“We’re just trying to take it up a level,” Overton said of his event, scheduled for June 25 at Tracy High. “This year, I’m little bit nervous, because I have a high expectation. We had a lot of positive things that happened last year, and the response from the community and kids and their parents was real positive.”
The inaugural event at Tracy High last spring was a chance for young football players to meet some of the pro players Overton met through the Seattle Seahawks and the United Football League. His goal this year is to make it work as a benefit for youth programs.
“We set the bar a little bit higher this year, and there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll get there,” Overton said.
Overton started the event last year after he signed with the Seattle Seahawks. The NFL team dropped him from its roster shortly afterward, and Overton soon found a home with the UFL’s Omaha Nighthawks, where he will play again this year as a special teams center.
Overton has spent his time since the end of the UFL season back in Tracy and has helped Tracy High coach Matt Shrout run speed and conditioning drills for the Bulldog football team.
He teamed up with the Tracy High Athletics Boosters to plan this year’s one-day event. An admission fee will go back to the four youth football programs in town — the Cougars, the Buccaneers, Panther Youth Football and the Junior Bulldogs, formerly the Raiders.
Overton plans to have 20 fellow pro players. The NFL players from last year will return, plus players from the UFL, representing both his own team, the Omaha Nighthawks, and the Sacramento Mountain Lions.
Like last year’s, the day will begin with inspirational talks from players, move into a punt-pass-kick competition and include a football memorabilia auction and an autograph session with all of the pro players.
“It’s nice to have guys come out who are passionate about being involved with the community and donating their time. It’s something that they love to do, and they have a great time interacting with the kids,” Overton said.
He’s worked to get other organizations involved, too. People who buy adult-child ticket combinations will also get two-for-one adult and child tickets to Sacramento Mountain Lions games. Details haven’t been confirmed, but Overton aims to have a special event when the Nighthawks visit Sacramento for the opening game of the 2011 UFL season on Aug. 14 at Sacramento State.
Other partners in the event include the Pediatric Hydrocephalus Foundation and the Marshall Walker Jr. Heart Screening Foundation. Shrout said the hydrocephalus group can educate people about head injuries and concussions, and the Walker foundation focuses on heart health for youngsters.
Pros 2 Youth
WHEN: 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 25, a Saturday
WHERE: Wayne Schneider Stadium, Tracy High, 315 E. 11th St.
DETAILS: Tracy High alumnus and Omaha Nighthawks long-snapper Matt Overton will host his second Pros 2 Youth day. Kids will get T shirts, and families who buy adult-child combination tickets can also receive vouchers good for free children’s admission to Sacramento Mountain Lions games.
COST: $10, $5 for children age 12 and younger
INFO: Matt Shrout, 925-7404 or firstname.lastname@example.org; Laura Simon, 403-7012 or email@example.com; or Matt Overton, 505-0272.