A Brownsville-based football league was presented with a $5,000 grant from SportsNet New York (SNY) at Floyd Paterson field on Sept. 7. As part of the organization’s Play Ball program, every year the organization provides local leagues with trips to NFL games, equipment, and reward some with money to support their teams. The Brooklyn United Youth Football League was this year’s recipient of the grant and the young footballers could not have been happier, said the leaugue’s co-founder and coach.
“They were excited. Even though they’re kids and don’t really understand the magnitude of money, they were happy about the award anyway,” said Elijah “Coach Loso” Waife.
The league has taken part in many of SNY’s giveaway programs, giving their young players an opportunity to explore different aspects of sports.
“We actually went to see a Jets game and that was awesome for the kids to see,” he added. “This organization has been good to us and we’re happy that our kids get to experience what they couldn’t have if they weren’t playing sports.”
The team penned a letter to SNY about their dire need for assistance and the team’s dedication won over officials at SNY to award them with the grant, said the senior vice president.
“They wrote an essay about being in a crime-ridden area and why their goal was to keep kids off the streets with football and that was partially the reason why we chose them — they needed some help,” said Marie DeParis. “They are also playing on a field park department owns but doesn’t upkeep, so they also need proper equipment and shouldn’t have to turn kids away because they don’t have it.”
Founded in 2013, the team’s coaches have mostly relied on money from parents, fund-raisers, and even money from their own pockets to fund their expenses. Now with the prize money, they plan to purchase more equipment and safety gear for their players, said Waife.
“We made ends meet and truthfully I don’t know why this organization did it but we are truly blessed,” he said. “With this bonus check is a blessing because the kids will see the best of the situation. We are not really looking for anything in return, we only want kids to have an outlet to come play, have something positive to do, and enjoy themselves.”