Category Archives: Sports

Irving hosts JROTC National Drill Championship

In the middle of the first annual U.S. Marine Corps Junior ROTC (MCJROTC) National Drill Championships, cadet captain Carola Murguia had tapered expectations. Despite her unit winning their region a month earlier and advancing to the national stage, she was just happy to be competing against the best schools in the country.

“We’re expecting to not get last,” she joked. “I think we’ll do really well. We prepared, we put the hard work in, so now it’s just waiting for everybody else to see that we worked for it. We’re here to show everybody that we deserve to be here just as much as you.”

Murguia, who is from College Park High School just outside of Houston, and her team were one of 15 units from across the country that gathered at the inaugural championship, held on Saturday, April 22 at Irving High School.

256 competitive drill teams from across the nation competed in regional rounds, and the top three from five regions advanced to this past weekend’s championship. The championship round consisted of seven events, including inspection platoon, armed and unarmed regulation drill, armed and unarmed exhibition drill, color guard, and academics.

During the academics event, ten cadets per team took a 100 question multiple-choice test in 20 minutes with questions ranging from what they learned in their curriculum to current events. Regulation events are dictated, having to be done in a certain order at a certain time, but the exhibition events allow students to work together and create under the advisement of their unit instructor.

Schools were limited to 40 cadets, including a minimum of 13 cadets in the armed and unarmed exhibition and regulation drills.

Preparation for teams began back in January when a drill card was issued. Practice for the top-level teams routinely lasted for one to two hours a day including some weekends. All qualifying schools needed to submit a pre-registration entry form to Sgt. Major Willie Martin at Irving High School by April 10.

“It was a team effort,” Murguia said. “Everybody had different ideas. We figured out what worked best and who was best at explaining it. It was definitely a giant team effort.”

The JROTC program was set up by the United States Armed Forces in high schools and middle schools across the United States in 1916 as part of the National Defense Act. Most students who are part of the program, however, do not end up enlisting.

“It’s not about joining the military,” College Park High School Principal Mark Murrell said. “It’s not about a recruitment tactic by the armed services. It’s about taking young kids and teaching them the good values that they should have in their lives, so they can be productive citizens later on and be supportive.”

In the past, MCJROTC units have competed in drill competitions across the nation, but this event is the first time that all units have the opportunity to compete on the same stage.

The event culminated in a final awards ceremony and overall national championship. Each event presented an award to the top three schools or individuals. This year, Murguia won the best armed drill team commander with a perfect score and her school, College Park High School, took home the inaugural overall champion trophy.

“What a JROTC does to a school and a community is incredible,” Murrell said. “You see it totally turn a kid around; a kid that’s a high-potential drop out, failing all of their classes. They get part of ROTC and then all of a sudden they find their leadership skills, and they are taken to the top. It’s an incredible program. What they do for young men and women, it’s a great deal for them.”

Hoggies’ unforgettable rugby season

Last April the rugby team for the University of Dallas, known as the Hoggies, had their season end sooner than they would have liked – before spring break with a 1-6 record.

“It was very embarrassing,” said Matthew Kaiser, team manager. “We’d practice, invite our friends and families to the games, and we’d lose by like 40 points. Everything was extremely unorganized.

“Other schools that are bigger have fraternities or other social clubs. We don’t have Greek life here. This is the most proper form of fraternity, where it’s actually a brotherhood. This sport also has a certain kind of camaraderie that’s unlike any other sport.”

With the help of three new coaches, head coach Filip Keuppens, attack coach Dean Robinson, and defense coach Bruce McGregor, the Hoggies turned their game around and this year competed to an undefeated regular season.

“When [the new coaches] came, they brought a different team culture,” Kaiser said. “They emphasized personal ownership and positive thinking. In the past years, we’d get angry at each other for dropping the ball, but now we understand that if we make a mistake, [we need] to encourage each other to do better next time by basically analyzing ourselves.”

“All three of us used to coach the Texas Seniors Men’s All-Star Team,” Keuppens said. “Originally UD talked to Bruce. Then Bruce talked to Dean and me to get us back together again and bring positivity to this University of Dallas rugby team.”

The players worked all season with the coaches. They encouraged the players to become better men outside the game of rugby and to become better men for the game of rugby.

