By Stacy Case
While the professional football players are getting ready to start minicamps with their teams next month, our community’s youth players are preparing to begin their respective season of play right in our backyard.
The Parkland Flag Football League has been a mainstay sport in the city for more than two decades, in which the recreational program brings in close to 1,000 area youths each season. According to the league’s president, this year is expected to be just as successful as its history denotes.
“Our players learn what teamwork is and what accountability means,” says first-year PFFL President Joe Kohn, who has been on the league’s Board of Directors for about five years thus far. “I always love when a player, who has never participated in flag football before, comes to my team and tells me he (or she) can’t wait to play again at the end of the season.”
In fact, Joe said that he was asked to coach several years ago when his son was a first-time flag football player, and said it was the best thing he did for his son, himself, and the program.
As with previous years, the league is mirroring the format of its divisions and will have co-ed teams for kindergarten, ages 6/7, 8/9, 10/11, 12-14, and girls: ages 7-9, 10/11, 12-14. Additionally, the league, once again, will put forth the effort to have a co-ed high school division for players ages 14 and older. Unfortunately, there had not been enough interest in the high school division previously but Joe and his 13 other board members are optimistic that ‘this’ is the year to make it happen.
“I’d always like to keep our league growing quite a bit, and we’re really looking to get that high school division going so we can have it for that age group for years to come,” adds Joe, regarding his league that calls Pine Trails Park it’s home.
Assuming they are, in fact, able to get that age group up and running, this year’s participation numbers are expected to surpass last year’s. Regardless of age or gender or division, Parkland Flag Football players are offered the game’s complete package of when they enroll in the program. From pre-season player evaluations, which help to ensure a balance of ability across the board, to team drafts, the players take to the field for practice in August and begin games right after Labor Day.
All divisions play an 8-on-8 format in two, 20-minute halves. Once each division’s regular season is concluded, they enter into playoffs, except the kindergarten players, and lead up to their own Super Bowl.
Aside from any pre or postseason play though, one thought remains in the forefront of Joe’s mind…. “When it comes to youth sports, although we do have kind of a small community, these parents are very involved and come to every game.”
For more info or to register, visit parklandflag.com