Rockford Renegades raising money for Nationals

Rockford, Ill. (WIFR) Normally, teams can say "We're going to Disney World" after they've won the National Championship, but for the Rockford Renegades, they're first just looking to get there.

"It's my first time going to Disney World to Florida, so I'm very excited for it," said Tyrone Thomas, head coach for the Rockford Renegades Jr. Pee-Wee team. "Excited for myself personally, excited for the kids. This is a once in a lifetime event."

After an 11-0 season this year, the Jr. Pee-Wee football team claimed the Pop Warner Division 3 State championship, qualifying them for Nationals in December. But a trip this big comes with a price tag.

"We want everybody to go, we have 31 kids so we have to raise $31,000," said Thomas.

Pop Warner is a scholastic program, meaning the athletes have to keep up their grades in order to play. So parents say all that hard work deserves to be rewarded.

"It's just really exciting to see the kids get to go this far and getting recognition from the community, so I'm really impressed with the program," said Amy Paravala, a Rockford Renegade parent.

By getting to Orlando, these kids will have the chance to play at the wide world of sports complex, with the games airing on ESPN.

"I've been to Florida but I've never been there for a football tournament, so it's crazy," said Arlin Moore, a Rockford Renegade player.

But these players say they couldn't have done it without all of the help along the way.

"I would say my coaches because they lead us the right way," Moore said.

" I thank my parents for letting me do this team," said David Ballaid, another Rockford Renegade player. "If it wasn't for my parents I wouldn't be here."

So with under a month until their road to Disney, they're hoping they're one step closer to bringing yet another title back to the Stateline.

"It's a big deal for the Rockford area, it's something really positive here and I'm very happy to be a part of it," Thomas said.

The Renegades have a GoFundMe page set up, and they're hosting another fundraiser Monday night from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Blackhawk Athletic Club with a dinner and raffle to go towards the proceeds.

Here is a link to the GoFundMe page:
https://www.gofundme.com/rockfordrenegadestodisney