SAGINAW— Urban Sports League is partnering with Saginaw Valley State University to launch a baseball and softball program for Saginaw youth on Saturday Sept. 9, 2017 at Unity Park 1400 N. 14th St., Saginaw, MI.
The program is designed for boys and girls ages 6-8 and will feature 14 sessions where youth will learn the fundamentals of baseball and softball. SVSU head baseball coach Chris Ebright and his players will lead the clinics, which run from September to October.
“We are super excited about the launch of Urban Sports League in Saginaw,” said Delores McKinney, a Saginaw, MI 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.”
Urban Sports League will continue the Saginaw program in April 2018 with spring clinics and summer league games in June, July and August next year.
Saginaw isn’t the first city to enjoy the excitement of USL youth baseball. USL held baseball clinics and a summer league in Baltimore for some 40 children in partnership with Coppin State University. Detroit, MI will also join the USL league this year. McKinney plans to expand the league to five additional cities in 2018, including Charlotte, NC; Durham, NC; Jackson, MS; Louisville, KY and Tallahassee, FL.
“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 has 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.
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shows that disadvantaged youth when involved with positive sports programs have better social skills, are less shy and withdrawn and less likely to experiment with chemical substances.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, judgement, giving back and sportsmanship.
The program in Saginaw requires a $30 refundable deposit for each child. The fee is refunded once the child successfully attends 85 percent of the scheduled clinics, practices and games.
The Sept. 9th clinic in Saginaw begins at 9 a.m. and parents who want to register their child can call 833-USL-BALL or visit www.urbansportsleague.org. The schedule is as follows:
9:00 a.m.-9:50 a.m.— Registration
10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.— Clinics
11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. – Food and community fun
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 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.