Local teams hope to go to Pop Warner Superbowl

November 24, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Every year, young football players look forward to their version of the Superbowl. Hundreds of them will meet in Orlando to participate in the Pop Warner National Championship. Four Bay Area teams from Division 1 hope to go. They are holding onto hope because they are still trying to raise money to attend the tournament.

Three times a week, for two hours at a time, 12 and 13 year-olds practice hard on the football field.

"It means a lot because my dad played football too and I have a whole generation that plays football too," says Jahari Oliver, a player on the San Francisco Brown Bombers.

The San Francisco's Brown Bombers are like many inner city kids. They dream of someday going pro, but are reminded to stay grounded.

"They know what those odds are like. We try to focus more on what we need them to do to get till tomorrow," says president of the Brown Bombers, Ranon Ross.

"I had to do my homework before I came here, because if I didn't do my homework I wouldn't be here right now," says Ricky Johnson, a Brown Bomber.

This year the team won a place in the Pop Warner Superbowl in Orlando. The players are between the ages of 8 and 14 and come from all over the nation.

The Brown Bombers aren't the only ones trying to make it to the tournament in Orlando. Across the bridge in Berkeley there is another deserving team with few resources.

The Berkeley Jr. Bears have gone undefeated two years in a row. But like the Brown Bombers, raising the money to fly to Orlando is proving to be a challenge. They need almost $1,500 per player.

"Some parents because of the economy and the way everyone is suffering with cutback at their jobs and so forth, it makes it really difficult especially for the kids who live in inner cities," says Herbert Miller, coach of the Berkeley Jr. Bears.

"It's not about the sports piece, it's about the experience, traveling, some of our kids have never been to an airport, never been on a plane," says Ross.

They're now counting on the generosity of others to realize that dream.

If you can help these young athletes, click on the links below.

LINKS: SF Brown Bombers

Berkeley Jr. Bears

East Bay Warriors


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