Two years in the making, the Brooklyn United Youth Football League (“BU”) has arrived.
In the last season they went undefeated in the regular season earning a trip for championship games in Florida. They beat the Montclair, New Jersey, Cobras in Taconic, New York, to qualify for the youth national championship series in Kissimmee, Florida, last December 4-13.
Just two short years ago, they were a sparsely outfitted crew playing hard and competing against well-funded, organized teams locally and nationally.
They’ve come a long way.
On a recent Sunday final round game they played the Mahopac Indians in East Orange, New Jersey. It was no contest as BU constantly whipped through Mahopac’s porous defense.
In the stands this writer could overhear Montclair’s coaching brain trust, taking notes and discussing BU players. “We got to key on numbers 1, number 25 and number 23,” and “cover those guys and we’re in,” indicating that merely shutting down a handful of BU players would win them a Florida trip.
“They’re tired,” chimed another Montclair scout as a second successful flea flicker resulted in Mahopac’s third touchdown.
Tired they appeared; but this talented BU team was saving the best for last. They threw no passes all game long. They instead unleashed their number one weapon; Team captain, Jordan Armstead 13, the quarterback, who darted through the opposition’s defense with impunity. Final score BU 35, Mahopac 24.
Earlier in the day, prior to kick-off, there was concern when BU star running back Angel Munoz, 13, no. 23, had not yet arrived. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful.
Suddenly, about 15 minutes before game time a car pulled into the parking lot and out pops Angel. Was that a groan of dismay from the Montclair scouts?
Apologizing, Munoz scampered pass coaches and staff and headed to suit up. At least Munoz got a ride. Some times some players are no shows for practices and even games due to lack of transportation or other hardships. There were three no-shows for the Mahopac game.
One BU player must bring his young brother and sister in order to make practice as the family has no babysitter. Another young boy rides his bike four miles to practice, which often ends when it’s already dark.
Urban centers are filled with youth wanting and needing membership and leadership, which BU feels the need to undertake. Coaches and staff help fill a void. Moms, spouses staff members and others provide administrative support.
Dala Howard, Shanee Tucker and Mychelle Edwards were outstanding “Team mothers”; going out of their way to help everyone. “Football just happens to be a means to an end,” explains Adam Howard, CEO of BU. “School grades are examined and attempts made to resolve problems stemming from home or elsewhere.”
The problems didn’t stop this team from Florida. After defeating Mahopac and Montclair BU was ready. Before departure they even enjoyed their “15 minutes of fame” when Brooklyn local Channel 12 visited practice and interviewed two players, two coaches and Howard the CEO.
After an 18-hour coach bus trip from New York, 35 players and 5 BU coaches arrived in Kissimmee, Florida. This was for the American Youth Football (AYF) National Championships. After checking into their hotels on Saturday, December 3rd, BU played a game Sunday the 4th. With the travel fatigue and little rest, BU’s game was off; they lost to the Florida Gulls. Two days later they defeated the Florida Dolphins. That win was rewarded with a trip to nearby Universal Studios.
In their final round-robin BU lost to the Virginia Cavaliers. They ended up with a 1 and 2 playoff record. While there was no championship this year the young boys learned much and gained valuable experience on and off the field.
What a season.
Contributions/donations are gladly accepted by Brooklyn United. Please go to www.buyouthfootball.com