LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – With fresh paint and a brand new scoreboard, Laken Cosby Jr. Field is one of a kind. The St. Stephen Bulldogs are the only youth football team in West Louisville to have their own football field.
The Bulldogs used to practice in Victory Park and their presence was credited with a drop of crime in the area. Eventually, they moved on and started renting fields from other teams.
“Now we've got a home, we've never had a home before,” longtime coach of the Bulldogs, Ty Anderson, said.
Donors and leaders lined up Wednesday night to cut the ribbon and officially open the plot of land owned by St. Stephen Church. Langston Gaither is the Executive Director of the Family Life Center across the street and said it was really a community effort.
“I knew that this would be a beacon of light in this community, St. Stephen has been trying to take care of this community and we wanted to do something with this green space,” Gaither explained.
Named after a Louisville civil rights leader, Laken Cosby Jr. Field will be more than a place to play ball. Coaches consider it a place where kids can learn their worth and their strength. Laken Cosby Jr's son, Dr. Kevin Cosby, Pastor at St. Stephen Church, told WHAS11 News that he’s honored to see his father's name become a symbol of perseverance.
“Hopefully kids today can look at him and say he overcame what he overcame, and if he could do what he did peeking through a crack, how much more should they be achieving with an open door,” Dr. Cosby said.
Gwen Howard said she is already seeing a difference in her son, who joined the team this year.
“It's very important to have not only people that care about my son as an athlete but they care about him as a person and he's learned a lot of life skills and the prayer part is just the best that I love, the spirituality, it keeps him connected to God.”
The Bulldogs are hoping to make a difference in the California Neighborhood, one play at a time.