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'We've invigorated Kiel': Alumni Association boosting popularity of Kiel youth and high school football

Posted at 12:27 PM, Aug 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-17 13:27:50-04

KIEL, Wis. (NBC 26) — In a city of under 4,000 people, football is a big part of the community. And one association of about seven people is playing a significant role in keeping the interest high.

As a former Kiel football player himself, David Meyer says he started the alumni association so he could keep playing.

"Our goal was to play alumni football, have a tackle game, have some fun, have some buddies," he said. "It ended up being much more."

After over 2,000 spectators attended, Meyer says the Kiel Football Alumni Association was born over 20 years ago.

"We've raised probably over $160,000, and the majority of that has already been given back to the community through our youth program and our high school program," he said.

Gathering money from sponsors and former students, the association now does a golf outing instead.

"Through our playing the football games, having the golf outing, having youth football, I think we've invigorated Kiel," Meyer said.

Assistant Coach and KFAA member Jay Binversie says their work has prompted more volunteers and coaches to help. And every year, the association honors a special fan.

"We make sure that the football players come to the outing," he said. "They have to wear their jerseys. And the reason we do that is so that they get to feel part of the family and understand it's a fraternity."

And he says some items like helmets cost around $400.

"We need extra funding in order for the kids to have the safe equipment to play football," Binversie said.

The KFAA also sparked a youth football program that's garnered more interest in the sport.

"Kids that play in high school, they must have a good football experience as a youth," Head Coach David Esswein said. "And if they don't, they're not playing in high school."

As Kiel prepares for their first game this week…

"They're not just doing this for themselves," Binversie said. "They're doing it for the whole entire community."

"The program has really engulfed the community and really engulfed the parents as part of the program, and I think that's what makes Kiel special," Meyer said.

Kewaunee versus Kiel will be broadcast on the Sports Showdown on WACY/TV32 on Thursday, August 18.