Boss Nation Cheer Organization competed in the United Youth Football League National competition in Tampa, Florida on Dec. 9 where two teams placed first and one placed third.
The organization has four teams: 6U, 10U, 12U and a co-ed All-Star team. Each of the teams qualified for the national competition. Both the 10U and All-Star teams took first place and the 6U team placed third at the competition. This is the team’s second year competing in the UYFL national competition.
Boss Nation was created in September 2022 and was co-founded by Zenia Boyd and Elayne Evans who are both cheerleading coaches at Homewood-Flossmoor High School. The organization is based at H-F.
Boyd and Evans saw a need for a youth league cheerleading team that could develop boys and girls mentally and physically. They felt it was necessary to prepare younger athletes to cheer at a high school level.
“We get a lot of novice, inexperienced girls and boys that want to be a cheerleader… so this is their first exposure to cheer and to being a part of a program,” Evans said. “So, it’s a lot that I feel like the coaches pour into each individual girl to make sure that they can reach their highest potential.”
The cheer season began in September and the team competed in three competitions before nationals. To qualify for the national competition, each Boss Nation team competed at a regional competition at Willowbrook High School in November. The 14U and All-Star teams took first place, 10U took second place at regionals.
Preparing for the national competition was a rigorous process that required two to five days of practice per week. The coaches also incorporated more team bonding for the girls to get to know their teammates and to build the girls up to mentally be ready to compete.
“Practice doesn’t make perfect, but we had to build their mindset into practicing to compete and that made our practices rigorous,” Boyd said. “ We practiced our performance, so we had to practice our stunts, our jumps, our tumbling in order to get prepared for the competition.”
The coaches are elated to see the hard work pay off at the national competition. They are also glad that the cheerleaders had experience of forming friendships on the team.
“Because we prepare them over the course of … two months that we have them, we get them to lock in and believe that they can. They believe that they can do it,” Boyd said. “Getting them to have that positive mindset is key and from there, they just take that and believe because they know we work as a family and they love that.”
Parents of the cheerleaders are also proud of the hard work their children have accomplished.
Kai Harris completed her first season with Boss Nation cheering as a base on the 10U team. Her mother, Kristen Harris could not be more proud of her and the entire team. The experience competing in Florida was rewarding for Harris and her daughter.
“Even with Kai, I see how she has grown tremendously since the start of the season. Just to see the dedication and the commitment and then for them to see the end result of that, I think that that’s a lifelong lesson,” Kristen Harris said.
Harris commends the entire Boss Nation organization on the family they’ve built and the work they put in to accomplish the wins.
“I really love the program that [the coaches] built,” Harris said. “It’s more than just a cheer program, it really is a mentoring program. They really are building up young ladies and it’s not just about cheer, but it’s about the overall person.”