Police Athletic League camp teaches football, life skills

Future running backs went through agility and speed drills at the Kansas City, Kansas, Police Athletic League football camp on Saturday at Bishop Ward’s Dorney Field. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The Kansas City, Kansas, Police Athletic League sponsored a football camp on Saturday for ages 8 to 18, with around 150 young athletes participating.

The camp, held at Bishop Ward’s Dorney Field, brought together local high school and youth coaches, former NFL players, and police volunteers for a day of building football skills and community relationships.

Before the camp started, former Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Gehrig Dieter talked about his father, who was a police officer in South Bend, Indiana.

“My dad was always my coach,” said Dieter, “and I just know the impact he’s had on people, on my former teammates that still keep up with him, and he still keeps up with them. I think having that impact, that lasting relationship, is such a huge thing.”

Dieter, who retired from professional football earlier this month after five years with the Chiefs, looked like a future coach as he smoothly led drills with a group of about 15 middle school and high school receivers.

The young athletes started in a large group for stretching and warmups and then split into age and position groups to drill on specific skills.

With the camp’s theme of Tackling Conflict Together, campers also had the opportunity to hear about making good lifestyle choices and to commit to a future of nonviolence.

The camp was the first of what is planned to be an annual event. Police Chief Karl Oakman expressed his hopes for what the camp and other police – community events can accomplish.

“We do a lot of enforcement things,” said the chief. “We’re going to do those. We have to do those, but I think it’s important to make sure that we’re putting resources in our young people, not only just to reduce violence but to increase that positive relationship between the police and young people.”

Former Chiefs wide receiver Gehrig Dieter tossed the ball to a young wide receiver. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Young receivers participated in catching and route-running drills. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Young receivers participated in catching and route-running drills. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Running backs participated in speed and agility drills. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Young linemen ran through blocking and agility drills. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Receivers practiced running routes and catching the ball. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Quarterbacks practiced their technique in a passing drill. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Young running backs participated in drill of short passing routes. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Schlagle head football coach Cernyn Macon guided young running backs in a pass-catching drill. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Kansas City, Kansas, Police Chief Karl Oakman, left, talked with former Chiefs wide receiver Gehrig Dieter before the camp started. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Chiefs’ mascot K.C. Wolf got in some catch before the camp started. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Chiefs’ mascot K.C. Wolf helped demonstrate stretches for the campers. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Receivers practiced running routes and catching the ball. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Young linemen ran through blocking and agility drills. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

Kizer scores first KC goal in 2-2 draw with Chicago

Forward CeCe Kizer scored on a shot from just outside the 18-yard box. The goal, Kizer’s first since joining Kansas City from Racing Louisville, secured a 2-2 result for the Current against the Chicago Red Stars. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

The new-look Kansas City Current offense continues to bring results, scoring once early and once late to fight back for a 2-2 draw against the first-place Chicago Red Stars at Children’s Mercy Park Saturday evening.

Blue Valley Northwest alumna CeCe Kizer scored the equalizing goal, her first in a Kansas City uniform, in the 68th minute. Kizer took a pass from Elyse Bennett on the run, closed quickly to the edge of the 18-yard box, then blasted a shot into the upper right corner of the goal before Chicago defender Amanda Kowalski could close on her.

Chicago scored twice early in the second half to take a 2-1 lead. The first goal came in the 53rd minute on a corner kick beautifully placed at the far post by Mallory Pugh for Kowalski to head in. The Red Stars went ahead on a penalty kick by Pugh in the 58th minute.

Kristen Hamilton opened the scoring for the Current in the 8th minute. Hailie Mace received a corner kick played wide on the left side and dropped the ball neatly into the 6-yard box for Hamilton to poke between the back post and Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher.

Current goalkeeper A.D. Franch made four saves to preserve the draw. Her lunging kick save in first-half stoppage time kept the Red Stars scoreless in the first half, and she leaped to tip a would-be game-winning goal over the crossbar in the 86th minute.

After the match, Kizer talked about what this first goal meant to her.

“For my family and all of them to be here — it was amazing,” she said. “Just a lot of energy, a lot of emotion, and I just hope that I can inspire young girls around Kansas City to one day play here.”

Kansas City finishes its four-game home stand with two wins and two draws. The Current will play on the road in Houston and Washington, D.C., before the next home match on July 17 against OL Reign.

The Current celebrated Dads and Daughters Night in advance of Father’s Day. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Forwards Elyse Bennett, left, and CeCe Kizer celebrated after they connected on Kizer’s 68th minute goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Forward Kristen Hamilton punched the ball in from 6 yards out in the 8th minute. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Midfielder Kate Del Fava got her head on a free kick from Alex Loera but couldn’t direct it on frame. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Forward Elyse Bennett fought for possession with Chicago defender Amanda Kowalski near the Red Stars goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Defender Addisyn Merrick tried to turn the corner on Chicago forward Ella Stevens. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Forward Kristen Hamilton won a header over Chicago midfielder Vanessa DiBernardo. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

A second-half shot from defender Izzy Rodriguez sneaked past Chicago goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher, but went just wide of the post. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

 

Defender Alex Loera struck a free kick in the second half. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

Hamilton scores late game-winner against Gotham

Forward CeCe Kizer burst her way between two Gotham defenders for a chance on goal. Kizer is now playing for her hometown team after last week’s trade from her previous club, Racing Louisville FC. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)

by Brian Turrel

Kansas City Current forward Kristen Hamilton broke open a scoreless tie against NJ-NY Gotham FC in the 84th minute to earn a 1-0 win for the home team in Saturday evening’s match at Children’s Mercy Park.

Defender Izzy Rodriguez, on as a substitute just two minutes prior, made a push up the left wing and then fed the ball back to Hamilton who was unmarked and charging up the middle. Hamilton drilled a one-touch left-footed shot into the lower right corner of the goal from about 15 yards out.

The game marked a homecoming for Overland Park native CeCe Kizer. Acquired by the Current in a trade last week with Racing Louisville, Kizer debuted in the starting lineup and played 60 minutes.

Kizer’s speed at the top of Kansas City’s formation opened up a new dimension for the offense and paired well with Hamilton. A well-executed build-up in the first half among Kizer, Hamilton, Kate Del Fava and Lo’eau LaBonta produced a great scoring opportunity.

Defender Addisyn Merrick, of Lee’s Summit, was also acquired in the Louisville trade and came on as a substitute in the 61st minute.

Reserve goalkeeper Cassie Miller started for the the Current, and registered three saves, including a great fingertip save that deflected Paige Monaghan’s shot onto the post  in the 43rd minute.

After losing four of its first five matches, the Current has now won two of the last three. Kansas City will be back on the Children’s Mercy Park pitch next Saturday against the Chicago Red Stars.

Forward Kristen Hamilton encountered some fierce resistance from Gotham defender Mandy Freeman but got no help from referee Samantha Martinez. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Zeke the Wonder Dog made a running leap off his handler’s shoulders to catch a Frisbee in mid-air. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Kate Del Fava looked for a way past Gotham defender Imani Dorsey. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Lo’eau LaBonta went all out to get off a shot just outside the Gotham 6-yard box. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Midfielder Victoria Pickett hurdled the leg of Gotham defender Imani Dorsey to continue her run at the goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Forward Elyse Bennett crossed the ball in front of the Gotham goal. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)
Team captain Desiree Scott signed a jersey for a fan after the match. (Photo copyright 2022 by Brian Turrel)