Baltimore, Md. – The Urban Sports League (USL) will begin year two of its pilot program to bring baseball and softball to urban youth in the Baltimore community. Working with our partner Coppin State University, USL will kick off the 2017 season on September 9th, at 12:00 noon, at Frederick Douglass High School. During September, USL will also launch identical youth sports programming in Saginaw, Michigan, with our partner Saginaw Valley State University, and in Detroit, Michigan, with our partner Macomb Community College.
The program is designed for boys and girls ages 6-8 and will feature 14 clinics where youth will learn the fundamentals of baseball and softball. Coppin State baseball coach Sherman Reed, SVSU baseball coach Chris Ebright, and MCC head Coach Cliff Howe along with their players will lead the instructional sessions which run from September thru October.
“We are super excited about the launch of Urban Sports League in Saginaw,” said Delores McKinney, a Saginaw native, co-founder of USL and CEO of Eminence Group, LLC. “The game of baseball teaches kids the importance of team work and instills confidence that lasts a lifetime. We are looking to transform lives, families, and communities with local leadership and renovated, dedicated playing fields in each host city.”
Last year, USL held baseball clinics and a summer league in Baltimore for some 40 children in partnership with Coppin State University. McKinney plans to expand the league to five additional cities in 2018, including Charlotte, N.C.; Durham, N.C.; Jackson, Ms.; Louisville, Ky., and Tallahassee, Fl.
“We look forward to an exciting year-two with the kids of the Urban Sports League. Our student-athletes took to the youngsters very well and look forward to an even more rewarding experience with kids this fall. My entire coaching staff who assisted with the camp last year returns this fall which will help ensure that things run without a glitch. Last year’s inaugural camp was an absolute blast for everyone involved,” said Reed.
Reed added, “with all the challenges and past unrest that have taken place on the west side of our city recently, the Urban Sports League has been a shining light,” said Sherman Reed, head baseball coach at Coppin State. “I’m impressed by the strong attendance and support of the parents. The youngsters remain focused and enthusiastic and our participating student athletes are having a blast with the kids. Coppin State Baseball is privileged to be taking part in this very worthwhile initiative.”
Detroit area director Norm Taylor stated, “I believe the mission and vision of the USL is the right program for any urban area in this country because the program not only revitalizes the interest and participation in baseball/softball for the child but it also incorporates the community. Building communities in urban America and using baseball as a tool is a unique approach.”
“It’s an avenue in which we can help the youth develop themselves,” said Marshall Thomas, the retired Saginaw High School athletic director and basketball coach who helped bring USL to Saginaw. “I think we’ve got another tool to keep the kids busy. And I like the aspect of college coaches with their players coming in because they will be teaching character and the things that you need to be successful at an early age.”
Urban Sports League plans to expand to 88 inner cities across the country. The league targets communities that are disproportionately impacted in areas such as education, poverty, and other socioeconomic disparities.
Taylor added, “I know of no youth athletic program in Detroit that focuses on incorporating the community as a vital entity. Encouraging the community to embrace baseball/softball will give many more kids an opportunity to go outside and enjoy the American pastime at very little cost at the same time while bringing the community together! That’s why I believe that the USL program is the right program and best approach to truly revitalize baseball in Detroit as well as urban America!”
Research shows that disadvantaged youth, when involved with positive sports programs, have better social skills, are less shy and withdrawn and less likely to experiment with chemical substances.
Baltimore mother Dwan Norwood said the USL program gave her two 9-year-old sons higher self-esteem.
“It gives them something to look forward to doing,” Norwood said. “It made them have a love for a sport that they never even thought of. And considering the amount of murders we’re having in this city, it’s really good to have the kids out of the way.”
Urban Sports League partners with public schools and local colleges and universities to grow the baseball program. USL utilizes baseball as a vehicle to teach 10 core values: honesty, respect, perseverance, integrity, confidence, teamwork, responsibility, judgment, giving back and sportsmanship.
The Sept. 9th clinic in Saginaw begins at 9 am, Detroit, 10 am and Baltimore begins at 12:00 pm. Parents who want to register their child can call 833-USL-BALL or visit www.urbansportsleague.org.
9am – 9:50am — Registration
10am-11:30am — Clinics
11:30 am – 1 pm – Food and community fun
10am – 10:50am — Registration
11am-12:15pm — Clinics
12:30 pm – 2pm – Food and community fun
12pm – 12:50am — Registration
1:15pm-2:30pm — Clinics
2:30 pm – 4pm – Food and community fun
ABOUT URBAN SPORTS LEAGUE
National Urban Sports League (USL) 501(c)3 was created to provide youth sports programs in the top 88 urban cities throughout the United States. The league for boys is the Urban Baseball League, and the league for girls is the Urban Softball League. Each league will begin with ages 6U and 8U, growing yearly until 17U. USL partners with inner city public schools and local colleges & universities to provide each child with high caliber instructional training for our National Pastime. The league was founded by Delores L. McKinney and Lou Presutti as a national effort to give inner city youth the opportunity to play baseball and softball and to keep this great American tradition alive in our urban communities.