NMU?football team hosts youth clinic

Kids gather together at the center of the Superior Dome field with Northern Michigan University football players before being divided into groups by age. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

MARQUETTE — The Northern Michigan University football team hosted a free youth football clinic recently for children aged 3 to 13 at the Superior Dome in Marquette.

From 11 a.m. to noon, kids were split into different age groups to practice training drills and techniques with NMU football players.

NMU Head Football Coach Kyle Nystrom said the event is a “friendraiser and a bridge back to the community,” adding that it makes him happy to see little ones running around and not playing on phones or on the computer.

“You see these little kids running around here and they are just as happy as they can be,” said Linda Saunders-Hill, mother of NMU football player Jalen Saunders.

Football players at the event served as role models to youth in the community, especially those interested in the game. “It lets (the kids) see where they can be,” said Saunders-Hill. “They feel like that’s the next them. That’s why I love that (NMU’s football team) does this before the spring game every year.”

Nolan Johnson, center right, high fives NMU’s Justin McElroy, left, as Troy Mayan, center left, and Patrick Ryan, right, cheer after Johnson made it to the endzone with the ball. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

NMU’s Spring Game April 11 marked the end of four weeks of spring football practice, to resume again in August.

Rachel Oakley can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is