Wed. Aug 17th, 2022
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The Carolina Falcon semi-pro football team will call Bertie County home, with play slated to start in 2022.

Seeing the need for a productive outlet for young adults in Bertie County, former Bertie High football star, and Shaw University sack-leading defensive end, Nagai Lee felt called to step in and help. A native of Lewiston Woodville, Lee knew the importance of football to the community. Besides that, he also knew it could be a way to step in and mentor those who need some guidance.

Although Lee had the vision, he knew he could not go it alone to make the Carolina Falcon football team become a reality. He assembled a group of like-minded men who wanted to make a difference, becoming team co-owners.

Besides Lee, the team consists of Cam White of Windsor, Charles Harden of Windsor; Torrence Mourning of Windsor; and Willie Smallwood of Kelford. Each of the co-owners played football for Bertie High.

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Carolina Falcon team founders and co-owners, clockwise from top left:
Nagei Lee; Cam White; Willie Smallwood; Torrence Mourning; Charles Harden | Photo used with the express written consent of Carolina Falcon football.

The team owners seek to entertain local football fans and foster a sense of pride and unity in the community. But the overall goal is much bigger than entertainment alone. Lee explained the long-term goals in an interview with Bertie News.

“Our goal is to give back to the community…and hopefully…to stop gang violence.”

Nagei Lee

Sports Can Significantly Steer At-Risk Young Adults Away From Gang Violence

Lee and the team co-owners experienced the discipline and pride of participating in sports and want to pass that positive experience down to the next generation.

Even better, the facts back up Lee’s personal experience.

In fact, an article issued by youth.gov, a federal government website focused on strengthening youth in our communities, participation in sports can significantly deter older teens and young adults from joining gangs.

The report looked at the root causes of gang participation and noted that many young people join to:

  • Feel protected.
  • Earn respect.
  • Make money from the activities.
  • Feel part of a family.

Many who feel the lure of gang life lack stability. Indeed, a sports team can provide the family framework they seek and shape positive outcomes.

What’s Next for the Carolina Falcon Football Team?

The team is in the earliest stages of formation. The co-owners formed the team on February 11, 2021. However, the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the current season due to gathering size restrictions and social distancing policies. Team owners chose to play it safe and sidelined the project for a few months.

For now, the team is hosting tryouts to find the top local players and will begin training soon. The Bertie County Parks and Recreation Department provides them a “home field” for the time being.

After being denied field access by the Bertie Board of Education, the team founder says they will re-approach the board after they make more definite plans. They hope to forge a relationship with the local public schools.

“All (co-owners) are former Bertie graduates, so we are hoping to be able to play there,” Lee said during his interview.

If you know someone interested in trying out for the team, they can join in on September 25, 2021, at 5 pm.

The team founders also hope to attract a wider local community Facebook following and financial support via local sponsorships.

The Carolina Falcon team will kick off in the 2022 season, dates to be determined. We will share more information as we receive it.

Carolina Falcon logo used with the express written consent from team management.
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