AUGUSTA, Georgia (WJBF) – Richard Hand is the president of the local youth football organization, Dogs United. He is also the coach of the 11U men’s team. They play in the American Youth Football League, known as AYF. In December, they had a good reason to get together and party.
“We went to the national championships this year and competed at the 6U, 11U, 12U levels and brought a national championship back to the CSRA,” says Hand. “Our 6u dogs finished third in the country, our 12u dogs finished second in the country. And our 11u Dogs finished number one, the national champions, ”he added.
The team gathered at the First Baptist Church in Augusta to celebrate the success of the program, distributing trophies, rings, necklaces and other gifts to players, coaches and others who have contributed to the programs.
Hand says this is the first time that a CSRA team has won an AYF National Championship. “We were previously Augusta Bulldogs, we teamed up with CRTGB Bulldogs to create a program, Dawgs United,” Hand explains.
When he says Dogs United, he really means it.
“Dogs United is made up of children from Burke County, North Augusta, Lincoln County, Thomson, Richmond County and Columbia County. So when I say Dawgs United, I mean bringing everyone together, ”Hand added.
After losing the 10U Championship game a year ago, it has been a long way to reach their ultimate goal.
“To go to the nationals you have to win the conference, after you win the conference you have to win the state, after you win the state you have to win the regional ones. So we were in Florida for three weeks for the month of December, ”Hand explains.
It takes a huge commitment from the players, coaches, parents and sponsors.
“The engagement of our community and our sponsors has been enormous. Solvay, Newsome Electric, Scott Rhodes, Brian Legging. We took 75 kids to Florida for a full week, so everyone is needed, ”Hand explains.
If you want to join us, Dogs United will be leaving again in the spring.
“We give the kids a break, we promote other sports, but in March or April we start conditioning and coming together. There are no trials, we open the doors to everyone.
Hand adds that Dogs United is more than just kids playing football. “We are a football program, but we promote a family atmosphere. We pray together, we play together, we live together and you can see the hard work. It’s all been a year old, and it’s big, it’s really big.