USAG-K football campers come together

Story and photos by Kelley English
USAG Kaiserslautern Public Affairs

U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern and Child, Youth and School Services held this year’s Tackle Football Camp June 23 to 26 on Miesau Army Depot.

The camp, sponsored by USAG-K and the CYS sports program, was offered to military children ages 9 to 18. Each child who participated sharpened their skills at both defense and offense with the help of NFL coaches and players, college coaches, and coaches from around the community.

More than 130 children participated in the four-day camp coached by well-known NFL players like Pittsburgh Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall and Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Maui’a. All of the coaches fostered a fun atmosphere for the campers by teaching participants pigskin fundamentals while keeping a competitive edge to the drills.

“They’ve been excited to have us around here and that was humbling. When I was younger, they didn’t have camps like this, especially in my town. Football wasn’t really big for us. It would have been nice to be able to learn a little, bit but it’s cool for me to be a part of it that’s for sure,” Mr. Mendenhall said.

The children were very appreciative for the opportunity to work with various college coaches from schools across the country such as Tarleton state, Texas; Truman state, Missouri; Tennessee Tech and Valley City State College, North Dakota. For the few recruitable high school campers, it served as great exposure to college coaches and the recruiting process. Younger campers also gained experience and inspiration from the camp.

“I think (the camp) will help me get tougher. We were doing a drill and two people were in the middle and they had to hit each other until one fell down and it was my favorite drill so far. I think everything’s going to help me get faster, and seeing the (NFL) players come makes me really want to play in the NFL or NBA,” said camper Robert Brown, 12.

Rick Courtright, assistant defensive back coach of the Arizona Cardinals, said the camp originated in Nüernberg, Germany, in 2007 and has been increasingly successful since it was brought to the Kaiserslautern area.