"I'm adopted. My wife's brother and dad are also adopted so it really resonates with our family. We also wanted to get rid of the stigma behind adoption and foster care. We want to strengthen kids that were struggling in the community. We wanted to arm them for success and that's why we created the Van Noy Valor Foundation." – Kyle Van Noy
They say there's only time for one passion in life. Dolphins linebacker Kyle Van Noy is doing his best to bust that common misconception.
The owner of his own eSports company, author of 347 career tackles and 23.5 sacks in the National Football League, and an advocate for foster kids, Van Noy is spreading himself thin in all the right ways.
"I'm hoping I can be a resource for someone that's looking to adopt," he said.
He was too young to remember exactly how old he was when his parents brought him into his new family.
"I was two months, three months, maybe six months old when I was adopted," he said."
Upon reaching adolescence, he learned of the stigma that comes with adoption.
"It wasn't as common then as it is now," he said. "People would throw shade like 'oh, you're adopted,' almost like it's a bad thing. These kids in foster care didn't sign up for it. They're in situations where they've been led to that. I'm blessed to be raised by awesome parents, but there are also a lot of kids like me that are out there and there's a stigma around it. I'm just trying to bring a positive light and a positive energy to it."
The term 'aging-out' can be terrifying for a young adult in the foster care system. More than 23,000 children will age out of the U.S. foster care system every year with 20 percent of 18-year-old foster kids becoming instantly homeless.
The Van Noy Valor Foundation, and the Valiant Knights Program, is hoping to make a dent in that number.
"It's a scholarship and internship program that will pay for college scholarships and give them paid internships that will provide them an opportunity to work, save money and build great relationships," Van Noy said.
"The potential of the Valiant Knights program is awesome," he continued. "It could really change the course of an entire generation. We're focused on the older kids who are aging out of the foster care system. They're the ones that are still a part of our future that kind of get left behind so we wanted to give them an opportunity where they can succeed in whatever they're trying to do."
Van Noy shoehorns charitable contributions into his many passions. His origins helped to shape him into the person he is today, including a passion for video games that was developed at a young age for competitive reasons.
Since his older brother Travis often got the best of him in sports, Kyle developed his skills on the sticks as a way to even the score.
"There's the Sega Genesis, but if I have to say the O.G. Nintendo 64 with Super Smash Bros., Mario Kart, you got NFL Blitz on there," he said. "Just all of those bring back good memories of beating up my brother in video games. He was older so he would always beat me in sports but it was my way of getting him back by beating him in video games."
"I look at my parents as my birth parents and my brother as my brother," he added. "I don't really know any different and I don't want to know any different."
Now, in adulthood, Van Noy challenges fans to accomplish what his brother could not by taking him down on his Twitch streams. While video games are an escape, an avenue to clear his mind from the rigors of professional football, the man with six sacks in his first season as a Miami Dolphin is using his eSports streams as another avenue of giving back.
"I wanted to create an avenue outside of football," he said. "I have my own eSports company called XSET. We're a diverse, growing community that just wants to be different. We're already considered one of the top 10 eSports companies in the world and we've only been going since July."
"It's nice to be able to both voice your opinion and get feedback," he continued. "It allows people to understand who you are as a person. I do giveaways on my Twitch from tickets to games, to autographs, I've done all sorts of stuff and we'll do one for Christmas too so make sure you stay tuned."
A tremendous teaser. To get involved with the giveaways and find Van Noy's streaming station, give him a follow on Twitter @KVN_03.
On the topic of teasers, the Dolphins' first four games of the season showcased a competitive team that was coming up just short on the final scoreboard. That all started to change in Week 5 when the team took its first cross-country road trip to San Francisco. The Dolphins broke out of a 1-3 funk with a resounding 43-17 victory over the 2019 NFC Champion 49ers.
That trip, Van Noy says, was a galvanizing experience for this young Dolphins team.
"It was our first time as a team to be able to hang out and grow together," he said. "It was a long flight. On Saturday we were able to hang out after our walkthroughs and meetings and watch other player's old alma maters and chit-chat and everybody just got to know each other a little better. It was kind of a family moment on that road trip and then we played an amazing game."
The Dolphins are 8-2 since that weekend in the Bay Area. A trip that unveiled how special this group of young men is that has been assembled in Miami.
"I think it's a combination of good players and good coaches," he said. "We feed off of everybody's juice. You can't just pinpoint one thing. We've got smart players, physical players, players that can do multiple roles. The one thing we have in common is we're all hungry to win. When you have that one common goal, everybody can accept their roles and when they get their shot, they want to produce for the team and not be the problem."
"We've created a high standard and we're just trying to reach that and go beyond that standard," he added.
Van Noy is a man of many passions. He uses his love of football, eSports and his own experiences to make charitable contributions to his community – enough so that he was nominated as the team's representative for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship award.
"It's amazing to get recognized for anything, especially in this league with so many good men and good players," he said. "I feel honored to represent the Fins Up community as well as the ride the wave community. I always wanted to do it the right way and be a professional. I hope other kids will want to look up to someone like me to show them you can do it all. You can be a successful football player, you can be a successful businessman, you can do all sorts of things."