(Image courtesy Dorchester Eagles)
A Dorchester Pop Warner team was recently crowned regional champions and has earned a spot at the national championships in Orlando, Fla.
The win and the potential of making the trip south for next weekend's tournament is not lost on the coaches or the team. After suffering an embarrassing incident at the national tournament in 2009 -- a fight during the championship game -- the squad has reshaped and rebranded itself.
“It was unfortunate what happened, but we have to take responsibility and move on,” said Chris Thompson, a coordinator and coach for the team.
This will be the first time the team has made it this far since its suspension was lifted in 2010 and probation status was revoked in 2011 because of the incident.
“It’s a whole new group of kids, they’re straight-A students,” said Thompson. “We’re doing everything that was asked of us, we’re doing it right.”
From changing the home field to Casey Field in Fields Corner to bring on a new president, the program that was started in the mid-1990s, has worked since August to make sure the 150 area youth who play on the team and 50 girls who cheer in its squad are off the streets and learning.
“Football is a way out for a lot of these kids,” Thompson said. “It’s a hard life and football keeps them busy.”
Although there is a lot of excitement surrounding the win, the group of 11- 13-year-olds still has a long road ahead of them before they leave for the tournament. The team, according to Thompson, needs to raise over $30,000 by Friday for its trip to Orlando.
“The kids are ecstatic, it would be a shame if we couldn’t make it because we couldn’t raise the money,” said Thompson. “The love has just been unexpected,we’re just doing it the right way and it’s going the right way.”
Those who like to donate can do so at the MembersPlus Credit Union on Gallivan Boulevard, Tax ID #043-23-7502.