“Better men make better rugby players,” Keuppens said. “That translation applied rapidly within the team, and I’m very pleased with the work these boys have put in. We as the coaching staff wanted to start a positive winning culture, then focus on the fundamentals and basics of the game, and it paid off.

“Arguably with the same amount of talent from last year, it showed that they can work together to achieve a common goal. We taught them how to play for a team instead of for themselves. We took different approaches that we had and applied them to a university level.

John Houser plays the number four or five lock position, and emphasizes his drive and motivation. 

“I expected us to improve this year because of the new coaches,” Houser said. “Great coaches were what this team was missing. However, the history of this sport gives me drive and motivation when I’m out there on that field.”

Although the team did lose two games to Angelo State University in the Lone Star Conference Championship, they qualified for the National Small College Rugby Organization by beating the University of Denver on March 25, pushing their record to 16-2.

The team prepared to travel to Claremont, Calif. to play Claremont College in the PacWest Region Championship. However, because the team plays a club sport and not a varsity sport, the team faced financial hardship.

“We ran some numbers and realized that we had to get $20,000 to get everyone to California to compete,” Kaiser said. “We needed the money for food, transportation and lodging. We went to the club organization, and they said they didn’t have any budget left. It was the middle of the school year, and they didn’t expect us to make it this far.”

All the seniors and officers came together and brainstormed for two hours one night to come up with different things the team could do to raise the money.

“We ended up starting a GoFundMe page,” Kaiser said. “We started calling friends, families, alumni’s, and they started calling people they knew as well. It ended up being a ripple effect. The post got shared over 1,000 times on Facebook.”

With the help of the community, on March 27 the team was able to raise $10,000 in just 24 hours. Within the next four days, they reached their goal of $20,000.

“It blew my mind,” Kaiser said. “There were graduates who donated like $500. We had a guy donate $5. He said, ‘I love the Hoggies. I just wish I could donate more.’ Seeing that showed everyone on the team that this is real. People actually believe in us. He obviously was struggling financially but still pitched in five bucks. That was fantastic.”

On April 8, the Hoggies went up against Claremont College in the PacWest Regionals and lost 19-40.

“This loss was disappointing, but we’re still in high spirits,” Kaiser said. “This season is something we will never forget.”

MacArthur freshman selected for Under 16 National Team Trials

MacArthur High School freshman Sarah Andrews has been selected by USA Basketball and the Developmental National Team Committee to participate in the 2017 Under 16 National Team Trials in May at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colo. If selected to the 12-member team, she will participate in the 2017 FIBA Americas Under 16 Championship in Argentina in June. 

Andrews is pictured with MacArthur principal Dan Cummings and MacArthur girls’ head basketball coach Suzie Oelschlegel.


Irving ISD Athletic Hall of Fame names inductees

The Irving ISD Athletic Hall of Fame Committee recently announced the Class of 2017, which includes a standout wrestler, triple threat athlete and two beloved coaches. The inductees are (in alphabetical order): Brad Knouse; Hobert Lytal; Duane Miller; and Thomas Uhr.

Now in its sixth year, the Irving ISD Hall of Fame is designed to honor those who have contributed to athletic excellence throughout the history of Irving ISD.

Brad Knouse

As standout wrestler and football player at MacArthur High School from 1984 to 1988, Brad Knousegarnered a plethora of accolades. He was a three-time undefeated state wrestling champion, winning the title in 1986, 1987 and 1988. He also earned Texas Wrestler of the Year titles each of those years.

Knouse placed fifth in the Under 18 World Championships in 1986 and 1988. At the national level, he won the Greco Roman National Championship title in the under 18 age division in 1987 and was runner up for the same title in 1988. He won National Championships in the under 16 age division in both freestyle and Greco Roman in 1985 and 1986. He was the 1985 Pan Am Games Champion in the under 16 age division in freestyle and was featured as a Sports Illustrated Face in the Crowd that same year.

Knouse was named the Irving Daily News Male Athlete of the Year in 1987 and 1988 and was the Asics Team USA Wrestler of the Year in the 177-pound class in 1987 and the 189-pound class in 1988. Throughout high school, he also earned honors in football as a fullback, being named to the first team all-district in 1987 and first team all-offense in 1988.

