Chicago Youth Football And Cheerleading Teams Raising Money to Attend National Championship

The Wolfpack youth football and cheerleading teams hope to raise at least $15,000

A youth football and cheerleading team on Chicago's South Side is in need of at least $15 thousand to be able to attend a national competition in Florida.

The Wolfpack, a 12U team from the city's Woodlawn neighborhood, won conference, states and regional championships this year. Although the community team qualified to compete in the National Youth Championship in Orlando, the team doesn't have the funds to travel.

"It's a desperate situation," Earnest Radcliffe, director of the South Side Wolfpack, told NBC 5 Friday evening. "We just found out we need deposit money for hotels by the 28th." 

The youth football players have spent months learning, playing hard and working toward their goals. 

"I want to play," said 12-year-old Leonard Gipson, Jr. "Because this is my family, and I know they need me..."

While the team has raised a few thousand dollars so far, much more is needed to support the two dozen players and coaching staff.

"We just need help," said Tonya Coleman, parent and Wolfpack cheerleading coach. "Our football program [is] in a high crime area, and no money here." 

Along with the football players, the youth cheerleading team hopes to raise enough money to attend their national championship in December. 

"Can you imagine if they win?," Coleman said. "They have a story to tell the rest of their life."

In a last ditch effort to raise money, the children will be fundraising Saturday morning at 87th Street and the Dan Ryan Expressway. 

Coach Radcliffe asks anyone interested in helping the team go to nationals call him at 773-567-4727.

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