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NFL Alumni sees value in showcasing local athletes in the absence of football in RI

NFL Alumni, Coach Todd Krueger and partner Anthony DeAngelis take Academic Elite Football Showcase to Westerly, RI in hopes of giving football players with no fall season and the threat of a COVID-19 resurgence, a glimmer of hope.

It was a cool October day in Southern New England and players from all over came to attend the Academic Elite Football showcase in Westerly, RI. The athletes ranged from middle school to high school in two seperate showacase. This football showcase was a little different than others. First, everyone has been dealing with the cancellation of high school football in Rhode Island, Massachusettes and beyond. Secondly, the restrictions on the players and coaches and the stringent protocol due to COVID-19 added a new wrinkle in the organiztion of the event.

With these hurdles you may have thought, how can these guys pull this off and why would they even want to try?

Krueger and Deangelis were determined to see this event through. They started by wrangling up some of the best coaches in the Southern New England area. This would take them one step closer to achieving their goal of a successful showcase. These coches helped organize and run the specific drills for the combine measurements by which the student athletes would get graded. Their experience and leadership skills would help keep the kids organized and safe while accomplishing their skill station requirements.

"We couldn't have done it with out the help of our amazing coaches and staff, Anthony and I are very thankful to everyone involved“ said Krueger.

The need for this with the cancellation of football in the fall was another driving force in getting the showcase off the ground. The youth and high school football community is huge and passionte. Players, coaches and parents were ithching for some football. Also, with no season, it meant very slim college recruiting. This camp was needed to try and help some kids be seen. There may have been a cost attached with the attendance, but it was so minimal it was barely covering the overhead of the event. The westerly youth football program also opend their concession stand to feed the players and attendees, this allowed that football program to make a few pennies in a dead season as well.

"We wanted to give back to these players and the community for letting us host the event at their home field" said Krueger.

So while people out there may snark at the likes of this sort of showcase in the midst of COVID-19, it was definitely a well thought out and organzied, safe event that was welcomed by all who attended. There were an awful lot of smiles going around the field that day.

During this worldwide pandemic where many people have lost everything, including chances at playing the sport they love in the collegs ranks or dressing for their last football season with their teammates and coaches, smiles should be just what the doctor ordered.

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