5-year-old’s love of sports gets him into football camp

Navajo Times | Adron Gardner
Micah Odaniel, left, chases down Mavin Davis for a tackling drill during the Chinle Wildcats Youth Football Camp In Chinle May 30.


Tom Manning IV has some options when it comes to physical activity.

The five-year-old youngster has a love for sports and this past week he squeezed football into his repertoire, thanks to the Chinle Youth Football Camp.

Manning actually came to the camp on Monday in support of his cousin Tye Descheenie, a Phoenix-area youth, since he was not old enough to take part in the camp. But the camp organizers noticed his keen interest in football so they asked him if he wanted to participate.

“He does T-ball but he’s liking (football) so far,” said Tom Manning III of his son. 

The elder Manning said a lot of the coaches are real surprised by how quickly his son is picking up the fundamentals.

“They already gave him a nickname,” the older Manning said. “They’re calling him ‘Sneakers’ but I don’t know why.”

Camp coordinator Tim Su’e Su’e Liufau said one of the key elements is to get the kids acclimated to the fundamentals of football at an affordable rate for their parents. The three-day camp ended on Wednesday at Chinle High School with some of the current Wildcat football team members serving as coaches.

“There is always a need in getting kids to understand the game,” he said. “We want to get to them before we lose them to summer school and baseball practice. … We’re utilizing this time to teach them proper techniques.”

In addition to learning the basics, Liufau said it was important that the kids “get out of their comfort zone.”

“I want them to have fun but this youth camp is for them to get to know each other,” he said.

Moreover, Liufau said the camp served another purpose for his high school students.

“They are understanding what it means to coach and they are exercising their social skills,” he said. “They are learning leadership skills and I want them to apply that when we have our lockdown camps.”

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Categories: Football

About Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com