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The south miami grey ghosts, Back in action for the summer

The south miami grey ghosts, Back in action for the summer

By: Nancy Eagleton

The 75 lb. Grey Ghosts football team practices hand-offs during a drill.

The South Miami Grey Ghosts tackle football and cheerleading programs have officially started. Although practices began on July 6, South Miami Parks and Recreation Supervisor II, Lorenzo Woodley, said that registration for the two teams will continue through the end of the month.

“Most of our boys are returning players, so they know the drill every summer,” said Woodley. “They take a few weeks off after school and then we start conditioning right after the 4th of July.”

Over 150 boys, ages 5 – 14, will participate in the Grey Ghost football program this season and over 80 girls will join the cheerleading squads. Both programs depend heavily on donations by community members and businesses. Woodley says the Grey Ghosts football program would not be possible without wonderful sponsors.

“I’m so grateful to Interval Leisure Group, who has generously supported our program for the past several years,” said Woodley.

Interval Leisure Group International is a leading global provider of vacation services, headquartered in South Miami at 6262 Sunset Drive. The chairman, president and CEO of Interval, Craig M. Nash, is a former Grey Ghost player.

“For two seasons in the ‘60s, I played a number of positions for the Grey Ghosts, but enjoyed linebacker the most. Whether we won or lost, we played our hearts out and had some great times.

Those experiences taught me how essential teamwork is – no matter the environment,” noted Nash. “I never imagined all these years later that I’d be CEO of a global company headquartered just a few miles from the team’s home field.

I’m proud to lead an organization that believes strongly in giving back to its hometown community, and supporting the Grey Ghosts is one of the ways we’re able to do that. I wish the team a successful 2010 season, and even more importantly, I hope that they have as much fun as we did. Go Ghosts!” Donations to the program go toward uniforms, equipment, transportation to games and referee fees. Donations can also be made to sponsor a child and cover the child’s registration fee in the program.

The football teams, who are divided into six groups by age and weight, practice each week, Monday through Friday, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and play their games on Saturdays.

The cheerleaders are also divided by age group to support and cheer for the corresponding football team and are coached by two to three volunteer coaches. The two younger football groups and all of the cheerleaders practice at the Bethel-Gibson Community Center in South Miami. The older football players practice at Palmer Park. Woodley, who’s been with the parks department for 18 years and the football program for six, depends on many volunteer coaches and commissioners to work with the children.

“We have four to six coaches for each football team, including a head coach, a coach for the quarterbacks, wide receivers and offensive and defensive lines. These kids are getting very focused training,” said Woodley. There are many Grey Ghost success stories. Patrick Robinson is a recent athlete whose success makes Woodley proud of the program.

“Robinson played football, basketball, soccer and ran track in the program from age 6 to 14. He received a football scholarship to Gulliver, a scholarship to FSU and was just picked in the NFL first round draft by the New Orleans Saints,” said Woodley. “He’s a good kid and a great athlete.”

The elite Grey Ghosts are part of the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League, comprised of 22 different member parks with over 3,500 football players and 1,500 cheerleaders enrolled. The Grey Ghosts will play teams from West Kendall, Miami Springs, Tamiami Park and Fort Myers during their season.

For information on Grey Ghosts football or cheerleading programs or to make a donation, call Lorenzo Woodley at 786-368-3874, visit the Community Center at 5800 SW 66 Street or visit www.southmiamigreyghosts.com

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