Strangers rally around youth football team in need

December 14, 2011 (CHICAGO)

On Wednesday night, the field was muddy and the weather dreadful but the undefeated Chicago Chargers were out practicing again in preparation for their big championship game this weekend in New Orleans. Their coaches are still trying to figure out how to pay for it.

Direct link to the Chicago Chargers Youth Football and Cheer League website

Contact information for the league

"It's the 4th quarter. The goal line is is sight. We are not gonna give up," said Michael Willis, Chicago Chargers Youth Football and Cheer League president.

They are getting a lot of help. After seeing ABC7's story on the team earlier in the week, a number of people have made contributions, including the 35 people who make up AT&T's national sales division. They decided to forego their holiday party and instead donate the money they have been collecting all year to the team.

"They are inner city kids. They worked hard, they are undefeated. To see them get that far and possibly not be able to make it, it would be disappointing for them," said Latrease Purnell, AT&T advertising team.

The division will have a scaled down get together that will have more meaning.

"We'll just pitch in and have maybe one less glass of wine," said Cheri Rushing, AT&T advertising team.

It will be the first time most of the kids have been outside the city.

Jason Erkes saw ABC7's story and set up a website to collect donations from about 100,000 Chicago Sport and Social Club members.

"This time of year I think people are looking at a place to give and a way to support the holiday spirit. I cannot think of a better way than helping underprivileged kids getting rewarded for achieving their goals," said Erkes.

The team practiced for the last night Wednesday night before the big game. They will get on buses early Friday morning for the overnight 14-hour trip to New Orleans knowing they have the support of the entire city behind them.

Click here to view the contact information on the league website

Direct link to the Chicago Chargers Youth Football and Cheer League website

League Facebook page

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