LONG BEACH (News4usonline) – The Los Angeles Chargers held their first Nike ’11-On’ high school football competition on Sunday, July 11. The all-day event at Long Beach Poly High School turned out to be a hit with local high school football players.
Eight local high school football teams showed up to participate and gain some football knowledge from Chargers staff and players. The eight participating high schools were Long Beach Poly, Santa Ana, Lakewood, Western, Santa Fe, Huntington Beach, San Clemente, and Long Beach Wilson.
The event began with players receiving some encouraging words from Chargers head coach Brandon Staley.
“This is a historic place that you’re competing at,” Staley said. “You guys have to take advantage of moments like this.”
Soon after, teams began to get busy with skill challenge drills, including strength drills for linemen, route drills for receivers and passing drills for quarterbacks. Drills and events throughout the day were held on three different fields starting with lineman training and challenges and concluding with a seven on seven tournament for all schools.
Parents, friends and family withstood the blistering sun to show support for their kids in this very special opportunity to work with professionals in a sport they love. Every completed pass and play was met with cheers from those who came to watch the event.
Players from the eight participating schools seemed to revel in the atmosphere and were excited at the opportunity to compete and learn from the best. Landon Legarda, a running back at Western High School, said he was fully aware of how special this event was for him and his teammates.
“It’s big for us to go to tournaments being a smaller school, especially something involving a team we love like the Chargers,” Legarda said. “I’m just looking forward to having fun with my brothers on the field.”
Local food vendors provided food and drink for those at the event and school staff was always nearby to help make sure everything was running smoothly.
Among those attending the football competition was three-time Super Bowl winner Willie McGinest. McGinest came to the event to show support, give advice to the players and take pictures with anyone who came to ask for one. In his opening remarks, Staley made sure to let all the players know McGinest was the perfect person to seek out advice from during the course of the day.
The look on the face of Staley was one of happiness and gratitude. Among the topics Staley talked about to the camp’s participants was his climb up the coaching ladder. For the Chargers first-year head coach that ladder includes doing a stint at the community college level before moving up to collegiate football and then making it to the NFL.
If that wasn’t enough of an inspiration, Staley also spoke about his battle with cancer, his family’s battle with cancer and how he had to work hard to get to the position he was in today. Staley was just as excited as the players were to be out on the field that day.
“It brings you back to when you were a kid,” Staley said. “This is where you want to be, a part of the game.”
Staley made it clear to the student-athletes involved how important it was to stay focused throughout the day and to be ready not just for what is to come during the event, but with everything after as well.
“You got to be present today,” Staley said. “It’s hard for people to be consistent, to be on at all times. You have to be ready for everything to come.”
The Nike ‘11-on’ event brought students, family, friends, pro athletes and coaches all to one field to enjoy and embrace a sport and culture centered on hard work, competition, and fighting alongside your teammates.
It was an unforgettable experience for every student involved and a beautiful way for the Chargers to help give back to the next generation of football players.
Featured Image Caption: Los Angeles Chargers head coach Brandon Staley (right) converse with former Long Beach Poly High, USC Trojans, and New England Patriots alum Willie McGinest on Sunday, July 11, 2021. Photo by Daniel Diaz for News4usonline