In the midst of his 4-show run at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Garth Brooks joined Teammates for Kids to host a youth soccer camp for 60 Mid-South kids.
The young athletes converged on the University of Memphis practice facility on Saturday morning, eager for the chance to improve their soccer skills under the direction of University of Memphis head soccer coach Richard Mulroney, Memphis native and Baltimore Ravens long snapper Morgan Cox, and their coaching staff. Brooks himself visited the camp to talk to the kids about teamwork and loving one another, encouraging each child to make at least one new friend during the camp.
The children, ages 9-13, represented the Boys & Girls Clubs of Memphis, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Memphis, and Tickets for Kids Charities. Teammates provided scholarships allowing all of them to attend the camp for free.
“This is our future, the children,” Brooks said. “The main thing we want to talk about today is love, because you can deal with human beings if you introduce love to them at an early age."
Cox, who has been a Teammate since 2010, added, "It's a great organization to be a part of because you get to participate with kids and just have fun. And they let us run around and just be like kids out here."
Mulrooney has been a Teammate since 2008 and has helped with other Teammates For Kids-sponsored sports camps for the last 10 years. “The university has donated the building for us to use. It's us giving back,” he said. “The kids look up to us, being University of Memphis Athletes. It's how we give back to the community. It's the least we can do."
Teammates For Kids presents the Good Teammate Award at each youth sports camp they sponsor. The award recognizes the young athletes who best demonstrate the traits of a Total Teammate, including leadership, toughness, unselfishness, and respect for the game and all of its participants. In Memphis, Good Teammate Awards were presented to: Carvelle Lockett, age 8; Joshua Batiste, age 9; and Rodricas King, age 11.
Teammates will continue to partner with Brooks to hold youth sports camps at every city on his World Tour. Brooks and Teammate athletes in each city will volunteer their time to coach kids in football, basketball, baseball, hockey, or soccer.