Graduating as valedictorian of the MacArthur class of 1988, Knouse attended Iowa State University on a full scholarship for wrestling. During his collegiate years, he competed in the U.S. Open Wrestling Tournament, taking 5th in 1989 and 4th in 1990. That same year, he won the championship in the 20 and under age division in Greco Roman and freestyle wrestling in the United States Olympic Sports Festival. He also placed third in the 20 and under World Championships. 

He earned a Bachelor of Science in aerospace engineering from Iowa State and has worked as an aerospace engineer for 22 years, most notably working on the GPS satellite system and the space shuttle program for the last 12 years that it flew. He is currently working on NASA’s crew exploration vehicle.

He and his wife of 22 years, Trish, reside in Pearland with their three dogs and two cats.

Hobert Lytal

Hobert Lytal worked in Irving ISD for 22 years, 13 of those years as athletic director. He started with the district as an assistant coach and taught world history at MacArthur High School for eight years before serving as the school’s head coach for one year. He was then named athletic director for Irving ISD in 1980, serving in that capacity until his retirement in 1993.

Coach Lytal was instrumental in implementing the athletic program at all of the district’s middle schools and each high school. He’s credited with having the vision to bring baseball fields to each high school campus. He also worked diligently to ensure the district complied with Title IX, a law passed in 1972 that requires that equal opportunities in education programs and activities be made available among boys and girls.

“I enjoyed being able to teach young people, be it football or in the classroom,” Coach Lytal said. “I feel like I had the opportunity to make young people better.”

Coach Lytal and his wife of 31 years, Peggy, live in Irving. They have a daughter, Lori; four sons – James, Matt, Todd and Grant; 13 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

A native of Quinlan, Texas, Coach Lytal studied at Austin College in Sherman. He coached in Celeste, Archer City, Leonard, Greenville and Tarleton State College before his stint in Irving.

Duane Miller

Duane Miller was a triple threat athletic standout during his years at Irving High School, 1982 to 1986. The Irving native competed in football, basketball and track and field. He earned seven varsity letters and was named Outstanding Athlete of the Year his senior year. Miller was named to the All-District football team his junior and senior years and to the second team All-Metroplex his senior year. In track, he was a regional qualifier in the shotput.

Miller attended the University of Texas at Austin on a football scholarship. He was a starter and letterman for the team from 1987 to 1990 and served as the co-captain of the 1990 Southwest Conference Championship team. He appeared in 42 games, starting in 34 of those including the Bluebonnet Bowl and Cotton Bowl. He was named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll four semesters and to the Texas Football preseason second team All Southwest Conference in 1990.

He was a Dallas Cowboys free agent signee in 1991. Miller attended Texas Wesleyan School of Lawin 2003. He is a defense attorney based in Belton. He and his wife, Lori, have been married 24 years. They reside in Salado.

Thomas Uhr

Thomas Uhr began his coaching career in Irving ISD in 1958, coaching track, football and basketball at Bowie Middle School until 1964, winning many city championships in all three sports. He then moved to Irving High School, where he served for four years as the head track coach, assistant B team football coach and freshman basketball coach. He had regional qualifiers in the 800 and 440 relays and discus in his first year at Irving High School. He coached football alongside Jack Rucker and Don McDonald, and the trio were known as the “B Bombers.”

Among the notable athletes he coached during his tenure at Irving are national discus champion Kelvin Korver (a member of the Irving ISD Athletic Hall of Fame Class of 2016).

Prior to his time at Irving, Uhr coached track at San Marcos Baptist Academy in San Marcos, where his team won state in 1958.

Uhr also spent more than two decades in the classroom teaching science and vocational courses.

As an athlete himself, Uhr set the record in the high jump at the Border Olympics and won the pole vault at the Fort Worth Rec Meet. He made the All-District teams in football, basketball, baseball and track, attending Edison and Northeast (now MacArthur) high schools in San Antonio.

Uhr and his wife, Anne (a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame class of 2013) have a daughter, Laura.

The 2017 Hall of Fame inductees will be honored at a banquet on Saturday, June 17, at the Sheraton DFW Airport Hotel. Tickets are $20. For information, please contact the Irving ISD Athletic Department at 972-600-5215.


Kids play bubble soccer at Mustang Park

Ten inflatable bubbles, two teams, unlimited laughter and multiple collisions between happy kids filled a fun afternoon.

