There are plenty of sports programs available for the area’s youth to participate in.
But Daryl Carter is starting something different.
Carter, who has over 20 years of coaching experience in Kenosha and Racine, is starting the Urban Sports Academy, in conjunction with the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha.
The goal of this new program, Carter said in a recent phone interview, is “to provide a safe and rewarding outlet for the inner-city youth of Racine and Kenosha.” The program’s athletic offerings will first feature football for age groups 7U and 9U, with games beginning Aug. 8.
The football teams will compete in the Neighborhood Community Sports League, based out of Milwaukee, and Carter said the Urban Sports Academy will include track and field and girls fastpitch softball, in addition to football. He said the fastpitch softball team will be part of the Beckum-Stapleton League in Milwaukee, while he has plans to get the track team into the Milwaukee Mustangs Track Club.
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But athletics are just part of the program’s itinerary.
As Carter said, “Homework and being a student-athlete is the No. 1 priority. We get enough athletes. We need student-athletes.”
Therefore, Carter said the academy will include mandatory homework sessions, but that’s not all.
Additionally, he will be implementing meditation and yoga into the program, something he said he’s researched the great benefits of and has come to view as a great tool for everyone. That’s especially true for school-aged kids and even more so for inner-city youth who may experience more stressors in life than others.
“We’ll be meditating weekly, as well as doing yoga,” said Carter, who works as an educational support professional at EBSOLA in Kenosha Unified School District. “I looked up the benefits of yoga and meditation, and I was blown back. I’m like, ‘Wow, I should’ve been doing this myself a long time ago.’ It lowers your anxiety, it helps with emotional regulation and concentration.
“I’ve been working at elementary schools and high schools for the last 20 years. They need some (help) with concentration. Meditation, it improves your sleep, anxiety, it regulates emotions, and empathy. We all need to meditate, because this world needs more empathy.”
Carter said he’s coached at Racine St. Catherine’s, Racine Case and Bradford over the years, and football success is part of the family business.
Carter was a member of the 1988 WIAA Division-1 state champion Racine Park football team and his sons, Keenan and DJ, were key members of St. Catherine’s 2018 WIAA Division-4 state title team.
“State championships run in my blood,” Carter said.
But he’s happy to coach other sports, too, including basketball and soccer at EBSOLA. He joked about recently coaching his first soccer match.
“I’ve never coached soccer a day in my life,” Carter said. “It was the most intense event of my life, and we won, 4-3. I still haven’t come down yet.”
As for the Urban Sports Academy, Carter said the football team will be playing its games at Lincoln Park in Milwaukee, but the team will practice in Racine at Roosevelt Park, 601 Caron Butler Dr., and in Kenosha at Petzke Park where Dream Playground is, 2820 14th Ave.
Additionally, Carter said, by joining the Neighborhood Community Sports League, the football team is automatically signed up for that league’s events, which include a youth clinic on April 23 and a 7-on-7 tournament on May 22, run by area coaches.
Also, Carter said the team will participate this summer in the Racine Fourth of July Parade and a Rally for Peace in Milwaukee in July.
Essentially, it’s all about keeping kids busy.
“What I used to tell my wife is, if you don’t get them involved with something, they’re going to get involved in something,” Carter said. “… I feel as though children feed off of what you give them. So I give them a lot.”
Registration for the Urban Sports Academy football team is already underway and can be done at the Urban League of Racine and Kenosha, 718 N. Memorial Dr., in Racine, or by calling Carter at 262-752-7403.
The fee is $125 for Urban League members and $175 for non-members and covers equipment and travel all season.
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