BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — It’s a unique program that’s changing the lives of inner city kids. Through the unconventional sport of lacrosse, students in the city of Birmingham are earning athletic and academic scholarships to college. When we stopped by one of the practices for the Birmingham Magic City Lacrosse team, we found some inspired kids and a coach motivated to recruit others.
15 year old Jarvis Westery is one of 15 players on the boys team. They practice under the Birmingham skyline at railroad park every Monday and Wednesday evening during this off season. Jarvis says, “I just love lacrosse because it teaches you so many things and it’s a great sport.”
18 year old Blake Avery said people are surprised to see African American kids playing Lacrosse. “I get that a lot actually. People say you must play football and I say I play lacrosse and they’re like what is that and I have to explain it to them.”
Their coach Yancy Williams explained to them that he’s been able to use lacrosse as an unconventional path to get a number of students to college. Yancy cited their statistics since 2008, “Over 24 lacrosse scholarships in the last 7 years and over 36 academic scholarships in the last seven to eight years.”
It was in 2008 that Williams started his lacrosse teams. They play in the greater Birmingham Youth Lacrosse Association. It’s open to any student from any school. Yancy added, “We’re the only all black, African American team in the southeast.”
Two years ago, the boys team lost in the state championship game by just one point, but they’re scoring big in the game of life. Just ask young Jarvis. “I am learning how to be a better man and how to treat people right and fair and how to never give up.”
Now, Coach Williams is looking for more students who are willing to let lacrosse take them all the way to college and beyond. Coach is recruiting new members for his team. Here’s what he asked of his players: “What I want each one of you guys to do is please get your brothers, sisters, cousins and different ones to come on out.”
If you would like more information about Birmingham Magic City Lacrosse such as how your child can join the team, contact Coach Williams at 205-222-4854.