Source: Sherman Publications

Millstream
Goss family takes on ‘Friday Night’

by Wendi Reardon

January 29, 2014

Clarkston native Andrew Goss had his own opinion as viewers continue weigh in on the controversial new series "Friday Night Tykes"

But for Goss, his wife Shakia, and their eight children it's different - they were part of the documentary series on the Esquire Network.

"Friday Night Tykes" follows five families on and off the field during the 2013 season in San Antonio. Each one with a football player on one of the five teams in the Texas Youth Football Association.

One of the teams is the Predators, which Andrew Goss, Jr. plays on.

During the 10-show series, the Goss family was introduced in the third episode, which aired Jan. 21.

"I was surprised how much attention it has gotten and how much controversy it has gotten," said Andrew. "They see this and it brings out all the stuff they like and they don't like about it."

He added not everybody is like the teams and families introduced to viewers in the first two episodes. Also, introduced to viewers are what teams participating in the TYFA have faced with tough coaches, illegal recruiting and extreme practices to name a few.

"From watching the first two episodes it is a pretty accurate portray of what happens," Andrew said. "These people were behaving like that before the show, they will behave like that after the show. The crew did a good job to make sure they did not alter the effect of people’s personalities and behavior. You might not believe that someone is like that but that is exactly how it is."

Andrew also noted some of the comments about the series have been the coaches are too brutal or too rough. He explained that is why he will not let his kids play for those coaches.

"You have to be careful what team you let your kids play for and those people deserve the harsh criticism. That's why you don't see the Predators a lot in the first two episodes," he explained.

The Goss family wasn't the focus until a few games into the season.

"They kind of got to know us by accident," Andrew said. "We just happened to be on one of the teams they were going to follow. They happened to fall in love with our family and decide to follow us."

Though the Goss family was followed by cameras and had microphones attached to them they didn't notice them.

"We have eight kids so that is what our main focus has always been," Andrew said. "We are used to the chaos. With eight kids you are used to things happening."

Andrew and Shakia moved from Michigan to Texas a little over a year ago for better opportunities for their children.

"I grew up in Clarkston," Andrew said. "I love Clarkston. It was very difficult to leave because I had a lot invested in Clarkston."

The children participated in the Clarkston Chiefs program before they moved and enjoyed the experience with the Chiefs.

"It is by far the best sports program I have been a part of," Andrew added. "We started looking around for a football program down here."

They found a lot - within his son's third grade class students were in six different football teams.

"We picked one that happened to be one of five teams the Esquire Network were choosing to follow for a program to look at youth football," he said.

San Antonio was chosen because of the competitiveness and the talent to come out of there.

Andrew added the Chiefs program build a great foundation for his sons on how to play football.

"Chiefs is not a wimpy program," he said. "It is a tough organization with great coaches. I wish we had those coaches down here. Down here it is about speed and player development. My kids have all gotten faster down here. You have to be because everyone else is fast. My boys happen to be really fast. My son, Andrew, was easily one of the fastest kids on his team with the Chiefs. Now there are other kids on his team just as fast as him. A kid in the Colts is labeled the fastest 9- year-old in Texas.”

The community-based programs in Clarkston, Lake Orion and Oxford didn't prepare them for the hundreds of teams spread across the state of Texas.

Andrew added six of his children are part of the Predators program with three as football players and three are cheerleaders.

"Cheering down here is totally different," he noted. "It is serious business. Two of my girls won the regional championship, state championship and now are going to another cheer championship in a few months."

Jason Sciavicco is one of the executive producers of the docuseries and also did "Friday Night Lights" on ESPN.

"So far he has done a good job," Andrew said.

"Friday Night Tykes" airs every Tuesday on the Esquire Network at 9 p.m. and online at tv.esquire.com.