Brooklyn United Youth Football: They Were Contenders

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Brooklyn United readies for action

Two years in the making, the Brooklyn United Youth Football League (BU), has arrived.

The team went undefeated until the very last game of the 2015 season. The team was one game away from a championship game in Florida.

By winning the title game against the Montclair, New Jersey Cobras in Taconic, New York, on November 21, BU would qualify for the Youth National Championship Series held in Kissimmee, Florida, from December 4-13th. 

What a season and what a long way the team has traveled. Just two short years ago BU was a sparsely outfitted team playing hard, having fun, competing against well-funded, organized teams locally and regionally.

Urban centers are filled with youth needing mentoring, and wanting to be members of teams with leadership. BU coaches and staff fill that void.  “Football just happens to be a means to an end.  School grades are examined, and attempts made to resolve problems stemming from home or elsewhere," says Adam Howard CEO. 

Here Moms and staff wives serve as “team mothers” responsible for administrative functions: registration, budget, scheduling; arranging transportation; and food.

BU had their “15 minutes of fame” this past 2015 season when Brooklyn's local Channel 12 visited practice and interviewed two players, two coaches and the CEO Howard. 

But back to the phenomenal season that took BU to the verge of qualifying for Florida. The final qualifying round was played in East Orange, New Jersey against the Mahopac Indians. It was no contest as BU constantly whipped through Mahopac’s porous defense. In the stands was Montclair’s coaching brain trust, taking names and making notes.

“We got to key on numbers 1, 25 and 23; cover those guys, and we win,” yelled one of Montclair's staff members. “They’re tired,” chimed another, as a second successful flea flicker resulted in Mahopac’s third touchdown.

Tired they did appear; but this talented BU team was saving the best for last. They threw no passes all game long, an obvious observance of the scrutinizing Montclair coaches. They instead unleashed their number one, team captain, Jordan Armstead 13, the quarterback. He darted through the opposition’s defense with impunity.

Final score BU 35, Mahopac 24.  It wasn’t even that close.

Earlier in the day, prior to kick-off, star running back Angel Munoz, 13 -years-old, no. 23, had not arrived. Attempts to reach him were unsuccessful and there was some panic. Suddenly, about 15 minutes before game-time a shiny new car pulls into the parking lot and out pops Angel Munoz.  Apologizing, he scampered pass coaches and staff and headed for the locker room.

Munoz’s mode of travel and uncertain arrival time reflects the challenges faced by many BU players, who come from modest means and backgrounds. Many don't attend practices or even games on time or regularly.

For the critical Montclair game, three BU players were absent; 16 suited up.  It takes 11 starters playing both sides of the ball.  It’s often times uncertain who makes practice.

One BU player must bring his young brother and sister along in order to make weekly practice.  Another bicycles four miles to-and-from; and it’s always dark when practice ends.  Private vehicles usually save the day when provided by the coaches and staff.  Generally, these young players are left to their own devices even as they see players on opposing teams arriving in charter buses.

After disposing of Mahopac, BU faced Montclair on November 21. 

The Montclair Cobras did what they said they'd do.  They centered their defense on BU's star players #1, #23 and #26. On the very third play from scrimmage, #23, Angel Munoz, lay writhing in pain.  He never got up. Serious injury to the right knee. After 30 minutes, an ambulance from Mahopac General Hospital arrived and took him away for treatment.

The team lost 20 - 7. BU's great season had come to an end. The team will have to wait until next season.

In the meantime they can reflect on this past season's achievements. The Jets front-office  also took notice; the NFL team has supplied BU with 50 regular-season game tickets. 

BU is also lucky it has Howard at the helm. He recently declined an offer to coach at the Staten Island Catholic High School Diocese. His loyalty remains with the league he co-founded – Brooklyn United.

As Brooklyn United Youth Football League looks towards an even better season, it's kicking off 2016 with a fund raising dinner at Antun's on February 27.

The team also welcomes contributions from members of the public. Please go to www.buyouthfootball.com

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