Next Level Football

Next Level Football College Prep Program


Next Level Football is a unique college-prep program open to Brockton students in grades 8 through 11 who play football and are interested in pursuing collegiate athletics after graduating from high school. The program was launched in January 2015 and has been growing steadily ever since -- not only teaching teens about football, but also preparing them for the rigors of college academics and also teaches valuable life skills like respect, professionalism, and accountability. Through the continued volunteer leadership of Macey Russell, Mike Williams and Gene Marrow this program provides life-changing mentorship experiences and college preparation to young men ages 13-18.

Studies show that teens who are involved in competitive sports perform academically higher than their peers. The Next Level College Prep Football Program at the Boys & Girls Club of Brockton strives to teach the youth of Brockton the ABC's of football, of academia, and of life. With an ADA Disadvantage Index score of 9 out of a maximum of 10, Brockton youth are facing unique challenges, including gang affiliation, violence, and substance abuse. 

The Next Level College Prep Football Program started in 2015 with 15 members and has quickly grown to nearly 50 members. Our program not only teaches teens about football, it prepares them for the rigors of college academics and also teaches valuable life skills like respect, professionalism, and accountability. Over a 12-week period participants learn about the academic expectations at the college level and how to be a role model in their community. Football may be what gets out teens through the doors but they leave with the drive, desire, and skill set they need to achieve off the field as well. 

Each year our young athletes attend Saturday morning classes each week from late January through late April. They come because of a desire to excel athletically and academically. After class, student-athletes participate in a two hour workout to become physically fit to perform at a high level. We provide them with breakfast, a snack, and lunch after their workout. We also provide them with workout gear. After completing the class sessions, we take approximately 20 dedicated athletes on tours of colleges and universities in the region such as the University of Connecticut, Trinity College, College of the Holy Cross, and Brown University. For our most outstanding athletes, we also offer scholarship opportunities to attend football camps in an effort to be noticed by college football scouts. As a reminder of their mission, all our athletes wear wrist bands that say "M.A.A.P" (Maximize Academic and Athletic Potential) and "Max Potential." This program enables participants to have free of charge, the same athletic and academic support as students from wealthy communities.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, only 40% of Brockton High School graduates planned to attend a four year public or private university. Comparatively, 86% of the participants in the Next Level Football program are attending four year colleges. 53% of Brockton High School graduates are considered to be economically disadvantage and only 30% of the economically challenged graduates of Brockton High School were able complete the Massachusetts Core Curriculum, which is generally required for college admission. Additionally, for 38% of the students in Brockton English is not their first language and this proves often to be a considerable barrier for academic success. By comparison, in Newton, one of the state's most affluent communities, 97% of students graduate from high school and more than 83% of 2016 graduates attended four year colleges, with 54% attending private universities. In Newton, 90.4% of all graduates complete the Massachusetts Core Curriculum, and while 12% of Newton graduates are economically disadvantaged, of that group 80.7% completed the Massachusetts Core Curriculum. 

Perhaps the best way to describe our program is to say that we provide young men in Brockton with the same type of support a student athlete might receive living in an affluent community. The big difference is that this program provides them with the transformative experience of attending college and perhaps improving their socio¬economic status, and that of their family. 

Education is a critical component of the Next Level College Prep Football Program. We recognize that without a proper education our athletes won't be prepared for life after any potential football career they might have. For that reason, our discussions are dynamic and eye¬opening. Guest speakers include former college and professional football players, an African-American medical research scientist with a PhD from Harvard, a former high school football coach with over 35 years of experience, and a former prison guard. The lectures include: studying tips, how to apply for college admissions and financial aid; how to prepare resumes and for interviews; how to overcome peer pressure; how to sharpen vocabulary skills; time management best practices, and much more. Our kids have the potential to become leaders in the community and we know that as they realize their own goals they will be committed to reaching back to help others in their community because of the support and mentorship they have received through the Next Level College Prep Football Program. 

Fast Fact: Just 40% Brockton grads go on to 4-year colleges, but 93% of the youth in Next Level Football enroll in a 4-year college after high school graduation!

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