SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Just a rising junior at Savannah High School, Mikeal Byrd is already making an impact in the community.
At a time when middle school football workouts have joined everything else on the sideline, these kids were able to get back on the field.
“We’re just trying to do something for the kids because with everything that’s going on, they can’t really play ball.”
At least not until this week, when 7-on-7 touch-tackle games started in Daffin Park - in a new league organized by a 17-year old.
Coach Keal's 7 V 7 League is a way for Mikeal Byrd to create a competitive outlet for kids just a few years younger than him whose football seasons have been put on hold by the pandemic.
“We had an all-star 7 v 7 game right here in Daffin Park. We had the game and the kids really loved it and they were like ‘Coach Keal, Coach Keal, why don’t you start a 7 v 7 league,‘” said Mikeal Byrd, started Coach Keal’s 7v7 league.
He put word out on a youth sports page he produces on social media and soon had enough players for four 10-man teams that will play games Wednesday nights in Daffin until their seasons resume.
Mikael will coach one of the teams.
“I always had a passion for coaching, ever since I was in middle school. And finally, my 10th grade year came and I said, why not start out young and start involving yourself with the community and doing things for the athletes in Savannah.”
Mikael played football in middle school and as a freshman at Savannah High before deciding to go into management, and service, with a familiar inspiration.
“One of my coaches, I follow him around. Coach Tim Jordan, I follow him around and I saw how he does a lot of things in the community and he kind of gave me the passion to coach like he does.”
Which on Wednesday nights in Daffin Paerk will mean coaching more than football.
“I hope to share with them a lot, life skills. Not just life skills, but things you have to do in the world.”
Mikeal has not decided how long his season will be, but he hopes to keep games going at least until middle schools return to football practice.