Wadsworth Youth Football was founded in 1962 by Ralph Kinnard. Ralph placed an ad in the local newspaper hoping to get around 25 kids to play football, and he received an unexpected response of 197 kids that signed up to play football. To ensure that Wadsworth Youth Football got off on the right foot, Kinnard took out a $5,000 loan to purchase equipment and get things started. At the age of 91, Ralph said, "I knew I couldn't just ignore them. I remember in high school I wanted to play football, but I couldn't because I was too small. In my mind every child who wants to play should have the change to play." These words are still a strong foundation of our program, and our belief that the sport should be available to all regardless of financial capabilities.
In the beginning there were four original teams including the Blue Devils, Green Dragons, Redskins, and the Panthers. It was an opportunity for the boys and girls of Wadsworth to come together. Throughout the years there were different team names that eventually shaped into the Browns and Redskins, and then in 2010, to unify the community into one, we changed our name to the Grizzlies.
In 2013 there was a decision to give back to the kids that have gone through our program. We created a special event to honor them at a benefit dinner and give scholarships to two finalists, one male and one female. We gave them each $2,500 as well as the other finalists $500 each. We have turned this into an annual dinner that is a nice event for the kids, their families, our sponsors, and our community. In order to make the sport available to all, we use some of the money that we raise to help kids that can't afford to play football for free.
To this day we are still making history as an organization. We enjoy working with these kids every day in providing a beneficial experience to them. We strive to achieve more and carry out our founder's vision daily, and that is why we are one big family at Wadsworth Youth Football!