"Write on Sports" Youth Program
Covering Ironmen Exhibition

Ironmen defender Oral Bullen (third from left) participated in an on-location "Write on Sports" event at the Newark Public Library in February (Photo courtesy of Newark Public Library)
Ironmen Playing Intersquad Friendly at Prudential Center on Wednesday

Newark, N.J. (Monday, March 16, 2009) – When the New Jersey Ironmen welcome students from the Newark Public Schools District to Prudential Center this Wednesday for an intersquad exhibition, an inspiring group of young journalists from the “Write on Sports” afterschool program will be in attendance to cover the game. With officials from the City of Newark on hand, this friendly contest will begin at 11:00 a.m. with a special health curriculum organized by Fan4Kids.

“The ‘Write on Sports’ program is an innovative and creative way to give insight into the journalistic aspects of the world of sports,” Ironmen General Manager Tony Novo. “We are very pleased to continue our relationship with the program and the Newark Public Schools District.”

When the Ironmen players hit the turf Wednesday for their friendly exhibition, the students of “Write on Sports” will join members of the local media by sitting on the Ironmen Press Row. At the conclusion of the matinee, they will head to the Prudential Center Media Room for an impromptu press conference with Ironmen Head Coach Omid Namazi and players Oral Bullen, Evan McNeley and Jerrod Laventure. The aspiring writers will then address Namazi and his players in preparation for reports that they are writing for the program. The whole press conference will also be videotaped by members of New Jersey media outlet, Sports in the Garden State.

“'Write on Sports' loves our relationship with Prudential Center, Jeff Vanderbeek, Mike Gilfillan and the New Jersey Ironmen,” program founder Byron Yake commented. “Jeff is a very important reason why the program has been so successful and continues to grow.”

Yake, a retired Associated Press sports writer, founded “Write on Sports” in 2006. The program was created to assist students in improving their writing skills while learning about journalism. There are currently three aspects to the program: summer camps, afterschool programming and on-location events such as this Ironmen game. Two camps are planned for this summer in Newark, and anyone interested in acquiring more details can call Yake at 973-943-8673.

“Giving young students the opportunity learn how to write through athletics and sports writers is a wonderful way to get them enthusiastic about telling a story on paper or a computer,” Yake continued. “That’s what ‘Write on Sports’ is all about.”

The Ironmen Healthy Kids Day program is designed to give kids an understanding about the importance of a healthy lifestyle as well as give them the building blocks to make informed decisions about their diet and activities. The educational programming will be a joint effort with FAN4Kids, a New Jersey based nonprofit organization that provides weekly interactive fitness and nutrition education to schools in Newark, Hoboken and New York City. FAN4Kids instructors have been educating and empowering thousands of children and their parents through its school-based program over the last five years. The role models for these lessons will be the Ironmen players, coaches and staff, and the team and FAN4Kids will be conducting activities throughout the game that will reinforce important messages about fitness and nutrition. Nutritional lunches will be available to those kids in attendance, and students will also get an exclusive opportunity to get a behind-the-scenes look at the New Jersey Ironmen and Prudential Center.

Following the school day exhibition, the Ironmen will get the opportunity to gain some ground on the first place Milwaukee Wave in front of their home crowd at the Rock this Sunday, March 22nd, when they host the Wave at 1:00 p.m. New Jersey will be wearing special green jerseys in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, and all jerseys will be branded with the Grassroot Soccer (GRS) logo. All jerseys will be sold through a silent auction during the game, with GRS receiving the proceeds. GRS founder and Survivor-Africa winner Ethan Zohn will be at the game while former Cosmos captain Werner Roth will be the Ironmen honorary captain during the opening kick ceremonies. Tickets for all Ironmen contests can be purchased today by calling 1-800-IRONMEN.

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