In April 2008, as a high school history teacher in Baltimore, Jamie Harrison led a group of students on a field trip to Virginia. While at a Civil War site, they were introduced to the sport of cricket, which was being demonstrated as a historic artifact. Jamie, his students, and the parent chaperones were invited to play, and they immediately fell in love with the game.
Upon returning to school, Jamie’s students asked him to moderate their new cricket club, and, over the next year, he watched American high school students go from cricket novices to cricket fanatics. He also learned the game as they did, and became their first cricket coach. By the spring of 2009, they were all playing hardball cricket against experienced junior players and loving it.
The school was closed in 2010, but rather than walk away from cricket, Jamie pushed on with a pilot program, sponsored by DreamCricket.com, where he delivered a cricket set and training to schools. The program went so well that Dream Cricket expanded their support to 100 sets. With that, the idea for the United States Youth Cricket Association was born.
Many individuals have, from time to time, attempted to start cricket in schools, but unsupported by any larger group, or national organizations, these visionaries were soon exhausted and ready to quit. Jamie’s idea was to create a national umbrella organization that could support and nurture these efforts; an organization that could share resources, best practices and administrative needs.
After spreading the word on the internet and social media, Jamie found that he wasn’t the only person to have this idea. So in April 2010, he, along with Edward Fox (Kansas) and Rakesh Kallem (Connecticut) joined together to create the United States Youth Cricket Association (USYCA), and were soon joined by many other like-minded individuals from across the country. By the end of that first year they had a constitution and officers, by the next year they had dozens of member organizations and were federally-recognized as a 501c (3) entity.
Since the launch of USYCA, the group has delivered sets and training to over 700 American schools, and brought the game to tens of thousands of children. USYCA is now beginning to create new summer youth cricket programs that will allow these children to play outside of school and receive proper coaching. This will be the start of what will eventually become new junior teams and leagues, all across America.
USCYA continues to grow through the hard work of many. Jamie believes this is the best vehicle to propel the United States into becoming a cricketing nation. Jamie had a vision for cricket in the USA, and he put his thought into action. In the short period since the inception of USYCA, the organization has moved from strength to strength. Its latest achievement is an endorsement by Reebok Cricket of the USA. Jamie’s foresight and never-say-die attitude is spearheading, what is fast becoming the hallmark for cricket in the USA.