ORLANDO, Fla., July 14, 2020 (Newswire.com) - The East Orlando Preds, the nation’s largest AAU Youth Football and Cheer Club, has always been committed to the health, safety, and the positive development of its athletes and families. For that reason, the Preds have made the very difficult decision to not participate in the 2020 Fall football and cheer season due to the negative effects of COVID-19 in its community and the country.
Since being established in 2013, the East Orlando Preds football and cheer programs have had tremendous success. The Preds football program has captured five FYFCL Super Bowl championships, including back-to-back 14U undefeated championship seasons (2018, 2019), and have played in a total of 10 FYFCL Super Bowls. In 2019, the Preds 14U football team finished 17-0, AAU National Football Champions, and were featured Super Bowl Sunday on Fox News’ Fox & Friends telecast on its South Beach Super Bowl set. Today, more than 15 Preds student-athletes are playing or entering their first year of collegiate athletics, while another 10 high school players have current collegiate sports scholarship offers.
On the cheer mat, the Preds Cheer Program has dominated youth cheer in the Central Florida region with over 50 first-place finishes, and over 100 second- and third-place finishes over the past six seasons, including being named Grand, Spirit or Arena champion over 25 times. In the past two years, the Preds cheer squads have won three UYFL National Cheer Championships at the 14U and 12U levels.
While the Preds love to compete and are committed to excellence on and off the football field and cheer mat, they have always done so with health and safety at the forefront.
"Unfortunately, COVID-19 is having a devastating and disproportional impact on multi-generational and lower-income households," says East Orlando Preds President Shawn Seipler. "Cases of diabetes, asthma, obesity, heart disease, and hypertension exist at higher rates in these at-risk communities. Individuals with these underlying conditions have the greatest health risk to COVID-19. With so little information about the long-term impacts of the virus and the number of cases and infection rates rising among younger individuals who can carry the virus, we do not feel it is prudent to have youth football and cheer this fall. We can wait until early 2021, after proven treatments and a potential vaccine are available, to do our part to stop the spread and to keep our families safe.”
Shawn Seipler, President of the East Orlando Preds and Head Coach of the 14U football team, is also the founder and CEO of Clean the World, a global impact, social enterprise that distributes soap and provides WASH education to at-risk populations across the U.S. and worldwide. Clean the World has been a leading organization distributing soap and hygiene kits globally during the COVID-19 pandemic. Six members of the East Orlando Preds Board of Directors are Clean the World team members, including the reigning Arena Bowl Champion Head Coach Rob Keefe, who serves as the Preds football commissioner.
"When you see what the NFL, college football and other professional sports leagues are doing around the country right now in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 with tremendous resources at their disposal, it just did not feel right for us to proceed this year, knowing we do not have the same resources and medical experts in place to protect our families,” said Head Coach Rob Keefe. "We encourage all youth football and sports organizations to take a hard look at what they are accomplishing right now by attempting to have fall sports. It may be time for us to concentrate on delivering safe classroom education while finding healthy alternatives to mental and physical engagement for our youth that incorporates the necessary precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19."
The East Orlando Preds, now the proud feeder program to Colonial High School, will be back and will proceed with the 2021 season when things are safe to do so.
About the East Orlando Preds:
The East Orlando Preds is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and the largest A.A.U Sports Youth Football and Cheer Club in the country. With athletes ranging in age from 5–15 years old, the Preds are designed to introduce, cultivate, and enhance players’ skill and passion for football and cheerleading. The Preds are committed to winning and excellence through positive coaching, encouragement, and youth development. We strive to ensure the success and growth of our young men and women in every facet of their lives, including in the sports arena, and to create leaders, role models, and positive contributors in our communities.
Source: East Orlando Preds