In celebration of Latinx Heritage Month and leading up to the team's "Vamos Rams" game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, the Rams hosted an assembly and donated cleats to the Roosevelt High School football team as part of the Cleats for Character program.
"Today was a complete surprise for the JV and the varsity football team. We were able to donate over 60 cleats to the entire team. They were so excited that they could not wait to put them on," said Johnathan Franklin, Rams Director of Social Justice and Football Development. "It was an exciting moment to not only donate the cleats but highlight our Cleats for Character program. These cleats are a representation of what character is, of what hope is, as well as inspiration and the power of the game we all love."
The assembly at Roosevelt High School kicked off the team's large-scale cleat donation, which will benefit 38 different schools, as more than 600 pairs of cleats will be gifted to student-athletes throughout the Los Angeles region. Rams Legend and former Pro Bowl Kicker Frank Corral joined Franklin in a discussion before fielding questions from the Roosevelt football players.
"We talked about life lessons," explained a Roosevelt High School varsity football player. "Football is going to be there now but eventually football is going to leave. We have to focus on greater and bigger things, basically motivating us to not give up."
The group also talked about career planning, character development and highlighted the transferable life skills gained through football. Following the discussion, all the student-athletes were sized and provided cleats previously worn by Rams players.
"These cleats are going to represent the hard work that you're going to put in," said Corral to the student-athletes. "They are going to represent the respect that you're going to have at home, but more importantly, they are going to represent your humble beginnings. They are a gift the Rams have given you to remember for the rest of your lives."
The Rams introduced the Cleats for Character program in 2017. Over the past four years, the team has impacted more than 2,500 student-athletes from over 120 different schools throughout Los Angeles.
"We are a Title I school, which means we are socially and economically disadvantaged. We fall under the poverty guidelines, not to say every kid is in that position, but the majority of kids are in an economic position where they can't just go out and spend $100, $150 on a pair of nice cleats," explained Aldo Parral, Roosevelt High School football coach. "To see their reaction was really cool because it's a tool. It's a tool that's going to make them better. I had a young man, two weeks ago, whose bottom sole of the cleat was falling off and he was still practicing. We were lucky that a couple of years ago Johnathan and the Rams came down and left us some cleats and we were able to find a pair for him. He was grateful to have the opportunity to have a brand-new pair. So, this time, we are going to size him up thanks to the Rams. I'm just grateful that the Rams provided this opportunity."
In 2020, the Rams Legend Brandon Manumaleuna, Franklin, and Rams Cheerleaders hosted an all-school assembly at David Starr Jordan High School and spoke to students about their career journeys and times when they demonstrated perseverance. In 2018, the team took the Cleats for Character program to the Ventura County Youth Detention Center, where current players and Rams Legends led group discussions and hosted a football clinic.
To learn more about the Rams community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.
The Los Angeles Rams hosted Cleats for Character at Roosevelt High School in East Los Angeles to donate cleats to students. Rams legend Frank Corral stopped by to speak to students about the transferrable life skills gained he gained from playing football.