Huddled around the dining room of Coach Robert Kolb’s kitchen, members of the Downtown Giants, a youth football league team, pored over the playbooks.
Kolb and Brian Giffin saw a football void in Lower Manhattan and wanted to do something about it. Both fathers were driving their respective sons to different boroughs in order to play until they decided to rally parents and kids together to create the first youth football league in Lower Manhattan.
“Around here we [had] to get a bunch of our friends and make this team,” said Devin Kolb, 15, “Luckily for us we get to go to Florida because of it.”
This little team that could is on its way to Orlando, in football-powerhouse state Florida, to compete in the Under Armor Youth Football National Championships. Despite not having enough playing space and practice time, these teenagers, mostly fourteen or fifteen years old have been able to beat some pretty good teams.
The Downtown Giants have a 7-1 record this year and hope to bring back trophy.
“We had to prove ourselves against ex-national championship teams,” said Devin. “This showed the teams in Florida that we were capable of playing with them and play up to their standards.”
Devin attends New York City Lab High School, a school that does not have its own football team. He and 23 other teammates are excited to go to Orlando, not just to play football, but to see Disney World.
“The parents, the players, the young men who are on this team and going to Florida are outstanding,” said Coach Kolb. “It’s a tribute to them to do so much with football in such a small community with limited space and resources.”