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Nick Compton, the thoughtful Somerset and England cricketer, was in Los Angeles during the last week of October spreading the message of cricket with LA's Compton Cricket Club. This was Nick's second visit - he had coached the team previously in 2011.
The all-American Compton Cricket Club, founded by Ted Hayes and the noted movie producer Katy Haber, aims to promote civility and good citizenship through cricket in the inner city neighborhood of Compton.
Nick, 30, was impressed by Katy Haber's extraordinary passion and Ted Hayes' love of the game, but there was an emotional connection as well. Nick wrote in the Daily Mail that his grandfather, the legendary English cricketer and Arsenal football player, Denis Compton, had wanted to help the club. "My grandfather had real empathy for the underdog. In his autumn years he tried to promote the game to those who didn’t have the opportunity to play it. He even started developing the idea of a ‘Denis Compton Trust’, to finance expansion of the game to the underprivileged."
"He told my father about this ‘American cricket team’ and wondered how he could further its prospects."
“It was always my grandfather’s dream to give children who were deemed ‘at risk’ the opportunity to travel and go on tour and reap the benefits of cricket with its sportsmanship and camaraderie.
Nick, who did not make England's Ashes squad, has been spending his time on his favorite causes. He is heading off to India to work on the Frank Water project, which provides clean, sustainable water supplies to 250,000 people in India. And he spent the last week of October in Los Angeles' most dangerous parts. Through the Compton Cricket Academy in LA, he wrote, "I see an opportunity to raise awareness and a pathway to convert high achieving baseball players into cricketers with a competitive league here."
"Cricket has offered me a great way of life, it has been the catalyst for understanding and developing myself as an individual. This is what Ted Hayes and Katy Haber saw all those years back and it would be great to see it happen here."
Nick's second visit to Compton came a week after USACA CEO Darren Beazley's visit in October. After the visit, USACA announced that it would collaborate with Compton in the club's plans to launch a specialist Cricket Academy designed to support the next generation of youth in the Compton area.
"I am incredibly humbled at the wonderful work that the Compton Cricket Club has done over so many years and would like to take an active part in the formation of the Compton Cricket Academy," Beazley said.
In his article for Daily Mail, Nick expressed his support for Compton's academy initiative. "I want to actively help raise money and make the academy a reality. With the help of the ICC and USACA, more American-born kids and teenagers will become interested in this game. The next step is to help organise and participate in an international charity match hosted in LA at the beginning of next year, to launch the academy, and above all to raise cricket awareness in the USA. There has also been talk of a Hollywood vs Bollywood celebrity match next year."