Four years in the making, the Barrigada Crusaders youth football team is nearly ready to hit the field - but they’ll have to wait.
Forced to forfeit their first two Triple J Guam National Youth Football Federation season games - Saturday, Aug. 17 against the Raiders, and Saturday, Aug. 24 against the Southern Cowboys - due to not having received their equipment - the newest team will have to wait at least one more week. The Crusaders, for the first time, will likely hit the field Saturday, Aug. 31 against the Steelers.
The newest franchise, joining eight other organizations, is coached by Brian McGill, Reggie Baylor, Dave Delgado, Cindy Corpuz and Isaiah McGill.
Rolani Taitingfong, Matua Division team mom, said the biggest challenge has been “just getting everybody started and getting the ball rolling. … It’s not easy. It takes a lot of our players and parents working together.”
Before the birth of the Crusaders, Barrigada’s absence in the GNYFF weighed heavily on Brian McGill. Not sitting idly by, he chose to do something about it.
“I looked at the needs in Barrigada, the village had sports teams for every sport but football,” McGill said. “We’ve been talking to the mayor for four years now. It’s great to finally get the program started.”
McGill, a fixture in the community, through his nonprofit GameTime, has brought sports and recreation to the central village youth.
GameTime, a nonprofit aimed at minimizing suicide, allows children a chance at building self-esteem through sporting activities.
“We want to continue to use this program as an outlet to help families deal with issues of suicide and mental health,” McGill said. “It’s a blessing to get the kids out here and bring them all together,” he added, having completed a successful intersquad jamboree last Saturday.
At the Jamboree, made possible by hardworking parents, coaches and politicians, and the Raiders generously donating their field, it was football as usual.
“I like to hit people,” said Aaleyah “Grandma” Masga, an eighth-grader at Untalan Middle School. “We motivate each other and tell them ‘they can do it,’ and keep going.’ We are always cheering each other on.”
Cae’ahi Aflague, 9, said, “I like having fun, and playing with my friends.”