MELVILLE, New York -- For students participating in high school sports, the possibilities are endless, but so are the challenges that can keep their dreams out of reach.
That's where About U Outreach comes in.
In 2017, co-founders George Lanese and Alex Coombs created the organization to provide academic instruction, physical preparation, sports-specific coaching, and social media marketing services to youth organizations and high school students.
"It's never too late to start," said Bangaly Kante, who got involved with About U in 2020 and will be attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges as a cornerback this fall.
"I had never played football before, and they really helped me. The training and fundamentals led me to be able to go to college," Kante said of About U Outreach.
Kante, along with his cousins Omar Kante and Steph Berte, went through the process together.
Before joining About U, they were struggling students and developmental football players. After just one year in the About U program and attending the inaugural Elite V Showcase, they have each committed to four-year schools to play football.
"We were like the three musketeers," said Omar Kante, who will be attending Utica College as a linebacker this fall.
"We woke up every day at 6 a.m. to get to work. We were just hungry. During corona, it was a tough time for a lot of people, but we kept it pushing," Kante said.
The Elite V Showcase started in 2020 with the mission of helping diverse and lower-income young athletes come to the attention of recruiters from top schools around the country.
"We wanted to give them hope and give them the chance to still do what they wanted to do even though they didn't have a real season because of the pandemic," said Patrick Godfrey, director and co-founder of Elite V Showcase.
The goal is to bridge the opportunity gap through career/academic preparedness initiatives, recruiting services, and highly competitive showcases.
"Kids in this area of the country of the Northeast are just typically not heavily recruited, have talent. They have incredible potential, but they might not have the right eyes on them," said Godfrey, who had the same experience growing up on Long Island, forcing him to figure out the recruiting process while he was in high school.
Godfrey is looking forward to hosting more Elite V showcases, where students across the country can benefit from resources that target academics, community, careers, recruiting and fundamentals.
"If you get New York City kids, Long Island kids all together with the best of the best and make sure colleges around the country have access to that, they're really going to like what they find," said Godfrey.
Contact Community Journalist Alex Ciccarone