FIRE Youth Sports: History

History of The FIRE

Founded in 2004, on the simple principle that skills are learned better through sports, our focus is to produce the next generation of community-conscious, college-ready, student-athletes.  As an organization, we believe all of this, and more, can be achieved through family involvement.  FIRE is an acronym that stands for Family Involvement Reaps Excellence.  The FIRE was founded by 15 enthusiastic parents who wanted better for their children when it came to organized sports.  They wanted to take the combined years of experience they gathered, through being volunteer coaches and/or assistants, and create an organization that embodied all the positive aspects they know to be effective.  Since our inception we added three additional members to the organization to assist in achieving our long term goals.


The FIRE Board is made up of concerned parents who volunteer their time ensuring that the organization prospers from year to year.  Our board is comprised in such a way that all power is shared.  We have two main contact persons for the organization, Shawn Pearson and Greg Alexander; the secretary is Lavone Lee.  Other positions are as follows:

            Webmaster:  Alisa Pearson 

            Historian/Registration Coordinator:  Monica Saffold

            Booster Coordinator:  Jeffrey P. Saffold

            Concessions Coordinator:  Shela Harris

            Equipment Coordinator:  Shawn Pearson

            Fundraiser Coordinator/Scholastic Advisor:  Lavone Lee

            Sponsorship Coordinator:  Alisa Pearson & Greg Alexander

            Cheerleading Coordinator:  Marla Walker 



After a year of planning, what was a dream, became reality.  The FIRE began with only a basketball team.  In 2006, football became our second sport.  With each subsequent year we have new dreams and hopes for the children we work with.  We hope we are giving something back to them but we know they are giving us the strength to make the organization better for them each year.  The FIRE offers the community football, basketball, baseball, and cheerleading.  Track and wrestling are the sports for The FIRE future.


Football is a contact sport for ages 6-13.  In 2006 it started in Shaker Heights with four teams in the North Coast League.  Of those teams, three played in their League Championship and two won. With the players desire to play more football and the coaches belief they could win we filled a bus of players and headed to Atlanta, Georgia for a weekend tournament and came home a winner.  This was a great ending to an even better season.


In 2007, we joined the Pop Warner League with four teams.  One made it to the Northeast Ohio Championship and then the State Championship.  This was a new league with many new challenges to face.  We used it as a building block for the next year.  In 2008, we increased our teams to six.  We added a Junior Midget and Tiny Mite team. Our Junior Midget team became our success story for the year.  We found 15 players to agree to be the first for The FIRE.  Losing the first four games, down on ourselves, we came back with a vengeance and a lot of encouragement from the coaching staff, to win the next five games.  The Junior Midget season ended with the game that would have bought them a place in the Chicago, Illinois line up.


The Tiny Mite team consisted of over 20 enthusiastic young players.  Most thought they were too small for contact ball but they showed the organization what football really is all about…heart and dedication to the sport and teammates.


Out of all of our teams this year two played in the Regional Championship in Chicago, Illinois, which was one game away from the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Florida.  In 2009, that goal became a reality when our Jr. Pee-Wee team made it all the way to the Pop Warner Super Bowl only to be defeated in the championship game. Our football program continues to grow and we are confident a Super Bowl win is in our future. 



The FIRE started with AAU basketball in 2004.  With 15 3rd grade players, we joined a fourth grade division and struggled.  In 2006, we won 50% of our tournaments.  By 2007 our discipline and hard work began to shine through.  The FIRE now has 65  players and 6 teams.  In 2008 our 6th grade team won the USSSA National Championship and 5th graders won 90% of their tournaments. We now have 60 competitive players in 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th grade divisions.  The Fire is now ranked as one of the best basketball clubs in Northeast Ohio. 



April 2009 marked the beginning of FIRE Baseball.  Fifteen players, age 11 to 13 lined the dugout, intently listening to the guidance of their coaches.  The FIRE is scheduled to play over 20 regular season games and five tournaments.  With a lot of hard work and dedication this travel team can make it to the playoffs.



This is an organized group of young ladies who promote The FIRE football teams.  Our girls range in age from 6-13.  The FIRE provides an outlet for young girls to show their team spirit in a noncompetitive fashion.  The squad has grown from 15 in year one to over 30 in year three to show their team spirit through cheers and dance routines.  Our objective is for our squad to remain a noncompetitive sport but yet a springboard for girls who wish to pursue cheerleading at their home school.