Undefeated youth football team on South Side raising funds to play for national championship

Chicago News

CHICAGO — An undefeated youth football team from Chicago’s South Side has a shot at a national championship, but they are short of the funds to get there.

Over the summer, President Barack Obama surprised the Southside Wolfpack with a visit, congratulating them on a great season. Since then, their winning journey has continued.

The team of 13-year-olds have won a state title and the American Youth Football Regional Playoffs. Their next stop is the national championship near Disney World in Kissimmee, Florida, but they’re falling short on the funds.

“We need $30,000 very, very quickly,” Wolfpack coach Earnest Radcliffe said.

The team has a GoFundMe, and entrepreneur Early Walker led a plea on Sunday, calling on everyone from business leaders to elected officials and professional sports teams to step up.

“As we rally behind solutions to try to stop the violence, we need to rally behind these kids that are actually doing what they’re supposed to be doing. Going to school, getting straight A’s and getting to Nationals,” Walker said.

They need to raise more than $30,000 by Friday, when the team is scheduled to leave for a week long stay in Florida, alongside the Wolfpack’s cheerleading team, the Lady Wolves. The Lady Wolves are slated to compete for a national championship in Tampa.

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“It’s very important that we put our arms around these young people because they are doing something very, very positive,” Radcliffe said.

Radcliffe started the program in 1997 with the goal of giving kids a pathway to success. He said he won’t let them down now.

“We’re going to come back home with another trophy and some rings,” Wolfpack player Jayvon Anderson said.

The Wolfpack are scheduled to play their first national game on Monday, December 6.

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