On a snowy Sunday, December 27, NFL Pro Bowler Matt Overton walks out onto Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin for pregame warm ups. His Tennessee Titans are playing the Green Bay Packers, and through the NFL’s My Cause My Cleats initiative, he is wearing his heart on his feet.
Overton wore custom Tracy High cleats, which displayed art that celebrated THS history on a National TV stage pregame on the most legendary field in football on a December evening, in the snow, under the lights. It was an instantly iconic moment for Tracy High Football history. By doing this, he showed that he will always have a lot of love for the Bulldogs and Tracy.
Overton has built a successful professional football career as a long snapper in places like Washington, Indiana, Florida, and Tennessee. But he will never let anyone forget the pride that he has for Tracy, California, and how much he loves Tank Town.
One thing that is immediately clear about Overton is that he will forever cherish the memories he made as a Tracy High football player. “I wish many of you could experience football games like back in the day,” he said, “The old bleachers, the smell of the Heinz factory, the dirt track, and packed seats. It was so much fun playing under the lights on Fridays!”
My Cause My Cleats provided another opportunity for him to show that pride. My Cause My Cleats is a program where NFL players are given the opportunity to design custom cleats benefiting a charitable cause of their choice. Overton designed three pairs for three different games this past 2020 season. One of the pairs was the Tracy High cleats.
Through the cleats, Overton was able to celebrate Tracy as well as give back to it. He sucessfully did both.
The art on the beautifully designed football footwear contains several references to the rich legacy of Tracy High football. Overton has always loved THS football history. “It goes way back and to see the names on the Peter B Kyne trophy, the championship awards and the old photos is just really cool to me,” he recalled.
Peter B Kyne’s name is on the cleats, as well as Wayne Schneider, the legendary THS football coach who the football stadium is named after. But maybe the most important name on the cleats to Overton is former THS football player Nick Eddy.
“I always looked up to Nick Eddy who went to play at Notre Dame and then to the NFL with the Detroit Lions. I always used his story as motivation for me to chase my dreams of playing in the NFL,” he said.
Fast forward to the present day, and Overton is living out his NFL dream. But, in one of the NFL’s most iconic stadiums on a snowy day in Green Bay, he showed that where he comes from is just as important to him now as when he was a high schooler.
After the snowy game at Lambeau where he wore the cleats, Matt Overton auctioned them off to benefit the McHenry house, one of Tracy’s most inspiring charities, and an an organization that he feels passionate about. “The McHenry house has been helping families for decades,” Overton said, “Without their help, these families would be displaced and wouldn’t have the opportunity to get back on their feet. Last year I spent time there as a volunteer and got to meet the families staying there. My heart was touched and I wanted to do more to help.”
Overton ended up raising just under 2000 dollars for the McHenry house. His celebration of Tracy High Football and his fundraiser for the Tracy community were both a success.
And Overton is not stopping anytime soon. He has another cleat fundraiser in progress, this time an auction, for Head Down Eyes Up, a foundation that benefits children facing difficult circumstances. They provide assistance directly and through partnership with other organizations. You can bid on the cleats on headdowneyesup.com. The fundraiser ends February 8.
He also hopes to continue to give back to Tracy. In the past, he has held events in Tracy through his Pros 2 Youth event. “My Pros 2 Youth even gives me the opportunity to bring other pros to campus and host a youth football camp for free. I hope to bring it back soon.” he said.
Through his successful NFL career and his heart of gold, Matt Overton has made a name for himself as one of Tracy High’s most impressive alumni. He has made himself an important part of that Tracy High Football history that he has always loved, which is something he has always wanted to do. He would love to cement his place as a Tracy High football legend right alongside one of his heroes, Nick Eddy. ” I hope my jersey can hang next to his one day to inspire the generations behind me” he said.
Hopefully we can bring him back to THS soon to do just that.