By Anna-Marie Menhenott
FORT PIERCE -- For more than a decade, the Fort Pierce Greyhounds Pop Warner program has given local youth a reason to get off the couch and get involved in sports.
Whether it was football, cheerleading or dance teams, the football field on Avenue M in Fort Pierce was alive with children learning how to become part of a team, learning life's lessons and finding out what it took to be a Greyhound.
A recent change in management has relocated the business side of the Greyhounds to the Fort Pierce PAL center. Also, Nick Mimms, the city's deputy manager, has taken over the helm of Fort Pierce Pop Warner, giving the program a fresh face and a slew of new ideas.
The program offers tackle football for children ages 8-15. The divisions are separated by weight and age, giving each child an equal opportunity at success on the playing field.
Also offered is competitive cheerleading for children ages 8-15 and dance teams. Both cheer and dance participate in weekly football games, enter competitions and enjoy the camaraderie of a team sport.
After a season coaching at a different football program, head coach William Blue has made a return. He has high expectations for this year's teams.
"I came back because I love this community and I think I can do more for the kids that live here as opposed to out of the city. This is where I'm from and I want to give back," Coach Blue said. "I think we have the talent for these teams to go all the way to the championship. There's no negativity. We're a positive environment that teaches discipline and the game of football. Each player will learn the skills they need to be a productive person on and off the field."
Cost for football and cheerleading is $125 per player and includes uniform, equipment and at least eight weekly games starting in August.
Practices will be held Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. The Pop Warner season starts July 1, however application packets can be picked up at the PAL center, located 903 South 21st Street in Fort Pierce.
For more information about sponsorships, volunteering or participation in Fort Pierce Pop Warner, please call the PAL Center at (772) 466-0606.