AUTHOR: KHRYSTIAN McCALiSTER
The city of Akron has the potential to be a place of great opportunity for its residents. There are many changes that
have to be made in order to channel the negative factors that affect our community into positive solutions. This type of change begins with the youth, for they are the most susceptible to positive influences and hold the future of our city in their hands. Pierre Alati Jr. believes that through coaching and training young men in the sport of football, he can help them grow to be respectable, productive, and successful as players but also, as men. By starting up his own football program called Lineman Development Camp, or L.D.C., Pierre is taking steps to become a great support system for many young people in Akron while, at the same time, coaching up great athletes.
As the oldest of 5 children, Pierre had to find out some of the facts of life on his own. “Growing up in this city, I experienced a lot of trial and error,” he explained in his interview. “Even though, I didn’t have older siblings to guide me through the years, my grandfather was the best father figure to me. He was always there and taught me how to be a man.” At age 8, Pierre began playing football for the Firestone Park Rams, a pee-wee football team in East Akron. He continued to play throughout his childhood up until he graduated for Garfield High School in 2011.
“RESPECT iS SO iMPORTANT iN LiFE.”
Pierre began his first year of coaching with the team he played for as a child, the Firestone Park Rams, in 2015. He currently coaches the Titans, a Pop Warner team, at Perkins Pool. He always knew he wanted to be a coach with goals of connecting with the kids as a mentor, showing them the importance of opportunity, and being involved in their success. For him, the most rewarding things of coaching are being able to be there for the boys that don’t have father figures, watching them grow as players, and the respect that they show him as a coach. “Respect is so important in life,” he stated. “If our boys realize that now, it can take them such a long way!”
He created LDC, because he saw a need for an affordable football program for the youth in Akron that focuses solely on the skills of the lineman position. He gathered some of his high school teammates and a few of his other associates to help him organize, recruit, and coach the camp for its first year. For $50 per player, LDC was held at Joy Park from June 6th– 16th where Pierre and his team trained boys ranging in ages 8-14 about the proper technique and knowledge of a lineman. Each day toward the end of camp, there was a special guest speaker that gave advice and motivation. When asked about the progress of LDC Pierre had this to say: “All of the players that attended improved every day, and if they keep working hard, I see the potential in every last one of them to become great athletes.” Although the numbers were not overwhelming for its first year, LDC is a great program that will continue to expand each year with young men eager to gain more experience as lineman. He has plans to build LDC as his brand and also as his business, reaching new levels.
“DiSCiPLiNE iS #1. WiTHOUT iT, YOU WON’T iMPROVE…”
As a coach, Pierre describes his style as “motivation and discipline oriented,” because he expects 100% from all of his players since he promises to give his 100% at all times. “Discipline is #1,” he stated. “Without it, you won’t improve, and no one will take you seriously. The media tries to portray young black men as unstable and unruly, but I know that by teaching my kids what it means to have good character and respect for others as well as themselves, people will believe in them.” Leading by example, he is a young entrepreneur that is building a support system for kids in Akron while also helping them build their confidence through sports. Pierre wants to continue to grow and develop LDC, grow as a coach, and give back to the city of Akron a great deal. Strength is in numbers. To mold better young people in our community, we need more young adults that share Pierre’s passion to change the culture amongst our youth.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY: KHRYSTiAN McCALiSTER