The Chandler Bears have spent the last seven years dominating the youth football circuit in Arizona and the nation, winning several state titles and three at the national level.
Founded in 2012 by Chad Hubler, the Bears originated with the same color scheme and logo as Basha High School in Chandler, as they had hoped to develop a relationship with the school. But after a few coaching changes at Basha, Hubler rebranded his youth team and changed its colors to a vibrant lime green and black. He also swapped the Bear head logo to a claw.
Since the change, the Bears have become one of the most recognizable teams in the nation.
“The lime green is definitely fun to wear,” current Bears coach Kacey Allen said. “It really pops and is recognizable anywhere we go.”
Allen began coaching the Bears in 2015 when his son, Kacey Allen Jr., began playing tackle football. It was that same year the Hubler led his 12U team to the national title game in Orlando, Fla. The Bears fell in the championship game in 2015 but got redemption the following year and were crowned national champions. The team captured its second national title in 2017.
Last year, with Allen at the helm of the 9U team, the Bears organization captured its second national title. With the entire team returning for the 10U season in 2019, they are gearing up for yet another run at the title.
But unlike last season, they are getting their finances in order sooner rather than later.
“Now we know what we have and what we can do,” Allen said. “We knew we were good last year, but you never know at the national stage, so we were hesitant to go. But this year we know it’s something we are going to do, and we want to give the boys that opportunity.”
The Bears began fundraising for the trip to Orlando last year just 30 days before the start of the national tournament. While all players were able to make the trip, several parents were left behind.
Allen hopes that won’t be the case this season, as he and the rest of the organization have already begun fundraising in several different ways.
From t-shirts to cases of water bottles with the Bears’ logo, there are several merchandise items for sale on the team’s website to help with funds. They’ve also implemented a donation campaign for each player, where family and friends can compete to see who raises the most money for a specific player. However, all funds still go toward the entire team.
Individuals who donate also get put into a drawing to win an authentic Arizona Cardinals Pro Bowl cornerback Patrick Peterson jersey.
In addition, the Bears will be serving breakfast at the Applebees located on Gilbert and Baseline roads in Mesa on Oct. 6. The entire restaurant is reserved for the Bears, as parents and coaches will cook pancakes while the players serve in uniform.
“It will be a cool event,” Allen said. “We are just doing everything we can to make sure our boys have a great experience.”
Allen has high expectations for his team, as he hopes to implement a more complex offense that will further take advantage of their athletic ability. But with each player being honored by the AYF last season as a Scholar Baller, an award given to players who maintain a GPA of 3.0 or higher, he’s confident they will be able to pick up the new schemes with ease.
“They are all smart,” Allen said. “I think that also has a lot to do with how coachable they are. That, along with them being together for years now. It really helps.”
The Bears kicked off their 2019 season in the new American Youth Football Unlimited on Saturday, Sept. 14. To make a donation or attend one of the Chandler Bears’ upcoming events, visit ChandlerBears.com.