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USVI Hopes to Take NFL By Storm By Developing Local Talent

Invite-only may scare some, but “The Foundation,” the organization behind new sports mentorship clinic “The Factory,” anticipates it will single-out the best amongst youth athletes in the U.S. Virgin Islands this summer.

Composed of six professionals, from former collegiate athletes to NFL coaches, this multi-dimensional group says it has committed to bringing more than just sports to the territory, but a movement. A lifestyle of excellence, “creating a livelihood” that will allow others to utilize this “roadmap of success” is how Delorean Walls, coach, mentor, pillar and consultant of The Factory described their aims. June 20-27, 2022 will kick off the football camp with free cleats, swag packs, and more for the promising group of young Virgin Islanders.

Most of the six met each other only in December 2021 to launch The Factory for junior high and high school athletes on St. Thomas. Julian West, the visionary behind The Factory, approached the other members about “getting people to believe again” in living their destiny through faith.

As the Dominican Republic is often seen as the mecca of Major League Baseball players, the foundation hopes to be the next “system” that develops U.S. Virgin Islands youth for the pros. West, a former full-scholarship collegiate athlete said, “Until you see it, it can seem unreachable,” retelling his story from the hoods of Wisconsin to America’s Paradise, as the only resident of the U.S. Virgin Islands amongst the founding members.

Through this foundry and the intention of moving in “grace and love” there is hope for more Tim Duncans, Raja Bells, and Aliyah Bostons, all hailing from three small islands in the middle of the Caribbean.

Keondra Mallard, also known as the “Speed Coach,” has been featured on Fox, CBS, NBC and NY Weekly and has built her career off her name. “I want to inspire young women to not only be good athletes, but good businesswomen creating generational wealth,” said Mallard.

One of the most tenured of the group, Kentay Varnell, coach, mentor, pillar, and agent, sees himself as an urban Robin Hood, taking from the rich and giving to the poor, a wealth of knowledge. He hopes to instill values of not only focusing on being the best athlete, but also utilizing the athletic opportunity to help one’s family and to build up one’s community. Varnell has worked with the NFL and NBA athletes throughout his career and continues to connect talent from around the USA.

While Avery Rhenwick, philanthropist and entrepreneur, said “onboarding right away” was not in question as his apparel line, “4th N Long,” has a similar value system, donating 20 percent of proceeds to charity.

Intentions of inspiring “unity, purpose, strength, and coming together to reach a goal” were Wall’s reason why he said yes to this project in the USVI — a place he has yet to visit despite his long-term commitment to the territory.

Though Maurice Drayton, newly hired Las Vegas Raiders special teams coach, was unable to join the live interview, he is no stranger to the territory. Drayton has a home on St. Thomas and several commercial properties, touting his commitment to investing in the U.S. Virgin Islands. West concluded that Drayton also sees the potential for this project to instill legacy-building within young Virgin Islander minds.

For more information on The Factory, contact Julian West at 517-488-7332 or visit their Facebook page.

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