Alexander Mattison, 2016 San Bernardino High School (SBHS) graduate and current Minnesota Vikings running back, returns to the city to host two I AM GIFTED youth football camp sessions this Friday, July 2 at SBHS for 1st through 6th graders at 1 p.m., and 6th – 12th graders later at 5 p.m. Athletes for Life is still accepting sign-ups (details below).
Mattison is teaming up with NFL Play 60 – designed to educate, encourage and empower youth while teaching them the proper skills and techniques such as passing, catching, and running skills in a non-contact setting. Youth learn in an age-appropriate manner based on their cognitive and physical maturity.
By the end of camp, participants will have developed a better understanding of the fundamentals of blocking, catching, running, and passing. Mattison will also provide combine testing for all 7th through 12th graders, testing participants in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, and 3 cone drills.
A native of San Bernardino, Mattison himself started participating in the I AM GIFTED football camp when he was in 6th grade, attending each year until he graduated from SBHS. This Friday’s camp will serve as the launch of Mattison’s annual involvement.
“For me, it’s a no-brainer that I’m going to always come back and give back to San Bernardino and the community that will make an impact on the youth,” Mattison explained. “This is just one of many ways that I want to give back to the community to make sure that there’s something available for these kids to have an outlet and have something that they are passionate about – what better way than someone who is a San Bernardino native who walked in their shoes.”
Mattison, whose backstory is scarred with violence, drugs, and poverty, revealed his path to success was his focus on school, putting that above all other distractions. His efforts paid off – Mattison was a two-time all-state running back and named the county’s top student-athlete, not only for his field performance but also for his 4.6-grade point average in the classroom. He was a dual-immersion program student starting in the 1st grade and graduated with a seal of biliteracy. After rushing for back-to-back 2,000+ yard seasons for the Cardinals, Mattison chose to accept a full-ride football scholarship to Boise State University. There he led the Broncos in rushing his sophomore and junior seasons before leaving college early to enter the NFL Draft, selected by the Minnesota Vikings in their third-round pick.
“For a lot of the kids in the city, one thing that can help is being focused on your personal growth for the betterment of yourself and your family; and for me, if you put your family at the forefront of your decisions then it makes it a lot easier to make the right decision,” Mattison reflected. “It takes a lot of strength for these kids to go through a lot of different situations living in San Bernardino, but I’m testimony that it’s possible. Go find your why and put all your energy into making that dream become a reality.”
Slots are still available for this Friday’s sessions. The I AM GIFTED football camps are free of charge and open to all local youth ages six and up. For more information and to sign up please visit www.AthletesforLife.org or call Greg Bell at (888) 675-8884. SBHS is located at 1850 N. E St., San Bernardino, 92405.