Pro Football Players Come to West Haven
Former Chicago Bear, Bobbie Howard, coaching youth.
Chicago, IL - The Near West Side Community Development Corporation has recognized the absence of youth football in West Haven; so in an attempt to reintroduce the game back into the community, Near West kicked off its first youth football clinic that provided girls and boys ages 9 – 15 an opportunity to improve their athletic skills and compete in flag football contests. Near West partnered with the National Football League and former Buffalo Bill Marques Sullivan to conduct the three-day clinic. “Near West and The NFL were the catalysts that made this clinic happen,” says Sullivan. Sullivan, a West Side native, sought out the help of some former NFL friends to help coach the youth. Among these former players were Bobbie Howard (Univ. of Notre Dame and Chicago Bears), Michael Blair (Green Bay Packers) and Marc May (Minnesota Vikings). “We also wanted to include girls in this clinic because everyone should have the opportunity to play this wonderful game.” says Sullivan. Sullivan enlisted the help of some professional women’s football players as well. Meschel Edwards (Chicago Bliss) and Porcha Johnson-Ferguson (Detroit Demolition) offered their knowledge of the game and coached the boys and girls.
Meschel Edwards (Chicago Bliss) coaching the centers.
The three-day clinic included a morning session of position specific drill work followed by lunch, then an afternoon session consisting of flag football games. Before youth were dismissed each day, coaches gathered youth for a “Prep Talk” to give youth knowledge on certain topics in their lives. Candice Griffin of the Chicago Force Pro Women’s Football Team, spoke to the youth after Wednesday’s clinic about making. healthy choices when eating. Near West Youth Coordinator, Alex McNulty, spoke about making smart decisions and respect for others on Thursday. On Friday, Marques Sullivan talked about teamwork and leadership. With more than 60 youth participating, the clinic was deemed a success. This clinic was definitely a step in the right direction to bring youth football back into the community.
Near West is working to make this clinic an annual occurrence for youth. The three-day event proved to be another valued resource and service offered by the Near West Side Community Development Corporation and its youth programming arm, Youth Zone Chicago. If you would like more info on how you or your child can participate in this event next year or any other youth program, please call us at (312) 738-2280.