Youth football numbers continue to drop in San Luis Obispo, and now community members, parents, and coaches are trying to keep their league around.
The San Luis Obispo and Morro Bay Youth Football Leagues have teamed up in order to draw more players to fill the four age groups; 7-8, 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14-year-olds. So far there are just 17 total kids signed up, and in order to be a part of the Central Coast Youth Football League, each age group needs 20 or more players.
There hasn’t been a complete league in San Luis Obispo in over four years.
The SLOYFL committee has even reduced the season fees to just $150.
SLOYFL board member and parent, Taryn Warrecker says it’s important to have youth football as an option for kids in the area.
“We want to see that progression just as in baseball with t-ball, playing pony league, AYSO, and club soccer,” Warrecker said. “Seeing that natural progression and providing that pathway to our local kids, it’s something that is important to all of us. We think that it’s necessary.”
Local high school football coaches, like San Luis Obispo varsity head coach Pat Johnston, are also on the quest for more youth players. Johnston says learning the techniques at an early age can help the development of a player once he/she enters high school.
“Whether your youth program numbers are struggling or not, they learn how to tackle, how to be tackled, how to land properly, how to block, and create a good spatial awareness for themselves on a football field at a younger age,” Johnston said.
“Collisions are not so high impact and that really sets them up to not only play the game well later on, but it sets them up to play the game safely their entire career,” Johnston added.
The San Luis Obispo Youth Football League has until July 25 to meet the numbers deadline. If you’re interested in signing up or learning more, check out the SLOYFL Facebook page.