ASBURY PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Pop Warner league in New Jersey has its first home game coming up but may not be able to afford to rent a field to play on.
CBS2’s Clark Fouraker talked to the league president, who is asking for donations since the cost of the league is too much for some families.
The players were running drills and cheerleaders were practicing routines. The first home games for the Asbury Park Pop Warner League are coming up.
“I’ve got a feeling that we’re gonna win this next game. We’ve got a lot of speed,” player Nyron Sterling said.
About 50 kids, ages 8 to 11, participate in the league, but paying for these student-athletes is often more than families can afford.
League president Teddy Wilson had dropped registration fees from $150 to $100, and has now dropped them altogether, but is still trying to supply players with helmets, shoulder pads and jerseys they need to take the field.
“It’s about $200 to field one child,” Wilson said. “The cost covers insurance fees. It covers referee fees. It covers facility usage,” Wilson said.
Wilson said the cost of the league is well worth it and he would know. His father was the league president when he played Pop Warner with Asbury Park from 1988 to 1992.
“We learned how to be athletes, but also learned how to be good young men at home, school and on the football field,” Wilson said.
He said that’s the real value of keeping this league going — two hours a day, five days a week, young people are getting a positive influence.
“It’s worth it as far as treating them like a family. A lot of these kids would just be running outside doing God knows what. During football season this is something they look forward to,” player mom Nereida Beatty said.
Since the league has eliminated registration fees, it is now asking for donations so it doesn’t have to turn kids away.
“We’d rather try and teach them versus them roaming the streets of Asbury and get in trouble,” Wilson said.
So, practice will continue because the lessons these teams will learn are well worth the cost of the game.
The youth players and cheerleaders are required to provide their own shoes to participate. The league’s first home game is Sept. 8.