No Fly Zone Youth League Football Camp offers training for ballplayers

caines | 6/27/2013, 5:30 a.m.

[gallery link="file" columns="4" orderby="title"] Creator Harris says participation just as crucial for optimist Throughout the month of June more than 15 teams from the Overtown Optimist Club gathered to compete in the Brandon Harris No Fly Zone Youth League 7-on-7 Football Camp at three different parks in Overtown and Liberty City. The free camp, presented by the Houston Texans cornerback, was geared toward giving younger football players an opportunity to compete during the summer and keep the kids involved. It gives the kids something positive to do, as well as be around some of the coaches they will see at the next level, Harris said. The more you stay in sports, the less time you have to get into negative things that go on in the community. More than 300 athletes from ages nine to 15 participated in three weekends of 7-on-7 play and were able to take part in a Nike SPARQ Combine Training, while coaches were able to attend a Youth League Coaching Clinic one weekend at no cost. Im honored and thankful that Brandon Harris did this and gave back to the community, said Harold Jacob, head coach of the freshman group (ages nine to 10) champions, the Gwen Cherry Bulls. I think this was a really good stepping stone. Harris, a native of the Overtown community, who has personal ties because his father, Tim Ice Harris, and older brother, Tim Harris Jr., coach football at Booker T. Washington, said that providing an opportunity for optimist programs was crucial. The whole idea of it is great, said Tim Jr. An event like this for the youth leagues in South Florida is just another way to help prepare young student athletes for the next level. Were already looking forward to next year. Brandon Harris felt that the significance of youth sports are often mitigated compared to programs for high school aged athletes, but said they were just as important. Youth programs are important in Miami [because] there are a lot of negative influences and football is a way to get away from [them] for a bit, Harris said. Its about becoming a better person. The tournament even brought optimist teams from the Homestead area out to participate. It was a really good tournament and we can take it into the season with us, said Ray Morrison, head coach of the winning sophomore group (age 11 to 12) Florida City Razorbacks. With the support of several esteemed local coaches and NFL players, Harris plans to continue and expand the camp next year, despite the amount of work that is required. I could not have done it alone, Ive had a lot of support, Harris said. But we just wanted to make it a full experience for the teams. By Akilah Lasterakilahlaster@gmail.com