Andrew Garcia in action - running the ball, getting and giving encouragement; and posing with the D1 Giants and Bucs after his first game

Andrew Garcia is special needs boy who always dreamed of playing football. The league was contacted by Coach Derek ( and Coach Mike, who wondered if it might be possible to let Andrew come down and maybe practice or stand on the sidelines. The D1 Bucs immediately embraced Andrew – and with the help of the league (and AAU insurance) got him into a few games. Andrew showed great speed, and many of the teams showed great compassion, helping Andrew succeed – he even “scored” a bunch of times. A great learning experience for all of us, eloquently summed up by this letter from his Mom:

On behalf of Andrew and the Garcia Family, we would like to extend our most sincere thanks to the League, the Coaches, and the Bucs Families. You all were instrumental in allowing us to learn some important life lessons through the pretext of Football.

Andrew had envisioned himself playing Football…We—his protective parents—had decided otherwise for his own safety…yet his personal Coach saw an opportunity for him and other kids…and you all allowed it to happen. Andrew will be forever changed by the experience he had on your team. He learned many things, one of which was that he can overcome and achieve with focus and dedication. He learned how hard it can be to be a real team player, while enjoying every minute of it. He also learned that you can lead others with your heart and a positive attitude, and it is just as valuable as leading with skill and physical strength. As his parents, Andrew has taught us many lessons over the years. However, this time he outdid himself. He taught us that we don’t need to limit him to protect him. And more importantly, that displaying his challenges to his peers can prove to be beneficial to more than just himself. We have always tried to insulate him in an effort to protect his confidence and self esteem. Your children have taught us that it is not always necessary, and that his peers CAN be his strongest allies. You have much to be proud of in your children! We hope that you and your children have also taken something positive from this experience. It has been our privilege to play on your team and our son will always be grateful to all of you. Thank you for embracing him and giving him your support. We hope in some way, he too, has touched your lives for the better as he does for us each and every day!

Gratefully yours, The Garcia Family