The Richmond Steelers Football and Cheer program continues to flourish in its third year in the Snoop Youth Football League (SYFL).
The program that is credited with raising the level of football in West County recently sent four teams to the SYFL NorCal Championship Tournament.
Two of them — the 6-under (Futures) and 11-under (Jr. Pee-Wee) squads — won their respective titles and earned a spot in the SYFL national championship tournament, which is set to take place this weekend at San Jose State University.
The teams will compete in a semi-final game on Saturday, and if they win they will qualify to play in the championship game on Sunday.
The results are understandably satisfying for coach and athletic director Will Bryant, who says the SYFL is right now Northern California’s most competitive youth football league.
When asked what makes the Steelers program successful, Bryant said it’s the players’ parents “for trusting us to teach their babies the fundamentals of football, brotherhood and sportsmanship.”
The roughly 200 kids who make up the Football and Cheer program are fueled by a determination to succeed on and off the field, Bryant said.
“They’re all trying to play for a college scholarship,” he said, adding that the program abides by the slogan “students first, athletes second.”
The Steelers aims to create a bond between players that transcends to the classroom. It’s partly why they joined the SYFL, which unlike other leagues does not separate youth athletes by weight, but rather by age. That allows the players to compete alongside each other throughout their development — a transition that has been credited with increasing the level of play at Richmond’s Kennedy High, which has recently enjoyed historic seasons. The program also stresses health and wellness.
Bryant, head coach of the 11-under team, congratulated his coaching staff on another great season. Leading the 6U team this weekend is head coach Dejuan Compton and offensive coordinator Eugene Teasley. Assisting Bryant this weekend will be 11-under coaches Bob Sutherland (assistant coach) and Tony Thompson (defensive coordinator).