An upcoming flag football league hopes to captivate the youth.
The Security Centre Youth Flag Football League is set to begin Saturday 28 February.
The league, the first of an annual series, is slated to last nine weeks and run until 24 April.
Put on by the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association, the league will be open to boys and girls ages eight through 14.
The league will focus on teaching flag football in a fun and relaxed environment. Games will take place on Saturday afternoons at the Camana Bay Sports Field.
The first two weeks of the league will be devoted to the teaching of flag football fundamentals. The children will be broken into teams and will be introduced to their coaches.
CIFFA will provide two coaches for each team. The teams will consist of 12 to 15 kids.
As League Co-ordinator Kyle Broadhurst explains the idea behind the league is participation.
‘Ideally we’re aiming for 130 kids spread across eight teams. At any given time there would be five kids on the field. The ultimate goal is simply to give the kids equal play time.’
Though the games are certain to have a competitive edge, the focus will be on physical activity, good sportsmanship and team building. Refreshments will be provided to the participants free of charge.
In fact the entire league is free as there will be no player fees. The league is looking for a league sponsor and team sponsors.
The fee for a team sponsor is CI$1,000. The league is aiming to get eight team sponsors.
As Broadhurst states it is important for the league to be free.
‘It’s a free program for the kids. It designed to give the kids another option to go out and be active. Flag football is popular in Cayman and around the world so we’re hoping the kids get onboard in a big way.
‘I would love for one day to see kids here go off to play collegiate [American] football because of the youth league.’
CIFFA currently operates a men’s and women’s flag football league and the association now boasts an active membership of over 350 players.
With that many people playing the sport it was matter of time before Broadhurst and company turned to the youth.
‘Men’s flag football is gaining popularity constantly and the guys have shown lots of talent,’ Broadhurst said.
‘The women’s version of the sport just got through its first season and the response was overwhelming. The recent recreational beach league was well-attended and received.
‘There is a big market for the sport here. My goal is to teach the kids the basics of the game so that one day they can play in the adult leagues.’
Though this year’s league has a narrow age range, Broadhurst says the league’s scope will widen in time to come.
‘This year was the launch of the league and we’re testing what the response is like. We held a youth camp last year and the 8-11 year olds seemed the keenest so it was natural to focus on the 8-14 age group this time.
‘Next year should see some changes such as an expansion into the older age groups, chiefly the 14-17 age range.’
The league is in the process of ordering jerseys and needs sizes of prospective players.
Anyone interested in signing up for the league should download a registration form off www.flagfootball.ky and return it to the league.
CIFFA is also working on organizing a fun day for next Saturday 21 February 2009. The event, a partnership between One 345 Designs and the youth league, hopes to feature NFL players on island running drills and giving instruction to the youth.
Children registered to play in the youth league would be ensured time with the players.
At press time it was not clear who the visiting players would be. However it was understood that current and retired players from the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles will be on-island.
For more information on the league, the fun day and Cayman flag football in general e-mail CIFFA at email@example.com.