NEWBURGH – On May 7th, players and coaches from the Goldbacks Youth Football League D3 and D2 divisions, and alumni, brought some footballs and a self confidence skill building program to the middle school students of Nora Cronin Presentation Academy, a Catholic, private middle school for girls of low income families located in the City of Newburgh.
"Mrs. Lo, our Team Mom, read an article about the ‘Girls’ Football Project’ in Kenya, sponsored by Nike, in which the athletes teach empowerment to young girls through the sport of football," said Coach Brad Clausen, longtime coach of the Goldbacks Youth Football League D3 Division, which went to the Orange County Youth Football Super Bowl Championship in 2013 and 2012. "Well, in Kenya, football is what we here call soccer. We got the idea that we would use the same concepts, but with the sport of American football."
The Goldbacks YFL players and coaches taught the girls various different basic football skills such as how to run from a three-point stance, and how to run a route, that is run, turn, and catch the football, said Coach Clausen. The coaches then had the girls play a "scrimmage," in which the football players threw the ball to them and the girls caught the ball, while the coaches kept track of how many balls they caught.
"We have no idea which of the Nora Cronin scrimmage teams won, only that they had a lot of fun," said Coach Clausen. "At first they were nervous and said things like ‘I can’t catch’ but by the time we left, the girls were catching the ball and running and having a great time, it was really good to see the transformation."
"I row with some of these girls," said Riley Higgins, a 6th grader who is both a football player for the Goldbacks YFL and a rower with the Newburgh Rowing Club’s competitive team, "and I am really proud of them coming out here and trying something new."
"I had a great time," said Diane Miller, a 6th grader at NCPA who is also on the Nora Cronin Crew Team, which is a part of the Newburgh Rowing Club. "And I really do feel like I can do anything. But I think I will stick to rowing."
"The program was great success and we plan to do more community service projects with our players in the future," said Coach Clausen.