AAU football team provides on- and off-field lessons

When you think of the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), the sports that first come to mind probably are basketball, baseball and track and field. However, starting this month, the AAU is offering local youth an opportunity to play another sport: football.

The Tri-City Tigers, an AAU football organization based in Chesterfield, is open to young, aspiring football players and cheerleaders between the ages of 5 to 14 that reside in the Richmond area, including Henrico, for the cost of $195 per participant.

"This program will help train kids that are 14 years old and under and give them a high level knowledge of the game," Tri-City Tigers Vice President Daniel Bedford, Jr. said.
The team's eight-game schedule includes two home games against in-state squads, both of which will be held at Thomas Jefferson High School in Richmond. The Tigers will also be a part of a 15-20 team AAU regional tournament that will be held at Sportsquest in Chesterfield. If the team performs well enough at the regional level, then it will have an opportunity to compete for the national championship at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Fla.

"Last year, there were two teams from Virginia that went to the national championship in Orlando, which is extremely impressive when there is a national organization (AAU) with so many teams," Tri-City Tigers President Antonio Bedford said.

While football will be the primary focus of the program, the participating youth will also learn to become better individuals in the classroom and in the community. In order to be a part of the program, players must maintain a "B" average in their academics as well as perform community service delivering food to impoverished local families.

Additionally, the Tigers will hold a "Chalk Talk" session during every Friday practice to teach the athletes important life skills, such as setting goals, decision making and time management.

"We teach [the kids] that they need to be good athletes, great students and greater citizens," Antonio Bedford said in a statement.

The Tri-City Tigers organization also addresses any concerns about concussions or head injuries by performing baseline tests via the online Axon Sports Computerized Cognitive Assessment Tool. In the event that a player may have sustained a concussion, he or she will perform the tests again to see if they match up with the baseline test.

The organization held its first practice earlier this month. For details, visit http://www.tricitytigers.org.

Henrico Business Bulletin Board

May 2017
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