Topeka nonprofit gives 50 pairs of cleats to Highland Park football team

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 11:01 PM CDT
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - First year Highland Park head football coach Jermaine Monroe noticed a problem at practice.

“I started to realize some guys were coming to practice without cleats, some guys had tennis shoes,” Monroe said. “There was another group of guys that had brand new cleats, but there was kind of like a gap.”

So, he looked for a solution.

“My whole goal is I don’t want finances to be the reason why guys don’t play football,” he said.

Monroe connected with Sole Reason — a local nonprofit whose mission is to make sure all kids in Topeka have a pair of shoes.

“They had a need, and they knew if they had the right equipment, they could get more kids involved,” Jimmy Brough, a board member for Sole Reason, said. “We haven’t normally done cleats, but with this being a special cause, we took it before the board of directors and we voted unanimously to be able to help them.”

“I just told them, ‘Go home, tell your mom, tell your dad, tell your guardian, whoever’s at home, tell them they don’t have to buy cleats this year,’” Monroe said. “I just wanted to relieve them for one stress of spending money on cleats.”

“It just gives them opportunity,” Brough said. “And that’s what we all need. We need to be inclusive, we need to make sure that every kid has an opportunity to succeed not only in the classroom, but also in those other activities.”

Right now, the Scots have 36 players.

“It was enough to cover the whole team,” Brough said. “Plus I have some extra pairs, so some kids are kind of on the fence, getting their physicals. My goal this first year is to have 50 on the roster.”

With another financial barrier removed, Monroe hopes everyone who wants to gets the experience of playing high school football.

“I have open arms, an open door,” Monroe said. “We want all players to come no matter what the financial issue is. I just don’t ever want that to be an issue.”

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