Students from across the country converged on Bonney Lake High School’s athletic fields for Football University (FBU), a weekend crash course in everything football.
FBU is a worldwide program and Bonney Lake High has hosted the only camp in the state for the past three years. Out of the 201 athletes who participated, 15 were from Bonney Lake and Sumner.
The students, ranging from 6th to 11th grade, attended lectures and demonstrations on everything from proper nutrition to throwing technique and leadership.
“FBU is so good for the kids, it teaches leadership skills and how to perform under pressure,” said Pete Esser, director of Football Operations for FBU. Esser was back on his home turf for the weekend after leaving the Bonney Lake High School football team to take a full-time job with the FBU organization.
This year, he noticed a more serious demeanor in the athletes that attend the FBU camp, at every age level.
“The athletes are a lot more focused this year on working on technique,” said Esser. “The sport is getting more competitive and the kids understand they need to focus more and work on becoming better people.”
Students are nominated for FBU by their coaches, and then a selection committee selects the final group of students for the camp. Many students are drawn to the camp for the coaches, alone. This year, the coaching roster included Glenn Smith, head football coach for the Dallas Cowboys, WSU quarterback Chad Carpenter, linebacker for the Oakland Raiders Artie Gigantino and Kwamie Lassiter, defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals.
Bonney Lake High School was selected as the site of FBU’s only camp in Washington State because of booster club support, said Esser.
“The amount of support from the Panther booster club is incredible,” said Esser. “The reason we’re back year after year is because of the support system here.”
Now that the camp is over, selected FBU students are preparing for TOP GUN, a camp in late July for 1,200 athletes selected from regional camps across the nation. The event, held in Williamsburg, VA, will then identify top athletes for the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, held in January.
Here's a list of the Bonney Lake athletes who participated:
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