it is complete, making sure you don’t miss practice so that they understand what is going on when they are on the field, ensuring that they are practicing the correct techniques and abiding by the rules, making sure they are showered and rested for the days to come,” she said. “They literally look at each other as a family. A brotherhood forged on the field, training each other to be better and motivating each other to never give up! I personally fell in love, watching them grow and develop into the team that they are.“
“I congratulate our coaching staff because they have invested time and money (along with the parents help)to give our boys uniform, provide transportation when a parent wasn’t able to get them there in time, spent time on trying to develop all players and create an atmosphere of equality and encouragement to be confident and secure with themselves, and hyping them up when they did a great job!” She added. “We honestly still are in shock, and I believe that we will keep this same energy until things get real, and we are boarding that plane, seeing all those little smiling faces, amazed at every little thing. I’m sure we will have an abundance of footage from their trip so you guys can see what you made happen for a group of boys that just want to play football!!!!!!!”