The Warriors summer youth football combine was held in Central Park on Sunday morning and featured Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Trenton Irwin.
Irwin, who’s a former Warrior himself, could be seen coaching the youth players while also joining them in the many training exercises being held. Irwin said that coming full circle to help out the organization that started his path to the NFL was a learning experience for him, just as much as it was for the kids.
“I played out here you know, I was at the level at some point having some fun with it,” said Irwin. “So I just have the opportunity to go out there, have some fun with the kiddos and hopefully learn some lessons myself and also teach them lessons to them and grow as individuals.”
The combine was also an informal training session and community event for alumni of the Warriors program to show the current and much younger players what they have learned since they left. Many former Warriors now play for local high schools such as Hart, Saugus, and Valencia. Garett Monroe, president of the Warriors organization, said that these events are also a way to recruit new members.
“We do annual combines as a recruiting event to get prospects out here, getting current players out here,” said Monroe. “This one specifically is an alumni-based one [where] we get former players that were involved just to come out and support the program and build a lot of energy.”
Greg Springer, a parent at the event, said having an NFL player come and help out the kids was great for their development and that having them be able to play sports again in a pre-pandemic fashion was also good for them.
“It feels amazing to have somebody of that caliber come here, especially [one] that played on this organization,” said Springer. “You know, see the kids put on weight and everything from playing video games and staying in the house and now getting where they’re feeling good and sweating. They love it. Nobody’s complaining so far.”
Like Springer, many of the former Warriors said that coming full circle and passing on what they’ve learned felt good and their training seemed to be working.
“It feels good to pass the torch on to people that I’ve seen before,” said William Stone, a middle-school football player. “They look up to you so it should work.”
“This is cool, man. I mean, you know, just bringing back memories being out here,” said Irwin. “[These] kids got a lot of organization, they’re learning a lot about discipline, you know, hopefully have some fun too, as they always do with football.”