He didn’t just want to offer youngsters in Troup County an outlet to play football, he wanted to create a well-rounded program that would offer plenty away from the gridiron as well.
“What I’ve been trying to do since the first year with the program is to (offer) mentoring and community service and tutoring,” Bradfield said.
Bradfield said that now, with the Knights Select program in its third year, his vision is becoming a reality.
“Football is a big part of it, but we want these boys and girls to have some more sources to make sure they’re successful,”
Bradfield said. “I’m so amped for the parents for volunteering for those spots, to be a mentor coordinator, to partnership with other people in the community.”
On Thursday afternoon at Granger Park, Bradfield looked out over the field as dozens of players, who are making up three travel football teams, worked with their respective coaches.
Also this year, dozens of young girls have come out to be a part of the cheerleading squad.
As Bradfield watched the players work diligently under the July sun, he spoke with passion about how far the program has come since its inception in 2010, and how satisfying it is to see it progress to this point.
“When I tell you this year I’m more excited than any other year, it’s because the other half is coming alive now,” he said. “I’m so excited about that. I thank God for that.”
The program, which is officially known as Knights Select Football and Cheer, began in 2010 with one football team.
Last year, a second team was added, and this year, there will be three teams.
The newest addition is a 7-8-year-old team, and it will join the existing 9-10-year-old and 11-12-year-old teams.
The seasons begin on Aug. 25, and the teams will play games on the road, and at Granger Park.
Bradfield wanted to start a team for 7 and 8-year-olds because he likes the idea of getting players involved in the program at a young age.
“I’m so pumped about getting those 7 and 8-year-olds and getting them started early, learning the principles about what we’re trying to teach these kids,” Bradfield said.
Bradfield said the players have been working hard since practice began on July 9, and he’s proud of how far they’ve come.
“They’re learning all types of defenses, all types of offenses,” Bradfield said. “Right now, I’m blown away (by how much they’ve learned). These guys are understanding a cover-two coverage.”
Bradfield said one of the lessons football teaches is the importance of working hard and not taking any shortcuts.
“You have to sacrifice for this game,” Bradfield said. “Their friends are sitting on the couch playing video games, and they’re out here in the hot sun sweating.”
The players aren’t the only ones sweating.
Bradfield said all of the coaches bring plenty of passion to the field, and to the off-field programs.
“My coaches, they’re full-speed,” Bradfield said. “We’re all plugged in far as getting plans together as far as education this year. I’m so excited about that.”
Bradfield said he also encourages as much parental involvement as possible.
“I’m so amped for the parents for volunteering for those spots, to be a mentor coordinator, to partnership with other people in the community,” Bradfield said.
Bradfield loves the direction things are going, and he can’t wait to get a new season under way.
“I’m just excited for where it’s headed right now,” he said.
OF NOTE: For information on the Knights Select program or to sponsor a player, call Bradfield at (706) 594-9624 or email firstname.lastname@example.org