The Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia’s (DSANV) Champion Football League of Northern Virginia (CFL) played its fourth successful game of the season, Sept. 29, at Freedom High School in South Riding, Va.
“It is amazing to see the passion, dedication and hard work of every player in the CFL. Each individual has unique abilities that help form a strong team when everyone unites and works together,” said Bryan Ray, president of DSANV.
The league was founded last year by the Down Syndrome Association of Northern Virginia and is the first football league in the Northern Virginia area serving individuals with disabilities.
In its second year, the CFL has seen a significant increase in enrollment. The Sept. 29 game had close to 40 champion players on the field, with over 30 players from Freedom High School’s football team serving as coaches and mentors to the Champion players.
In addition to the Champion players, the CFL has added cheerleading to their games this season. There were six Champion Cheerleaders coached by 15 Freedom High School Cheerleaders, totaling 21 cheerleaders for the game on the Sept. 29.
“We are thrilled to have cheerleading at all of the CFL games this season. Their excitement and team spirit really inspires the crowd to show even more support for all of the Champion players,” Ray added.
To start off the game, each player and cheerleader made their way through the tunnel on to the field as their names were announced over the PA system. The crowd filled with nearly 100 family members, friends of the players and cheerleaders, and other onlookers, was very supportive and enthusiastic throughout the whole game.
As is the case in every CFL game, every player scored a touchdown and the score ended in a tie, making for happy teams and players on both sides.
“At DSANV, we hope that as the CFL season continues, every player and cheerleader will experience the dynamics of teamwork, sportsmanship, and leadership. Through the CFL and Champion Cheerleading, we want every participant to grow as football players, cheerleaders, and as people who will make a positive impact in their community,” Ray finished.
The CFL meets at Freedom High School in South Riding, Va. each Saturday at noon through Nov. 3.