The Youth Sports Highlight Reel, November 28 2023
By Melissa Wickes
November 28, 2023
Coming off of Thanksgiving and heading right into Giving Tuesday, there is so much to be thankful for in the world of youth sports and simultaneously so much we can do to give back. Here’s your youth sports roundup with news, advice, and events from the last seven days.
Youth Sports Industry News
In collaboration with U.S. Soccer Federation Coaching Education, MLS Coaching Education is hosting 8 professional development sessions on December 3 and 4 at MLS NEXT Fest in Phoenix. If you hold a USSF ‘A,’ ‘B,’ or ‘C’ License (or equivalent) you can register for the sessions here.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul just signed legislation that requires camps and youth sports programs to establish automated external defibrillator, or AED, implementation plans and to have at least one trained person to use AED at camps, games, and practices.
The Council of the European Union approved conclusions on women and equality in sport, which emphasize the importance of access to a safe, inclusive, and equal playing field—free from any form of inequality, discrimination, or violence.
Girls flag football is continuing to build momentum across the country—and over the last year it grew from 20 Catholic Schools offering the sport to 51. Bobby Mestas, Denver Broncos Football Club Director of Youth and High School football, says his team is in close conversations with the CHSAA and hopes for approval in Fall of 2024. Additionally, the Atlantic East Conference announced plans to add the sport to its Varsity offerings in 2025. Last year, New York became the eighth state to offer girls’ flag football as a Varsity sport. In California, girls flag football became recognized as an official sport at the start of this school year—and on Sunday, the Oakland Unified School District celebrated its first championship game.
“I love it. It’s like living a double life,” Damya Belford, captain of the McClymmonds High School team, told NBC Bay Area News. “I play football and I come out here and cheer. I played at 4 o’clock and I’m cheering at seven.”
Richard Coraine of Union Square Hospitality spoke to a room of youth sports organizers about the similarities between the restaurant industry and youth sports—have you seen the video?
Regional Youth Sports News
When 9 and 10 year old basketball players in Concord, California got into a scuffle during a CYO game, a mother charged onto the court and appeared to have struck a child. The parent was arrested and escorted out, and the pending charge is being reviewed by the Contra Costa County DA’s office. The altercation was recorded on a cellphone, and has since caused a roaring conversation online. What do you think?
A Revere, Massachusetts Under 14 youth soccer team—the Revere Lightning—finished their Fall 2023 Season with a 6-1-1 record and the best defensive record in their group. The team only allowed seven goals for the entire season!Revere Youth Soccer is a non-profit organization and community program dedicated to developing and guiding youth players with fundamental skills. The future is bright for girls soccer in Revere!
The Dutch Fork High School girls basketball team in South Carolina went viral last Friday when they beat Lamar 95-0. Dutch Fork coach Candace Bush is insistent that she did everything in her power to avoid a total shutout, even going as far as to try to get her team moved into a different bracket when she realized how small of a school Lamar was.”A couple of times they literally just handed the ball to my girls,'” Bush told USA Today. “We looked at each other on the bench like, ‘Did she really just give it to her?’ If I had known it was going to be that bad, I would have brought my JV girls to play pretty much the entire game.”
Here are a few of the reasons we’re grateful to youth sports during this Thanksgiving season.
Hunter Greene, Reds’ pitcher, hosted Pro Day with Hunter Greene on Saturday at Big League Dreams and distributed almost 1,000 new Nike cleats to kids of all ages and skill levels, signed autographs, and took photos. Greene has his own fond memories playing on the backfields of Big League Dreams as a kid, and credits his experience as a stepping stone to where he is today.
A few of the best baseball players to come out of West Monroe, Louisiana—spanning professional college, and high school champs—came together to give back to the community that laid their foundation for success by hosting a Thanksgiving youth baseball camp.
Last Tuesday, Kaila Clarke and Dennis Fowler—the coaches of the Green Grinches youth basketball team—helped facilitate Weston Lee’s first basket. West is a seven year old in his first year of organized basketball, and he has a rare genetic disorder called 19Q Deletion Syndrome, which leads to hearing impairment, muscle weakness, and delays in language. When the game started, Weston’s team passed him the ball and he eventually made his first basket—and the crowd, Weston’s family, and both teams went bananas.
A small town in Arizona called Wickenburg has just decided to waive all ball field rental fees for local non-profit youth sports organizations for recreational use.
The Giants Community Fund supports the Junior Giants, a free, non-competitive baseball and softball program for kids ages 5-18. All proceeds to the fund help eliminate financial barriers for families by providing players with uniforms, equipment, and gear. You can learn more about the fund here.
The Wilkes-Barre Fire Department Athletic Association donated 55 neck laceration protectors to youth hockey players at the Toyota SportsPlex on Friday night, which the kids will wear during games. The donation was prompted by the tragic death of Adam Johnson, a former player on the AHL Penguins who was killed by an opponent’s ice skate.
Give back to these 10 non-profit youth sports organizations this Giving Tuesday.
Youth Sports Events
Dec. 13—The AVCA Annual Volleyball Convention is coming up December 13-17 in Tampa, FL.
Jan. 4—The 2024 ABCA Baseball Convention is January 4-7 in Dallas, TX.
Jan. 10—The 2024 United Soccer Coaches Convention is January 10-14 in Anaheim, CA.
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Do you have an event, story, or resource we should feature in a future issue? Let us know here!