These were some of the elements that made up the Mustang Park Recreational Center’s second annual Bubble Soccer game on Friday, March 24.

Teens and tweens, 10-14, were invited to play, eat and mingle with friends while improving their health. Recreational Specialist Andreas Ramierz took the opportunity to recognize the program is going and growing.

“This is the second time we did bubble soccer,” Ramierz said. “The first time was a big hit. The kids really enjoyed it, so we thought we’d bring it back. We had a pretty good crowd today, bigger than last year.

“We had programs for the Middle School Series, but it was mainly dinner and a movie. We wanted to have them interact and do something a little more active. We did research and looked at different trends that were popular that kids love to do. Then we as a staff began bouncing ideas off of each other. We all agreed on bubble soccer.”

Not only did the kids play five on five bubble soccer with each game lasting five minutes long, they also played other games. One game in particular they created themselves.

“They also played Sharks and Minnows,” said Terrance Woodson, who started out doing events with Bubble Soccer USA before becoming owner of the company. “The same as you play in the swimming pool, but you have to get knocked over in order to become a shark. We came up with this new game; they call it Capture the King. Each team has to protect their king. The first team to knock down the other team’s king wins.”

Bubble soccer gives those children who might not be athletically talented a chance to compete.

“I enjoy seeing the kids happy about bubble soccer,” Woodson said. “You can have kids who might not be athletic, might not get a chance to participate in many sports but will end up loving this. For example, there might be that big kid who doesn’t get to play basketball or other sports because he can’t really shoot, or throw a ball, but he can dodge at his friends. He’s the type of kid who loves it here. There are a lot of different options for kids, and they seem to really have fun doing it.”

Mahya Hemani (10) attends Las Colinas Elementary. As soon as she stepped into the bubble, she immediately remembered that she was built Ford tough, so she didn’t dodge challengers.

“I was like, ‘oh yeah,’” Mahya said with excitement. “It felt good to knock the other kids down but not once did they knock me down. They couldn’t knock me down because I was pretty balanced. I liked bouncing and hitting the other teams. The most challenging part was not being able to see the ball because the bubble was so big, but I didn’t give up. I really could only use my leg strength. Once I got the hang of it, I was able to help my team progress.”

The next Middle School Series will be in the fall, where Ramirez and her staff will provide an escape room activity.

“Back in January we did an escape room with a Riddle Batman theme,” Ramirez said. “We made a whole room out of it, where the kids had to solve riddles and locks. It was a good time, and we want to bring it back this fall. We aren’t too sure what the theme will be yet, but we do hope to have a great outcome.”

Nimitz bowling competes at state

The Boys bowling team competed at the state tournament this past weekend.

Freshmen Tommy Snipes and Lane Thompson bowled high scores of 235 and 224 respectively. The boys bowled well and ended placing 23rd in state.

Lane Thompson bowled in single completion and placed 58th.  The coaches are very proud of these young men look forward to more accomplishments next season.

Pictured are seniors Gerardo Herrera and Travis Snipes, junior Stephen Torres, and freshmen Billy Snipes. Tommy Snipes and Lane Thompson.  


Young golfers compete in Volunteers of America Texas Shootout

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) continued its tradition of offering exemptions in its professional tournament to amateur female golfers playing at the high school and college levels. The Volunteers of America Texas Shootout provides these young athletes the exciting opportunity to play alongside their idols in the actual LPGA tournament with the two lowest scoring participants from each category earning the exemptions.

The shootout tournament was held at the Las Colinas Country Club on Wednesday, March 15 as competitors from all across the country and beyond came to participate.

“Back when this tournament came to Texas, they wanted to create a unique aspect to it,” said Kristy Knutt, Tournament Director for the Volunteers of America North Texas Shootout. “They decided four of their amateur exemptions into the official event would be through a high school and college shootout. This event has been held annually over the past four years, and we grant exemptions into the tournament. The four top finishers today will actually get to play in the official LPGA event, alongside their role models in the golfing world.”

Knutt spoke about her organization’s relationship with the Las Colinas Country Club, a venue that has traditionally hosted both the Volunteer Shootout and the LPGA Tournament.

