MOORESVILLE, NC (WBTV) - Teams from a local youth football organization in Mooresville were invited by the Pro Football Hall of Fame to compete in games in late November.
Powerhouse Pride Athletics is a Christian-based, non-profit organization that sponsors many local athletes that would otherwise be unable to play.
According to Powerhouse’s website, the teams have a 90 percent winning record, 12 undefeated seasons, 16 divisional championships, nine Superbowl Championships, three National Championships at Gatlinburg Thanksgiving Bowl U13 Team.
Even with all of these accolades and accomplishments, the organization says they see this invite as the biggest honor yet.
The Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Championships in Canton, Ohio, will host 14 regional qualifiers in 2018 with the top teams moving on to the world championship in December.
Each championship game in Canton will be televised or streamed on CBS Sports Network.
The people who select these teams go all over the country to monitor teams and find those of the highest caliber.
Teams are evaluated on things such as strength, speed, big play ability, athleticism, sportsmanship and coaching ability.
On Saturday, Nov. 3, Powerhouse was visited by Marc Boldurian, National Director for the World Youth Championships and National Recruiter for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy.
Boldurian came to watch the teams play their last regular season game before playoffs and presented three of the PowerHouse teams with a personal invitation to the Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Football Championship.
Powerhouse is trying to raise community awareness of what an honor it is that their football team was given this invitation, and also set up a GoFundMe campaign named PowerHouse Road to World Championship to help raise money for registration fees, travel and lodging funds for all families who need assistance so no player is left behind due to lack of funding.
WBTV spoke with Marc Boldurian about his visit to Powerhouse and the importance of youth sports to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Boldurian came to Mooresville in November and said he started observing from the parking lot as he sat in his car and listened. Before he made himself noticed he walked around the venue and the outside area.
He then made contact with the coach on the field and started to watch the coach and the teams from afar.
Boldurian said Powerhouse made a huge impression on him as they had the “total package” of talent, skill, phenomenal coaching and support.
“Powerhouse really is the epitome of youth sports, they encompass every kid’s needs there, no kid was ever left out. Every kid was talked to and treated in a way that was just stellar. Both on and off the field, the parents were a class act, the coaches were dignified, the kids had sportsmanship and honor for the game and opposing teams,” Boldurian said.
Boldurian says he was impressed with how supportive the players were of each other and credited it to character, coaching and parenting.
“These kids were involved and were supporting each other on their own and that comes from great coaching, great parenting and exceptional support behind them, so that was something that really stood out to me,” Boldurian said.
Boldurian elaborated on the importance of youth sports to the Hall of Fame.
“The Hall of Fame is where inspiration was born and football lives,” Boldurian said.
He says that the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy focuses on empowering kids to understand that hard work and determination pays off. He uses the story of the players in the hall of fame to convey that message
“The majority of the guys that are in there were not 4 and 5-star athletes. They were the 2 and 3-star athletes that worked harder at something they wanted more. That’s the empowerment we try to instill in these kids and make them understand that your hard work does get noticed and it does pay off and you can be more than you ever imagined just keep trying hard and staying positive in your life,” Boldurian said.
He emphasized that football is more than just wins and losses, as the young athletes encompass the true value of what youth sports is and he feels should be celebrated for that.
He spoke on adults in youth sports and what they sacrifice every day to be positive role models for young athletes.
“There are hundreds of stories of the volunteer coach who picks up 13 or 16 kids every day for practice who is, for months, away from his own family to be with these kids for a couple of hours to be positive,” Boldurian said.
He even explained how coaches build trust and a sense of family between all players, including those who may not be as physically gifted as others.
Boldurian says those young players who still buy into the team because of that built trust are sometimes the ones who go on to become the next youth sports coach or even NFL head coach.
Rich McGuinness is the director of the championship event and has dedicated his time to re-imagine the nation’s top showcase events for youth, high school and soon-to-be NFL athletes through showcase events like the championship series in conjunction with the Hall of Fame.
Leaders from PowerHouse say their athletes are very excited to show how hard they’ve been working and look forward to representing the Town of Mooresville and Iredell County.