The Dorchester Eagles Pop Warner league will host the Mayor’s Cup Football Jamboree this weekend at the newly renovated Roberts Playground near Codman Square. Youth football players from all over Boston will participate in the all-day event on Sunday, which will feature live performances, food and, of course, football. Over 1,000 people are expected to drop by the day long event, which will also serve as a way to highlight the results of a $2.8 million renovation project to the playground— which now serves as the Dorchester program’s home field.
“I feel good about Mayor Walsh bringing the Jamboree back to where he is from,” said Terry Cousins, coach and president of the Dorchester Eagles. “I know he is working for all of the city, but it is great that being from Dorchester he is allowing us to host the Mayor’s cup in our backyard.”
“I am thrilled that this year’s Pop Warner Jamboree will be held at Roberts Playground, home of the Dorchester Eagles,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement. “Hundreds of young people and their families will come together to enjoy the game, have some fun, and spend time outside.”
Athea Robinson, Chair Coordinator for the Eagle Pop Warner Cheerleading squads is “excited to be hosting the Mayor’s Cup. It is good for the girls to come out and meet other teams form other areas and just have a joyful day.”
The renovations to Roberts Playground on Playstead Road were completed in August 2013. Over 200,000 square feet of Astroturf was installed creating four specific fields— two for baseball/softball, one for soccer and one for football. Stadium-style lighting has been installed as well as new, accessible bleachers and stationery work-out equipment. The improvements were funded from the city’s capital budget.
“You can tell they put money into this place,” said 32 year old life-long Dorchester resident Shagator Gandy. “ I remember where it started from. Kids didn’t hang in this park. It was all gambling and drug dealing. So I love seeing this place like this.”
In the past the Dorchester Eagles have had to practice at Town Field or other fields and parks in the neighborhood. The renovated field provides a proper training ground and a sense of security.
“Having a home field is great,” said Cousins, “ But what I really love about it is the safety of our kids. We have Boston Police present at our practices. It is a good feeling that this is a safe haven for the kids to come out and just focus on football.”
Stacey Marlow, 41, from Mattapan remarked on the change the renovations have caused as she watched her six year old son Tyron participate in Eagles practice.
“[The renovations] have brought a different type of crowd,” said Marlow. “There has been a change in the community of people using this field. I see a lot more moms, families, people walking dogs, all while the kids are practicing.”
Anthony Taitt has lived nearby for about ten years. He brought his ten year-old son to his first season with the Eagles. Taitt noticed similar changes associated without the parks improvement.
“The community is more together now,” said Taitt. “There is less violence now and it has given the kids something to do in the afternoons instead of idling. I really enjoy being able to come home from work sit here and watch my kid play.”