Texas Longhorns, Austin Westlake, Lake Travis. When you think of Austin football you think of two things; tradition and deep pockets. With the Austin culture in general, few things are mentioned from the side of town, east of Interstate 35. However, one youth football organization has been instrumental in having the East Side heard, the Austin Steelers.
Created in 2011, the Steelers have been a powerhouse since its inception in the youth football world. It's staff and players come primarily from the northeast side of the growing metropolis. They compete in arguably the toughest league in Texas, the Texas Youth Football Association (TYFA). When I say powerhouse I do not use the term lightly.
Since the 2011 season the Steelers have 7 State Championships, a Cheer State Championship, and a 7u Texas Showcase Championship. This is reminiscent of the type of domination Lake Travis executes at the high school level in our football crazed state. This past season the Steelers had 3 of 4 teams in the TYFA playoffs and had their flag and 7u squads get to the Elite 8 along with their 9u reaching the Final Four!
The coaches were admittedly proud of the boys but not shy about their demand for greatness. They took it personally that no State Titles were brought home to the East Austin area this past season, as is always the organizational goal. Veering from football for a second, the organization and the Steeler staff are committed to much more than football for these boys. The President of the organization,
Coach Shannon Crenshaw was very candid about the East Side being void of adequate male role models and equal scholastic resources compared to other areas of Austin areas and the socioeconomic struggles that are attached to the east side of Interstate 35. With all these odds stacked against these boys the Steeler organization was created to erase all excuses for a child to fail his potential. They provides structure, stability, and overall development of the athlete and young adult to help ensure these kid's success in the game of life!
The Steelers organization does a great job of creating free and open-to-the-public off season workouts. They have groups that go out and feed the homeless, and arrange a broad array of character building activities off the field. This creates a brotherhood of kids who believe in themselves and their peers proving to be a remarkable trait that manifests itself success in the classroom and on the grid iron.
Out of all the things discussed in our online interview between Coach Crenshaw and Myself, I would have to say the most impressive thing about him and his organization was this quote when asked about a key factor of their success.
"We have more than just one major factor contributing to our success but first above all is making sure our Glory goes to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and then our athletes, in that order. As coaches it's our duty to serve the youth so accepting recognition or credit beyond that is unnecessary. Without God and our hard working kids-none if this is possible."
In our closing discussion, the Steelers responded with the competitive class and hunger that you would expect a champion from the "underdog" side of town to respond with. Complacency is not an option in this organization and that is not going to change. Hard work and a mouth exempt from excuses is mandatory from all staff and players day in and day out. High report card marks, youth football championships, and college opportunities will continue to be the results of the Austin Steelers Organization.