When Drew Moore first walked onto a local football field for practice on a Clarksburg Sports Association football team more than a year ago, he was a little nervous about being able to make friends with his new teammates.
The now 9-year-old Germantown resident said that the team quickly accepted him, especially one person.
“I was a little bit scared that no one would like me, but everyone was really nice,” Drew said. “Aidan was the nicest to me.”
“Before practice [when we first met] we always played on these monkey bars together,” Aidan McCloskey, 8, said. “We remind each other if we forget anything. … We’re just really great friends.”
Drew and Aidan are best friends and, according to Brian McCloskey, Aidan’s father and CSA president, a real-life representation of what the local organization is all about.
“They’re two peas in a pod,” he said. “What we want to do is develop these kids into Clarksburg community citizens. The big picture is that we are really trying to nurture the community through the kids that participate.”
The youth sports program in Clarksburg offers 14 different sports for kids ranging from wrestling to tackle football. Started in 2005, the youth sports organization works to prepare area children for the challenges of life “through athletic competition, teamwork and development of sustaining relationships.”
CSA serves about 1,500 student athletes, most of whom range in age from 6 to 14. In the leagues’ four seasons, participation has grown each year.
Sports camps, clinics and a team for children with disabilities also are available.
McCloskey said, along with sports, the program also focuses on performing in the classroom and mentorship from older athletes.
“I think sports contribute equally [with academics] in a child’s development. They place you in a situation where you have to challenge yourself,” he said. “We try to see [the kids] make good decisions about their time. We try to nurture that so that they want to learn and they want to get good grades.
“We routinely ask the high school players to come by practice. They’ll talk, and they’ll mentor them and kind of show them the ropes of being good kids, being good citizens,” McCloskey said.
To support that focus, the group worked to provide the first annual Clarksburg Sports Association scholarships this year. The two $500 scholarships were awarded to two Clarksburg High School seniors — Oscar Cruz and Jacquelyn Young — who excelled both academically and athletically. The organization is also currently working on an after-school program that will include tutoring services.
The director of the program, McCloskey said, has taught for about 25 years in Montgomery County Public Schools, and the group hopes to have it up and running in eight months.
“We’re going to create a safe place for [the] kids to go after school,” he said. “We’re going to touch on all the sports, so it’s a well-rounded program.”
McCloskey, who also is a track coach with CSA, said seeing the adults that the participants turn into and the bond between the parents and coaches has kept him coming back with his five children each year.
“I love it, I love helping the kids, and I love the camaraderie of working with the parents and the coaches. I love to see these kids come back [as high schoolers] and I’ll hear them say in a deep voice, ‘Hey coach,’” he said. “[The coaches] they care for these kids deeply like they care about their own child, you can see it.”
“[CSA] teaches you a lot of things; they make sure that no one is mean to you and they don’t want you to quit,” Drew said.
As for Aidan and Drew, both plan to continue playing sports with CSA, and move on to college sports when they get older. The two are playing on different teams this upcoming football season.
While this is not the first time they haven’t played on the same team, it is the first year that Aidan will be calling Drew’s younger brother, Chance, a teammate.
“They’ll get to know each other better,” Drew said.
The twosome said they think they will be best friends for a long time, a plan that Paris Moore, Drew’s mother, said she wouldn’t doubt.
“I could definitely see them in high school still hanging out,” she said. “I think for the both of them, they are very lighthearted, they’re honest with each other. … They’re always pushing and encouraging each other.”