“It’s great having a partner that’s, one, willing to take on this event, because we do take over their course,” Knutt said. “Not just during tournament week, but also for ancillary events such as this. Their membership and their staff here have welcomed us with open arms every year that we have been here. They’re an incredible staff, and we’re extremely grateful to have them to work with.”

Mike Sherburne, a volunteer who helps caddy for some of the girls in the tournament, talked about the Volunteers of America Texas Shootout.

“I started caddying sixteen years ago for one of my best clients in banking,” Sherburne said. “His daughter got really good at golf at thirteen. Dads don’t make very good caddies, so I caddied for his daughter since she was thirteen to 26 and went on tour. After college, at 21, she went on tour, and I couldn’t travel with her year round. Then, through that, I started meeting all the young kids’ parents, back and forth. I picked three or four close friends with kids that want some help. Now I just go around the country helping kids.”

Knutt was glad to be able to connect the winning athletes in the qualifier with the professional golfers in the LPGA Tournament.

“It’s great, just being able to connect them to that opportunity and to give them the chance,” Knutt said. “These girls step up and they embrace it. I don’t think I could’ve done it at their age. I know I’m terrified to get out there, and I’m a grown woman. But, these girls are just awe inspiring in how they just embrace the opportunity, play their hearts out, and really make it a competition all around.”

Knutt advises anyone interested in golf to head to the LPGA tournament in April.

“Come out to the event in April,” Knutt said. “Come see what the LPGA is all about, and what the Texas Shootout has to offer. I promise you, once you’re out here and you see the engagement and dedication of the players, you’ll be amazed and you’ll be hooked. I know I was.”

Gina Kim,16, a Chapel Hill High School Student from North Carolina who won second place in the High School Category, shared her advice to young golfers who might want to participate in similar events.

“Definitely have a lot of patience,” she said. “I feel like a lot of people tend to give up on the sport very easily. I just want to tell them to keep practicing and to keep working. The hard work will definitely pay off sooner or later.”

The additional exemption winners include the following:

Eun Jeong Seong, 17, senior, Youngpa Girls High School, Seoul, South Korea

Maddie McCrary (from Wylie, TX), 21, junior, Oklahoma State University

Anne Chen, 15, freshman, Clements High School, Sugar Land, TX.

Irving Tennis Classic brings top competition to area

Photo: Aljaz Bedene returns a serve in the final match of the singles competition in the Irving Tennis Classic. Bedene would go on to win the match. /Photo by Ariel Graham

Tennis pros were embroiled in world-class competition during the Irving Tennis Classic hosted at the Four Seasons Resort and Club in Las Colinas from March 13 to 19.

The tournament has been held at the Four Seasons since its start in 2012, and was sponsored by both the City of Irving and BMW Dallas. The Irving Tennis Classic is also part of the 2017 Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger Tour. The tour consists of over 150 different tournaments all over the world, but the Irving Tennis Classic has always been one of the primary stops on the tour. This year, more than 90 professional tennis players from over 25 different countries competed not only for the chance to improve their rankings, but the $150,000 prize money as well.

Players faced off against teach other on the courts all week long, until the competition culminated with the finals on Sunday, March 19. The Doubles Finals were held first, with Oliver Marach of Austria and Fabrice Martin of France facing off against Marcus Daniell of New Zealand and Marcelo Demoliner of Brazil. Marach and Martin were top seed going into the finals and were considered by many the favorites to win the doubles tournament. However, Daniell and Demoliner pulled ahead, winning the first set 6-3. In the second set, Marcel and Martin were hot on Daniel and Demoliner’s trail, matching the two game for game, but Daniell and Demoliner finally pulled off the upset, winning the set 6-4, and seizing the championship.

Following the awards ceremony, Marcus Daniell said the victory couldn’t have come at a better time.

“We lost a really close final a couple of weeks ago, and this is our first tournament since then,” Daniell said. “To come out and play a final, play well and win it, it’s a great turnaround for us.”

Daniell added that the week had been an uphill struggle for him and his partner, Marcelo Demoliner.

“We had two very close matches before the final where we had to turn it around after losing the first set,” Daniell said. “The level [of play] wasn’t quite as high as we would’ve liked. But today, we both played really well and we jived together from the start.”

He also had some respectful words for his top seeded opponents.

