Wilmington Police Department recruiting coaches for kids’ wrestling, soccer leagues

PortCityDaily.com is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Jaheim Marshall throws for net during a Police Athletic League game. He was this year's regional free throw champion, having scored 18 in a row at the state championships in Raleigh. Photo by Christina Haley.
The PAL program, which has served the Wilmington community with basketball leagues, has added soccer and wrestling. Photo by Christina Haley.

The Wilmington Police Department is seeking volunteers to help coach two new sports programs recently added to its activities league for kids.

Olympic wrestling and soccer have been added to the Police Activities League (PAL) program, according to police spokeswoman Linda Rawley.

The newly added programs are part of a $71,000 grant from the N.C. Governor’s Crime Commission to provide activities for at-risk youth, Rawley said. The program is for children ages eight to 12.

“The agency created the PAL program more than seven years ago to offer a citywide basketball league for elementary aged students,” Rawley said. “The PAL program encourages positive relationships between law enforcement and youth in the City of Wilmington.”

Officers and civilian employees help to coordinate and coach the sports teams, Rawley said.

According to Malcolm Phelps, grants manager with the Wilmington Police Department, the new sports were picked because the police department felt there was an interest and need for wrestling and soccer in the community it serves.

“Soccer isn’t as served in the area as it is in other communities and wrestling programs are limited,” Phelps said.

With wrestling, Phelps said there are not as many local school coaches and those few coaches don’t have as many feeder programs for the sport compared to others.

If enough coaches join the two new sports programs, practices could begin at the start of the next school year, Phelps said.

The program recently changed its name from the Police Athletic League to the Police Activities League to support future expansion of the PAL program beyond sports, according Phelps. The expansion is still in discussion with the police department’s planning board, he added.

The police department is currently recruiting coaches. Anyone interested should contact the Wilmington Police Department at 910-343-3608 or email pal@wilmingtonnc.gov for more information.

Read previous PAL program coverage: