Members of the Gold Coast Pop Warner Conference (GCPWC) since 2016, the Parkland Rangers Tackle Football Club has been ramping up the program each year that passes. Although 2021 imposed serious challenges due to the lingering pandemic, the league had an overwhelmingly successful year of energy with plans to continue through the upcoming season.
According to Will Billings, Parkland Rangers President for four years now, returning to normalcy for the league looks like getting back to their Friday night pre-game dinners with players and families. Not only did the Rangers get back to their weekly dinners in 2021, but they also boasted a headcount of around 120 athletes, comprising four teams. All four of those teams remarkably went on the make the playoffs.
In line with tradition, Parkland Rangers is about much more than just the game of football. Since its inception 15 years ago, it has evolved from a recreational league to a family that brings the community together across multiple facets.
Will notes, “I think we’ve done a much better job over time to really prioritize the kids to emphasize their development, their evolution as young men and women, and to also, in doing so, be completely connected to the community.”
With most sponsorships intentionally coming from local businesses, Parkland Rangers is able to reach an impressive level of community engagement. Such engagement is also nourished by an emphasis on volunteering.
For example, Parkland Rangers encourages former athletes to return as volunteers once they’ve reached high school age. Of course, these students receive community hours in exchange for their dedicated service as resources for current players–it’s a win for everyone.
“It’s becoming bigger than football,” adds Will.
With a new season to kick off in August, he notes that prospective athletes and their families have a lot of improvements to look forward to. For starters, the Parkland Rangers plan to keep up with growth by adding new teams to the league. As a father of three players and a coach himself, Will is eager to get back on the field.
He is joined by many other volunteers who keep the Parkland Rangers’ daily operations running smoothly. “We love the kids. We love what football as a sport does for them from a teamwork perspective. From an overall discipline and maturity perspective, it teaches them that there is no ‘i’ in a team,” says Will. “We make sure we bring in coaches that prioritize that.”
Practices and home games will continue to be held at Pine Trails Park. Away games will be held at the home fields of the respective teams in the Gold Coast Pop Warner Conference.
The Parkland Rangers Football season runs from August through November. Registration is currently open now through the start of the season. The cost to register is $300 per child, with registration and payment to be completed at www.parklandrangers.com.