The Watts Bears and Los Angeles Rams are launching a partnership that includes renaming the youth team The Watts Rams, it was announced today by Los Angeles Rams Head Coach SEAN MCVAY and LAPD Officer and Watts Rams Head Coach ZARREN THOMPSON at Rams Training Camp.
Coach Thompson was joined by other Watts Rams coaches, Officers JAMES HOLLIMAN, JOSHUA JUNEAU and JOSE SOTO as well as nearly 100 youth football players.
As part of the partnership, the Los Angeles Rams will fund all football components of the Watts Rams program, including uniforms and equipment. Throughout the year, the LA Rams will provide engagement opportunities with current players, alumni, coaches, scouts, and football operations staff, as well as host a career day for the Watts Rams players to expose them to business opportunities within the sports industry. The two football organizations will develop joint programs that focus on character development and community service. The LA Rams also will provide incentive-based rewards to reinforce the importance of education through tickets to Rams games, autographed items, merchandise, appearances and outings.
"The Los Angeles Rams have been outstanding partners with the Los Angeles Police Department, and I am humbled by their willingness to seek long term solutions in making the City of Los Angeles a great place to reside," said LAPD COMMANDER GERALD WOODYARD. "In addition, the leadership and compassion for the community demonstrated by the officers involved with the 'Watts Bears,' now 'Watts Rams,' in Southeast Area has certainly been positive. Through this partnership, the Los Angeles Rams are backing up their words of goodwill for the scholar-athletes in south Los Angeles by investing not only in the items that you can see, such as the uniforms and cleats, but by insisting on excellence in the classroom and being good citizens."
"Southeast Area is thrilled to partner with the Los Angeles Rams for our already nationally known youth football program," said LAPD CAPTAIN LOUIS PAGLIALONGA. "Throughout the years, the Rams have worked alongside our players and coaches and it became apparent very early on that this relationship was meant to be. The Rams organization's focus on education and commitment to character aligns perfectly with the mission of LAPD Southeast CSP to bring real opportunities for academic growth and character development, coupled with love and pride in the Watts Community - all while giving kids access to play organized football."
"As we enter the 2019 season, the Rams are excited to assist the LAPD's efforts to bridge community and police relations through the game of football by formalizing our support of this transformative youth football program," said Los Angeles Rams Vice President of Community Affairs and Engagement MOLLY HIGGINS. "Over the years, we have witnessed firsthand the difference these officers are making, and we look forward to wrapping our organizational support around them to inspire young Angelinos to climb to new heights."
Since returning home to Los Angeles, the Rams have supported the Watts Bears in a variety of ways including cleat giveaways, practice visits from Rams players and tickets to Rams games. In partnership with the NFL, the Rams also surprised the Watts Bears coaches with tickets to Super Bowl LII.