Kids flagged for gridiron kudos

Youngsters are getting ready for the return of flag football. 

The Security Centre Ltd. 2015 Youth Flag Football League is slated to start in January. Put on by the Cayman Islands Flag Football Association, the competition will offer matches for kids ages 7-17 every Saturday until March at the Camana Bay Sports Field. The association held early registration over the weekend at Overtime sports bar, with a sign-up fee of $15. 

Dean Claassens, who serves on the league’s executive board, says the early sign-up is part of a plan to get more kids involved sooner. 

“It’s a fun thing to do, it gets the kids out there, getting a feel for American football without the contact,” Claassens said. “The season starts on Jan. 17 so we’re planning to get it done well before then. Last year we were full, hopefully we do the same this year.” 

The 2014 season, which marked the league’s sixth year, wrapped up back in May. The competition featured 180 boys and girls playing at Camana Bay across three divisions: junior (ages 7-9), middle (10-13) and senior (14-17). Maples Raiders were the junior division champs behind Jaden Reed and Keon Jennings. The UBS Eagles topped the middle ranks behind Alton Forrest and quarterback Kalie Broderick, and the Popeyes Saints won the senior group. 

News about the kids league comes as the association prepares for a number of competitions. Up first is the sixth annual beach tournament, dubbed Beach Bash 6. Public Beach will serve as the venue from 9 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday. Matches will feature coed teams playing in a 4-on-4 format, with squads consisting of three men and three women. Registration fee is $100 per team with proceeds going toward the association’s Christmas toy drive. 

The 2013 event, sponsored by Rubis, attracted 12 teams, with established players like Ryan Smith, Tamika Byrd and Lisa Malice. The Parkers, who featured relatives Oliver, Cueme and Christsania Parker along with Clay Coleman, Jennifer Cotarelo and Keisha Solomon, beat Burger Shack for the championship. 

After that, focus will shift to the 44th annual U.S. Flag and Touch League National Flag Football Championships. Games will take place in Kissimmee, Florida, on Jan. 16-18, 2015, with the association sending male and female national teams. 

Youth-Flag-Action

Youth flag football is already registering kids for the season, which starts next month. – PHOTOS: MATTHEW YATES

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