By Stacy Case
As the community’s recreational tackle seasons have come to a close recently, both the Coral Springs Chargers and Parkland Rangers programs have some accomplishments of which to be proud.
The Mullins Park-based Chargers, who have eight different age divisions of play (6U-13U), had three of their teams make it to the first round of playoffs within the American Youth Football League (AYFL). “We’re very proud of all of our teams, as all of them played very hard this season,” says Coral Springs Chargers President A. J. Poulin, who is accompanied by 13 other board members for his league. The third-year President continues, “It’s a long season for these teams; we start Spring training in May and run through mid November. They worked hard from beginning to end.”
During their 2018 games, the mid-1970s-established Chargers faced other AYFL teams from Lauderhill, Pompano Beach, Plantation, Tamarac, Pembroke Pines, Hollywood, Sunrise, Cooper City, Deerfield Beach and Delray Beach. Further, the 7U, 12U and 13U teams represented the Chargers in the post season. “Coral Springs is a good city, and our parks and rec department helps to run our sports leagues very well,” says A. J., whose league boasted about 240 players this season. “We have a lot of kids who play sports, and football is something that teaches them a great deal about discipline, and how to respect teammates, opponents, coaches and parents.”
Next in proximity, Parkland also earned some performance notoriety of its own on the gridiron. Executive Board Member Ed Hoffman has bragging rights about his league as all of the Parkland Rangers Tackle Football Club teams earned a first-round playoff berth. “Our teams had a great season and, aside from playing great football, we put a strong emphasis on our players’ academics,” says Ed, who has been on the 10-member Rangers board of directors for six years. The 2007-established Parkland Rangers offer play for those ages 5-15 and participate under the Pop Warner umbrella. They faced teams from as far as Jupiter, Pahokee and Royal Palm Beach as well as teams more local, from Weston and Boca Raton.
The Rangers’ 2018 success was no accident. The league got play underway in early June, then played from mid-August until late October.
Regardless of age of the team or location of a game, Ed and the Rangers continue to instill some important values within the several hundred players. “We teach our players about respect, effort and discipline, and that all three are a ‘must’ when you play for the Rangers,” says Ed, whose Rangers call Pine Trails Park their home. Ed adds, “We expect them to come out to practice and give 100 percent; respect their opponents and referees, and have the discipline in the classroom to get good grades.” He concludes that the combination of the aforementioned ingredients is what helps to keep the league’s success ongoing from one year to the next.
The Coral Springs and Parkland communities are both hotbeds for football excellence. Although each league just finished their 2018 season, the players, coaches and board members will only have a short hiatus before they prepare for the 2019 games.