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Benjamin Carey

By Steven Zaitz

The Northport Youth Football & Cheerleading Club held its Season Kickoff Jamboree for Cheerleading and Football on Monday, July 18, serving host to over 500 players, coaches, cheerleaders and parents.

The NPYFC, led by Long Island football coaching legend Benjamin Carey, is open to 5–11-year-old kids and was held at Bellerose Elementary School in East Northport. Despite on-and-off lighting and thunderstorms throughout the day, the weather conditions improved just in time for football and cheer drills to proceed unencumbered.

Carey, who has led the organization for 10 years, gave an inspirational keynote address, emphasizing the importance of football and its role in character development and the spirit of teamwork in young boys and girls. He also introduced former NFL player Golden Ukonu, who spoke about how he worked hard from his time at North Babylon High School, Nassau Community College and LIU Post to finally making it the pros as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans.

NPYFC is a privately owned non-profit corporation. The program works with youth of all socioeconomic backgrounds and skill levels who demonstrate an interest in football and cheerleading. The organization focuses on training, support and guidance; providing the resources needed to develop skills including but not limited to physical, social and emotional growth for both individual and team success. The program aims to teach its members grit, competitiveness, responsibility, self-discipline, hard work and sportsmanship as they proceed on their journey from adolescence to young adulthood. The organization offers financial support and stipends for disadvantaged talented youth who would like to participate in the program.

Each age group will play 8-10 games in the fall, and it boasts some of the best coaches on Long Island, state-of-the-art equipment, and teaches best practice techniques for football safety. Any child from Northport-East Northport, Commack, Harborfields and Elwood school districts are eligible to participate.