New Augusta semi-pro basketball team preaches community outreach

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — Nearly every member of the newly-formed Georgia Soul team played D-1 college basketball, but the game is just a small part of what the semi-pro basketball team represents.

“It’s very exciting to be a part of a organization that’s looking to build the next generation,” assistant coach Michael Sweeper said. “We’re looking to be mentors in the neighborhoods for the younger ladies and we’re using basketball as a medium to just gain the attention of them.”

When the Georgia-Lina Lady Hurricanes team folded last year, Laney and Augusta State graduate Ernesia Wright saw an opportunity to start a new team for young women in the area.

“I’ve always had a vision to kind of do something with basketball but not just basketball, because our total focus is on getting out in the community,” Wright, the team’s owner said.

Just four games into the team’s first season, the Soul have already taken part in several events like kids basketball clinics, a car wash and other events with churches for local outreach.

“[The team] does give us an opportunity to continue to play — continue to be a part of the game that we love, but most importantly, to give back to the community,” Laney graduate Eboni Fields said. “To give the young kids someone to look up to.”

Wright also pushes the importance of education. She’s proud that all 13 of her players have undergraduate degrees and six are currently working on graduate degrees.

The Soul have a 3-1 record in their first season in the Women’s Blue Chip Basketball League. To buy tickets for games this summer or find information on upcoming community events, check out the team’s website.


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