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Philadelphia Daily News from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania • Page 3

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
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TEAM PAYERS North Philly squads show that there's no uniform way to start fresh "i DON'T KNOW if you noticed your surroundings on your way here," HELEN UBINAS ft coach Vincent James said when we met at the Rivera Recreation Center at North 5th Street and West Allegheny Avenue the other night, "but it's not a great neighborhood and there's not exactly a lot for kids to do." That's one reason James and his fellow Fairhill Owl Youth Association coaches, all of whom grew up in North Philadelphia, wanted to bring football to their neighborhood. Starting a team is never easy money is always an issue, you never know if kids will show up, if parents will step up and volunteer. But even for a new team, the Fairhill Owls have had a rough go ofit. There were the doubts spoken and unspoken when a group of home-grown coaches wanted to start a team: "You want to start a football team where? What opposing team is going to want to bring their kids here for games?" There was the neighborhood field that was 5 inches too short. Councilwoman Maria Quinones-Sanchez saved the day when she arranged to have the team play for free at nearby Edison High School.

And there's the ongoing uniform fiasco that threatens the future of the team. Yet, even with all those obsta- cles, one of the boys teams made it to the America Youth Football Pennsylvania Elite championships. The cheerleading squad not only grabbed a few trophies at their October cheerleading tournament, they are on their way today to compete at the American Youth Cheer regionals. "There's no way not to be proud of these kids," said association president Richard James. Not even a year old and the spunky Fairhill Owls have already proven themselves.

Gotta love it. What I don't love is the mess with their uniforms. The team paid a local vendor, who worked with an overseas manufacturer, about $11,000 for football and cheerleading uniforms, plus some extras like war-mup suits and bags. The coaches and parents raised the money with lots of fundraisers and registration fees. They got the uniforms right before the season started in September, and quickly realized the numbers on the boys' jerseys were too low to be seen on the field.

The cheerleading uniforms were just a mess. The style and material FAIRHILL OWLS YOUTH ASSOCIATION See UBINAS Page 15 Despite uniform setbacks, the cheer squad is competing at the American Youth cheer regionals. PHILADELPHIA DAILY NEWS WEEKEND Sunday, November 16, 2014 Page 3.

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