The 2nd annual Football Camp for the STARS was held at Thomas Jefferson High School Football Field on June 23 and June 24, 2011 (link to brochure). Thirty three campers with Down syndrome registered for the event. They arrived with their families at 5:00 pm on Thursday and were greeted by the cheerleaders. After registering, they donned their practice shirts and legendary Coach George Novak from Woodland Hills introduced them with their practice partners. These partners were football players from the Woodland Hills and Thomas Jefferson High Schools.
On both evenings the players practiced a variety of football drills, skills and techniques. Coaches from Woodland Hills (WH) and Thomas Jefferson (TJ), as well as trainers from the Center for Rehab Services were there to work the players. Special guest speaker, Steeler's Charlie Batch, addressed the group on Thursday sharing information and inspiration. Wes Lyons, playing at West Virginia (WH '06) was also there. The TJ Football Boosters provided pizza after practice to all the players.
On Friday the participants received their game jerseys from the coaches in the locker room before a pre-game meeting. Miss Kerry Cannon opened the game singing the Star Spangled Banner. Despite the occasional rain the young men had a scrimmage prior to the cook out on Friday night. Coach Bill Cherpak from Thomas Jefferson narrated the game and several officials from WPIAL officiated the games. Steeler TV was there to film the event with Sandy Romah, who passed out Steeler MVP certificates to the participants. (link for Steeler TV)
Coach Mike Machado from Christian Valley High School in San Jose California, Rick Watson and his Andrew also attended from the West Coast. Andrew is the inspiration to Coach Machado to start the camp. Coach Machado wanted to include athletes who loved football in the game. (link to video)
Coach Jim Tomsula and his wife Julie have brought this event to Western PA after working with Coach Machado. Their families and friends all work and volunteer to make this day such a success. The Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburgh it so proud to be a part of The Football Camp for the STARS. This event provides an opportunity for our athletes who love football to experience the game.
If you want to be involved by volunteering for 2012 Football Camp for the STARS contact Sheila Cannon 412-692-7963.
South Hills Record 2011
Tribune Review 2011
Post Gazette 2010
South Hills Record 2010
Tribune Review 2010