The Jets, represented by Quinton Coples and Leger Douzable, and Chase Bank presented a $100,000 check to the Twin Valley Football Conference and the Newark Pop Warner Football League of the Northern New Jersey Football Program on Tuesday evening in an effort to continue their dedication to youth football.
The money will go toward team jerseys for all players of the NPWFL and shoulder pads, helmets and half-sleeve compression shirts for all players in the TVFC. Both leagues have USA Football-certified coaches. After the presentation, Coples and Douzable helped the young footballers through station drills.
Coples said that giving back and reaching out to the community has been one of his goals since he entered the league in 2012.
“Growing up, it’s something that I always wanted and I wasn’t able to receive it,” he said. “Whenever I can get out there and encourage kids to continue to work hard and continue to play the game of football, I’m here for it.”
Douzable said he sees giving back to the community as a chance for him to return the favor. As a kid, he went to a Boys & Girls Club event in which the Tampa Bay Buccaneers helped the children through positional drills.
“Anytime I have a chance to come out and help an organization like the Jets or Chase to come donate to kids in northern New Jersey,” he said, “when it comes to football pads, I’m more than willing to do it.”
Douzable said seeing the kids playing football took him back to his Little League football days, in which the 6’4”, 284-pounder played a little as a quarterback before finding his calling as a defensive lineman.
Jerome D’Agati, Chase market manager, was also taken back to his football days as a defensive end. He said he was happy to be a part of this event, especially when he saw the kids’ excitement. When he walked into the event, he said, the children walked up to him and asked him if he was a Jet.
“It’s a great opportunity for Chase to be partnered with the Jets, but most importantly it’s to give back to the community,” he said. “Being part of donating helmets and jerseys to the kids so they can really enjoy this experience is important for us.”
The helmets and jerseys are important for the success and safety of the children, said Joe Gaccione, the commissioner and president of the TVFC.
“A lot of towns play with older, used equipment and a lot of the stuff has to be replaced. It becomes unsafe at some point,” he said. “But there’s something about a kid when he has newer gear on — he feels more confident. It’s inspiring to know someone cares about them.”
Coples showed how much he cared about not only the players but the community as a whole at the event. A young girl who was watching the practice asked him for a picture, but he had to help the football players with drills.
“I’ll be back,” he told her with a smile.
When the drills were over, he went right up to the girl, kept his promise and took a picture with her.
East Orange Mayor Lester Taylor came out to the event and kicked off the presentation. He stressed to the kids that Coples and Douzable were the epitome of where an education can get you.
“It’s a great opportunity for young people to see what they can achieve,” he said before his speech. “It’s always important for them to realize that education comes first. I want to make sure our young people know that athletics can not only be a gateway for financial stability but the access to a high-quality college education.”
Source: New York Jets