Parents Save Football Season

August 9, 2017

Thanks to an assist from its team mothers, Novato High School in California will be able to field a football team this fall. According to The Mercury News, Novato needed 20 to 25 players in order to begin the season, but low turnout at optional practices during the summer left the team's season in doubt.

Rene Portillo and Jody Kuehn, two mothers of local football players, led the efforts to keep the team going.

“Jody and I were the varsity team moms and we found out there wasn’t going to be a team and we said ‘We’re not letting this happen,’” Portillo said. “So, for the last week we’ve been talking to media and sending lots of emails, asking lots of people to email, inundating social media with networking information, and rallying families and boys to get here. We had a party at my home on Friday night to get morale going and recount the numbers over and over again. It’s been a stressful week.”


Their efforts paid off. In addition to the recruiting of about a dozen new players who showed up for the first practice, team numbers were bolstered by the return of several players who were out of town during the summer workouts.

“Our parents did a great job with social media, promoting how important Novato football is to the community and their kids and making contacts with student athletes who were alumni,” Novato assistant principal Greg Fister said. “A couple people from the 2007 (state title game) team are interested in being assistant coaches. Our parents did a great job promoting and just sharing how important football is to our community.” 

Kevin Keenan, the new head football coach for Novato, said that the team had a great deal of hard work ahead of them, as well as adjustment to a new method of training.

“The goal today is getting caught up,” said Keenan, who teaches physical education at Novato and has also spent time as an assistant coach at the freshman/sophomore level. “They are behind, a lot of them, with all the changes that happened. We’re teaching offense and defense and just the structure of how our practice works. There’s probably going to be some growing pains because it’s very different from what they’ve been doing the past couple of years.”

For the parents, though, the first practice was a chance to enjoy the fruits of their labor.

“It’s been difficult,” Kuehn said. “It’s been all we’ve been eating, sleeping, thinking about, you know, just to be able to have our boys play their last two years of high school. … We’re really excited. This is a huge victory for us.”

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