Last month, the Los Angeles Rams invited Watts Rams youth football players and coaches to SoFi Stadium for an exclusive tour and a surprise meet-and-greet with the entire Rams rookie class.
"This program is great," said Rams rookie Linebacker Ernest Jones. "Just listening to the guys, I know they're excited about this. We are going to keep pouring into the youth."
During the tour, the student-athletes participated in field activities and visited the Rams locker room where each Watts Rams player was surprised with a personalized locker nameplate and an autographed football.
"Before I came here today, I had so much motivation. I'm passionate about football and after coming here today that confidence and passion about football went up massively," said Watts Rams student-athlete Evan Williams. "I got to meet some of the rookies, they gave me some good pointers about staying in school, chasing my dreams and not letting anything get in my way. Honestly, I really thank them. I really thank everybody that was a part of setting this up for us. I feel like the sky's the limit after today."
The Watts Rams got their first look inside SoFi Stadium and got a surprise meet and greet with the Los Angeles Rams rookies.
Entering the 2019 season, the Los Angeles Rams formalized their support of the Watts Rams (formerly known as the Watts Bears) and the LAPD's efforts to bridge community and police relations through the game of football.
The coaches use football as a vehicle to introduce, reinforce and promote strong moral character, positive values, personal responsibility, and a commitment to academics.
"I want these guys exposed to different things in life. I think that's the way kids actually strive for something positive and set goals," said Watts Rams Coach and LAPD Officer Zarren Thompson. "What the Rams are doing for us right now is priceless, it's something I cannot describe. They're showing the kids that there are other things out there besides that little cubbyhole we live in. They're showing kids that they can set that goal, they can be the guy who plays on Sundays."
Offering underprivileged youth in Watts a chance to play organized sports but on a larger scale, the Watts Rams program stresses structure, discipline, team spirit, friendship and positive competition.
"I connect with it in multiple ways," said Rams rookie Cornerback Robert Rochell. "I grew up in the type of environment where it's just really you and you did what you wanted to do, so seeing that there are people out here that want to spread love and value the younger generation is everything. Growing up, you typically don't have that coming from impoverished places."
Since the Rams began their support for the Watts Rams youth football program, the team has provided engagement opportunities with current players, alumni, coaches, scouts, football operations and front office staff to help expand their knowledge and ignite their passions beyond the playing field.
For more information about the Watts Rams program, please visit https://thewattsrams.com/.