Though the fields at Hoag Performance Center are quiet until practices resume after training camp, last Monday night, it was bustling as the team hosted their 2019 Rookie Huddle.
Put on with the help of San Manuel Casino, the evening brought Chargers partners and the rookie class together for a night of mingling and networking.
"These events are really awesome," mentioned Christopher Engels, Owner of the Law Office of Chris Engels. "It's great networking. Being part of the Chargers family, they really make (it) feel like your home. You get a chance to meet the players on an intimate level and the whole staff is really great."
"When you think about it, there's not many people who get the chance to come out here on an off night," Denny O'Leary, Chargers Vice President of Corporate Partnerships said. "The players (are here) and it's a great setting and great environment. It's an unbelievable opportunity to open our doors and let people see what the Chargers are all about."
Those in attendance were also treated to a Q&A session with Chargers running back Justin Jackson and former wide receiver Greg Camarillo, who discussed what they recall about their first seasons in the league. It was a great learning experience for both the Chargers partners as well as their newest team members.
Presented by San Manuel Casino, those in attendance at Hoag Performance Center got to spend an evening with the team's rookie class and hear from running back Justin Jackson and former Chargers wide receiver Greg Camarillo on their first seasons in the league.
Along with the Q&A, sitting at tables on the patio overlooking the fields, those in attendance got to learn more about what it is each other does. As Cortez Broughton attested, it was a great chance to learn from business professionals and their paths that got them to where they are today.
"I try to get to know their background; what got them here," Broughton said. "You never know who you're going to meet, and you can make lifelong friends no matter what your age is. My father always told me to take something from someone. It's a great networking opportunity."
But above all, the evening was all about family. Since arriving in May, the rookies are part of the Chargers family, and those who partner with the Bolts are joined into it as well. As a family-run business, making all extensions of the organization part of the family is key to the team's philosophy and holding an event like the Rookie Huddle was special and fulfilling for all involved.
"It says a lot about the Chargers (because) people talk about family and you can tell it's real here," Easton Stick mentioned. "People are passionate about this organization and then obviously, the Chargers family giving back and bringing people in and showing them a little bit behind the scenes. It's pretty cool to get a chance to do something like that and it's fun being part of an organization like this."
"This is our second year partnering with the Chargers (and) last year was terrific," added Jerry Ardizzone, CEO American West Restaurant. "Certainly, (the Chargers) did very, very well at 12-4, but more importantly, they have the same type of values that we do as a company. It's like a family. They run their (business) as a family, and it's very much about the community and giving back to the community. It's what we're all about, too…. I can't speak highly enough of how the Chargers have treated us as corporate sponsors."