Gustavo Silva and Shaun Gayle inspire the next generation at Chicago Bears’ Mini Monsters clinic

As the 350 children sat on the grass at the Etihad Stadium for a Chicago Bears Mini Monsters clinic, they didn’t quite know what to expect.

But the sound of kids chatting soon faded as the NFL club’s Head of Youth Football, Gustavo Silva, charged onto the field.

Delivering a motivating and engaging speech, he inspired all the children to put in 100% effort as they took their first dive into the world of American Football.

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Teaming up with 1985 Super Bowl winner and Chicago Bears alumni, Shaun Gayle, Silva utilised his palpable charisma to encourage themes of teamwork, discipline and having fun.

And in the middle of proudly cheering the kids on and coaching them through their drills, he took some time out to share his positive message.

Speaking exclusively to Sporf, he said: “We feel that American football is the greatest team sport there is. And we also think that if given the opportunity to play the game, everybody will love it.

“So far, that has proven to be true. In the tour we did last year in the UK, the tour that we did earlier this year in Spain, and our second UK tour, we’ve never had a bad clinic; every child has been able to participate. So, I think so far, our theories have proven to be true.”

With such a endearing personality, the American puts a smile on the face of everyone he works with, including one of the finest players to ever pick up a ball.

Shaun Gayle loved working with Gustavo Silva at the Chicago Bears’ Mini Monsters clinic

In his incredible career, Gayle reached the pinnacle of the sport, proudly lifting the Super Bowl trophy above his head. But he’s never met someone quite like Silva.

The former defensive back laughed: “When you talk to him, you think you’re talking to two different people. I mean, one is talking about the value of this whole thing. The other one is getting the crowd cheered on. It’s great, he’s a real motivator. The Bears are very fortunate to have him.”


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For the kids participating in the clinic, the prospect of meeting Gayle was nothing short of a dream come true.

Henrietta from St Johnstone’s RC Primary School said: “I’ve just met him. He said I have ‘good skills’.

“I think it’s an honour to be here and to get to meet someone who’s come from Chicago, all the way to Manchester to see us.

“I was one of the first girls in year one who wanted to be interested in football. It’s amazing; I really love it so much.”

Her friend Emmanuel added: “It’s been a good experience, especially the tackling. I really enjoyed that bit.”

The kids won’t leave the Mini Monsters clinic without a souvenir

While all the kids had an amazing time, Silva was on the hunt for the three who tried the hardest, to receive a very special reward.

He declared: “We have three miniature football that will be autographed with a personal message from Shaun Gayle. In addition, all the kids are going to get a special edition autograph card that Shaun Gayle is gonna sign. So everyone’s gonna leave here today, having had a great experience and having had a great souvenir from today, something that they can look back on years later. They can remember what a great time they had with the Mini Monsters, The Chicago Bears and Shaun Gayle.”

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Unsurprisingly watching all the children run around brought back a lot of memories for Silva, who credits the sport for the brilliant life he’s led.

He laughed: “I started playing American football when I was probably about the same age as these kids. I always liked it. I just had a lot of fun and a lot of success with it.

“It’s been a tremendous part of my life. I’ve been a coach for 30 years; I’ve coached youth football. I’ve also coached other sports and worked as a physical education teacher. All the things I took from the sport have allowed me to succeed in life.

“I wouldn’t be here doing this amazing job if it wasn’t for the lessons that I learned in this sport. So I feel an obligation to give back and to give kids the same access to this amazing game that I got. So that’s why we’re out here.”

Gustavo Silva loves to coach at The Chicago Bears’ Mini Monsters camp

Despite touring the world doing the job he loves, Silva never grows tired of seeing the impact his beloved team is making.

He smiled: “I’ve done hundreds of these clinics, and it never ceases to amaze me. It’s great to watch the kids grow in confidence. When they leave at the end of the clinic, they’re different to when they got here. Their confidence grows, their enthusiasm grows, their mind opens up to the sport of American football and their love for the Chicago Bears increases. So it’s great to have them leave here with that positive experience and that open door to many possibilities.

With passion racing through his veins, Silva only had one thing left to say: “Go Bears.”

Featured Image Credit: James Sweetnam