The Miami Dolphins may have issues with bringing home a championship, but Miami’s RYAN Football League won the 14U division at the NFL Flag Championships during Super Bowl 50 Week in San Francisco.
Teams from all over the country qualified for national championships by winning regional tournaments hosted by various NFL clubs, RYAN qualified at the regionals in New York, representing the Carolina Panthers team that played in the big game on Sunday.
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The team had some bold faced sponsors, too–among them, supermodel Naomi Campbell and Miami philanthropist Lea Black. “I understand the value and importance of having great mentors,” Campbell told us. “I’m so thankful to all the people who helped me when I was coming up in my career. Because of that, I try to mentor and give back where I can to help others.”
Campbell was introduced to the team by her pal Ingrid Casares, whose son Nico is one of its captains. Led by captains Casares and Koby Rouviere, R.Y.A.N. 14U went 5-1 to win the national title.
The national champs range in age from 13 to 14 and are Jamari Brown, Casares, Kelvin Durham, Dylan Dylewski, AJ Garcia, Jaheim Jerry, Sean Moore, Rouviere, Jalen Sloan, and Keshawn Washington. The coaches are Rudy Fernandez and Daniel Pettihome. Players and coaches arrived on January 28 to the San Francisco Bay Area for a five-day trip to compete in the tournament.
Pool play and play-off games took place on Sunday, February 1 at the Beach Chalet Fields at Golden Gate Park.
The four winners in each division advanced to the championship game the following day at the NFL Experience. Nickelodeon Sports will be airing the games at 6 p.m. Saturday, February 6 on Nick Toons and Nickelodeon.
This team has played flag football together since the age of seven on R.Y.A.N. Football, which was started ten years ago by coach Rudy Fernandez as a way to honor his late brother, Ryan Fernandez. With the majority of the 14U team aging out this year, the NFL Flag National Championship was the last tournament they played in together.