“The guys we played against were a very good, very experienced team, so to beat them the way we did, we’re both really stoked,” Daniell said.

The final match of the tournament pitted Aljaz Bedene of Great Britain against Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan. Bedene had a good start in the first set, winning against Kukushkin 6-4. But Kukushkin came roaring back in the second set, earning a hard-fought win of 3-6 against Bedene. In the last set, however, Bedene dominated, winning the set 6-1 and earning his second Irving Tennis Classic championship title. This was Bedene’s third year to play in the Irving Classic. He won the finals in 2015, and came in 2nd place last year. But with this win, Bedene became the first two-time champion of the Irving Tennis Classic.

“I played some good tennis over the week, five days in a row. It wasn’t easy, but I managed to do it somehow,” Bedene said, following his win. “I’m really happy with my performance, especially today; it was really tough. It’s not easy to play in this heat and the wind, but I handled it well.”

However, the players didn’t have long to relish their victories. Immediately following the tournament, Bedene, Daniell and Demoliner boarded a plane for their next destination: The Miami Open.

North Lake College wins NJCAA Region V Basketball Championship

Photo: North Lake College won the NJCAA Region V Division III Championship after beating Richland College 72-60. /Courtesy photo

The North Lake College (NLC) Men’s Basketball team won the NJCAA Region V Division III Championship by defeating Richland College 72-60 in the regional tournament at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch, TX on Saturday, Feb. 25.

North Lake will continue to play in the NJCAA Division III National Tournament at the UCR Regional Sports Center in Rochester, MN during March 16-18. The NLC Blazers are two-time national champions with wins in 2006 and 2008.


SOURCE Dallas County Community College District

Football players honored for dedication, loyalty

Photo: IBFA boys receive their new football jackets, a decades old tradition. /Photo by Shaniqua Brown

The Irving Boys Football Association hosted its Five Year Jacket Ceremony in the Senter Park Recreational Center on Sunday, Feb. 26.

“Anybody who plays five years or more in tackle football is eligible to get a jacket,” David Martinez, Vice President of IBFA, said. “If the parents have their child here for five years or more, it’s just a way for us to say thanks for their dedication and loyalty. They could go anywhere else to play, but they choose to play for our league.”

Martinez has a long personal history with the IBFA.

“I’ve been here eleven years,” Martinez said. “My last year playing for the league was back in 1994, and I received a jacket too. To see this keep transpiring year after year makes me feel like something great comes from this organization.”

Although the IBFA is based in Irving, boys from all over the Dallas/Fort Worth area choose to play for the league, which consists of 34 different football teams.

“There are boys from Euless, Carrolton, West Dallas, and Oak Cliff,” Martinez said. “What really brings the boys from other cities is when the parents know a coach from Irving. We have an amazing coaching staff here, and the parents want their children to be a part of that.”

“Another reason [parents choose IBFA] is because of the convenience,” Sean Price, head coach of the Major Wildcats team, said. “There is not a lot of traveling like there is with some other leagues. Here everything is central. Everything is in one location. You don’t have to pay to get into games. I have a boy on my team this year that came from Denton and a few boys from Duncanville.”

During the ceremony, boys received their jackets with accomplished pride from the President of IBFA, Cory Denecola.

“We are out here to help these young men learn respect and the fundamentals of football,” Denecola said.

“I’ve been with the organization for about four years now. I first got my son involved. Then I became a coach, and from there, I became the President of the league. I’ve enjoyed every step of helping these young men.”

IBFA player Cesar Lopez received his jacket after playing in the IBFA for six years.

“I was happy and grateful to receive my jacket,” Lopez said. “It shows how long I have been playing, and it shows the work that I’ve put into this organization.”

IBFA player Colton Panther also received his jacket after playing in the IBFA for six years.

“It was exciting,” Panther said. “I want to thank my parents for putting me into this position and driving me forward throughout my football career.”

Every season, IBFA recruits boys to join their league, between the ages of three and twelve.

“We are an organization that loves football and just want to get young boys involved in football,” Martinez said. “A lot of parents don’t even know that we have a league out here, and they actually live in Irving. Sometimes we will go to Wal-Mart and see parents with their boys, and we will try to get them involved in football. We try to get flyers passed out to the elementary schools, because we want to start them out when they are young and have them grow within the league.”