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Long Beach NFL Product John Timu Hosts Free Football Camp at Cabrillo

The562’s coverage of Jordan Athletics is sponsored by former LBUSD superintendent Chris Steinhauser.

The562’s coverage of Cabrillo Athletics is sponsored by the Cohn Family.

When Long Beach NFL product and current Falcons assistant coach John Timu began his foundation’s project of giving back to his hometown last year, he vowed to do it in a way that would benefit more than just his neighborhood. Last year’s free football camp was in North Long Beach at the Jordan alum’s alma mater, but this year he was good to his word and brought a free football camp to the Westside, hosting it at Cabrillo High last weekend.

“It’s always awesome being back home and most importantly to serve our city,” said Timu in a recent interview. “The greatest thing about our city is the people in it. We hosted our second annual camp this time at Cabrillo, and it’s been nothing but a blessing.”

Timu’s camp was all ages, with sessions for elementary, middle, and high school students. Campers weren’t charged anything for the hours they spent learning from Timu and others, and received free shirts and meals. More than 200 campers attended this year’s event.

“The whole idea is to expose our public schools,” said Timu. “When I was growing up our public schools were the best part of our city–each school had their big sports programs that were dominant. Now as I’m getting older it seems like they’re getting put out of business, it’s very competitive public vs private schools. I want to bring back that exposure and light to our schools–there’s sometimes a negative light and people can misunderstand our community. I want to bring exposure and if we can have the schools work the camp then it helps build that bridge to the community and shed light on the facilities as well, hopefully spark an interest and keep that community like feeling in Long Beach.”

Timu played his college ball at the University of Washington and was All-Pac-12 as a Husky, before joining the NFL with the Chicago Bears, where he played for three seasons. He then spent two years as a graduate assistant with the University of Washington in 2019 and 2020.

Timu made the jump to coaching in the NFL as the Alex G. Spanos Coaching Fellow in 2021 with the Los Angeles Chargers. He spent three years with the Bolts, serving as an assistant defensive line coach last year and helping coach the team’s linebackers through a transition to a 3-4 defense in 2021.

In February of this year, Timu was hired by the Atlanta Falcons as a defensive assistant, and he’ll spend the upcoming season coaching with the Falcons.

Timu’s camps in recent years follow in a long line of Long Beach NFLers giving back. Marcedes Lewis’ free football camp at Poly ran for 10 years and hosted a generation of youth football players, and other pros including Poly’s Jurrell Casey and JuJu Smith-Schuster, as well as Jordan’s John Ross have hosted free camps for Long Beach kids in recent years.The Timu Foundation will be hosting their first-ever fundraiser event this Saturday at Skylinks with a charity golf event. Those interested in supporting the Timu Foundation can sign up as individuals, foursomes, or donate by clicking the link: https://events.golfstatus.com/event/dba64444-9617-4401-b7ce-41b7aed0f3dd/details/registration-details.

PHOTOS: John Timu Football Camp at Cabrillo
Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.