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The Xenith Live Your Game Spotlight is our bi-monthly feature covering the great schools and football programs across the country, taking an in-depth look at how teams from different regions train, play, and live their game.
OMAHA, NE – When Coach Araf Evans’ son got invited to play in a 7v7 tournament down in Florida, he did not expect that two years later he would be running his own 7v7 program in Nebraska with over 60 kids enrolled.
“We had such a great time [at that tournament in Florida],” said Coach Evans. “The camaraderie, and just saw how the kids were able to make moves in space, their quickness, and agility…and not only that, how they were already getting recruited at this age, it was mind boggling how we didn’t have something like that in the state of Nebraska.”
Founded in 2018, Nebraska Elite 7v7 is a grassroots youth sports organization designed to mentor young men through the game of football. Nebraska Elite 7v7 is built upon three key building blocks: God, Family, and Team. Coach Evans and his staff believe these building blocks are the foundation to developing good-natured young men.
“I really enjoy it, it’s a big family,” said Gio Contreras, a class of 2023 student at Bellevue West High School who joined Nebraska Elite after his parents discovered the program. “It’s a good way to keep excelling in the sport and I’m really enjoying it right now.”
Coach Evans is passionate about his program, but even more passionate about helping these young men grow not only between the lines, but off the field as well. “Seeing these kids, these athletes, get better on and off the field, having some more discipline, and being able to get coached by other coaches…it’s amazing to see these kids grow, and when they go out there [on gameday] you can definitely tell they have been putting in that work for a long time.”
The Nebraska Elite program has expanded from eight athletes in their first year to over 60 today, spanning grade three all the way through grade 12.
The coaching exposure these athletes have had at their disposal are some of the biggest names in football. Players like Devante Adams, Tyreek Hill, Nelson Agholor, Greg Ward, Sammy Watkins, Ryan Grant, and Zach Pascal in addition to more with vast playing experience have supported Coach Evans’ program over their short three-year history.
Nebraska Elite competes in 7v7 tournaments across the country, and that exposure to different playing styles is what Coach Evans notes as a key aspect to the program’s success. “It’s the opportunity to get out and see what other competition looks like from different areas,” Evans explained. “You might be the best one in your area but when you get on that national stage and you travel down to Florida, Houston, Colorado you start to see that ‘Man I really need to put in work on my game.’ Not just during the season, but during the offseason as well.”
Xenith is proud to support Coach Evans, athletes like Gio, and the entire Nebraska 7v7 Elite program as they continue to grow and mentor young men across the state. We wish the program continued growth and success as they continue to live their game day in and day out.