ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Along Horseshoe Lake Rd you will find a small building that looks abandoned in Granite City. The interior isn’t much, but it’s a place where athletes from both sides of the river can call home. It’s a facility for baseball players and boxers, but it’s also home to Elite Speed.
Elite Speed is an athletic training program that focuses, of course, on perfecting your speed.
When Cameron James launched Elite Speed in 2018, he did so to give young athletes a chance to improve their athletic skills and find more opportunities in the sport.
“The biggest thing that made me want to start Elite Speed was that when I was growing up there was nothing around to really improve my athletic development or to improve my speed,” James said.
James was a two-sport athlete, playing football and running track for Edwardsville High School from 2008 to 2012. He was also a four-time All-Great Lakes Valley Conference wide receiver and a track and field star All-American for McKendree University.
“Nobody knows who you are, you’re making this transition from a student, to a college athlete, now to the profession,” James said. “You really have to start somewhere where people have to really believe in you.”
In addition to training kids to improve their speed, James started an event called Skills Saturdays for soccer players during the offseason in 2020 at O’Fallon Sports Park. He also helped to make the program flourish.
“Me and my team, Sherran Boyd, Pierre Tucker, Dez Chappelle and Poe, all wanted to come up with something that kids could go out to a park and play,” James said. “We all know kids can go to a gym and play AAU basketball, not too often you can go out to the park and see kids hanging out and doing football stuff.”
Elite Speed flourished and attracted many high school athletes to the area. It has even contributed to the success of local athletes like Philadelphia Eagles defensive back Craig James, Canadian soccer player Dan Williams III, and Missouri freshman soccer player Luther Burden III.
“Just seeing these guys succeed, seeing what we teach unfold and being able to do it from their perspective of schools or universities, just seeing them succeed based on what they’re learning, that’s is just love to me,” Elite Speed coach Terrance Poe said.
Poe has contributed extensively to Elite Speed, including on Skill Saturdays with his Trenches Reloaded program. Every day, he gives his heart to the children on and off the pitch.
“For us, it’s always bigger than football,” Poe said. “We teach a lot about being able to communicate properly, whether it’s ‘I’m not coming or I’m not coming’, communicating properly to help these guys through their college selection process, their recruiting process, whatever. they walk through the house, sit down having conversations about life, about decision making, about peer pressure, we talk about all those things all the time.
In the fall of 2020, James moved Elite Speed to the new facility on Horseshoe Lake Rd. From there, the program took off and grew into a life-changing village for children on and off the field. .
“It’s more than football to them,” said Edwardsville High School athlete Dalton Brown. “I got faster and faster thanks to them.”
James runs different classes throughout the week, from speed classes for athletes to training for soccer players. He even created a 7-on-7 travel team in February 2022 for high school football players to compete against other teams across the country.
“I think impacting the lives of these kids is everything,” James said. “I’m not doing this for me, knowing I can change a kid’s life and just knowing he’s confident he ran faster than the last time he was here, knowing he has felt the difference on the pitch before coming here. It’s just a good feeling to see these kids happy.
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