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Murray Journal

Murray Youth Football program gives kids direction, goals and support

Apr 03, 2022 05:09PM ● By Ryanne Riet

Murray youth football aims to give kids life lessons through its community scholarships. (Photo courtesy Michelle Cross)

By Ryanne Riet | [email protected]

Murray has always had a strong sense of community and family within its borders. Murray residents pride themselves on coming together, building up the community, and practicing strong teamwork.  

The volunteers and coaches at Murray Youth Football know how important it is to establish these values in the younger generations of their community. They work to ensure that the players involved in the program have all the essential skills and equipment they need to be successful on and off the field.

Michelle and Shane Cross have been football parents for Murray Youth Football since 2000. Shane has been coaching for the program since 2016, and as of 2020 has been acting president. Michelle was appointed treasurer of the program in 2019, and as of 2020 has been acting vice president/treasurer.

“These kids are amazing kids. Team sports give them a sense of direction, brotherhood, family, and working together for one common goal,” Michelle Cross said. “Some aren’t even sure they want to play until it’s over, then they come back the next year because they feel like they belong and aren’t lost anymore.”

Thanks to sponsors some kids are able to receive scholarships that allow for all their fees to be paid for that season.

Murray Youth Football is a small district within Ute Conference. Ute Conference allots a certain amount each season for scholarships, so not every player that applies for a scholarship will get one. The volunteers, president and vice president of the Murray Youth Football program work most of the year to try and raise money for every player that applies for a scholarship.

“Our goal is to make sure every kid in need has an opportunity to play, whatever it takes,” Michelle Cross said.

The banner program allows business to become a sponsor of a child and have their business featured on a banner that will hang all season long. The sponsor’s business is also listed on the Murray Youth Football website.

“We believe that every child deserves a chance, no matter what their circumstance may be,” Michelle Cross said. “We have fundraising opportunities such as selling candy, barbecues and restaurant fundraisers.”

The goal of the organization is to teach the participants teamwork, diversity, tolerance, equality, good sportsmanship and goal setting. There have been many success stories over the years in the program. Some children who participate in the program not only learn the game of football, but they also learn how to navigate a little better in their own lives.

Volunteers, sponsors and the community help provide this opportunity.  

“Our football family is truly amazing. Players, parents, coaches, referees, grandparents and patrol officers. It’s truly one family,” Michelle Cross said. “You truly know that you are a part of something bigger, it goes beyond football.”

To sponsor a child in the Murray Youth Football program visit

In addition to the football program, Ute Conference has started a cheer program for siblings on the sidelines. Sisters who sit and watch the game can now suit up and cheer on their team.

“We want our community to know that all of our kids are safe, valued, taken care of and worth every single minute,” Michelle Cross said. “We are working hard to teach them not only football, but what it means to be responsible, accountable, trusted and loved.”