Adorning pearly white helmets and bright red jerseys, the Bedford Stuyvesant Crusaders look like hometown heroes before they even touch the field. Teach. Play. Live. Succeed. This semiprofessional football organization boasts a mission that they have mapped out for themselves.
On April 30th, the Bedstuy Crusaders hosted their Media Day were the neighborhood had the chance to get to know the men behind the uniforms. With a player meet and greet, community leader announcements and a brunch for fans of all ages, the team set the tone for their next game on May 14th.
The team first began when a group of Central Brooklyn residents, some who had successful collegiate football careers, came together to create a nonprofit organization and a new team. In an exclusive interview with the team founder Tywan Anthony, the team’s mission comes into view,
“We all came together with a similar mindset. We learned discipline through the game and we wanted to expand on this idea. It’s not just a semiprofessional team, it’s a tool to make better men, better husbands, better entrepreneurs. Football is just the vehicle.” He explains.
As of the 2016 season, the team has a roster of more than 35 local players who have formed a strong sense of community in the Bedstuy Area. With support from local businesses and partnerships with other non-profits, this self-sustaining organization is becoming a pillar of hope. While the team continues to grow with each coming season, founder Tywan Anthony admits that it took time to build their reputation in order to recruit a solid team.
“It was rough at first. We had this vision but only a few guys were showing up at practice. We just kept at it. Kept the schedule tight and kept holding practices we could be proud of. Over time we built a solid team and then players were eager to invite their friends and family, they wanted to showcase the work they had put in.”