In-house league to build up football

Penticton Minor Football Association looking to build program from within

PENTICTON MINOR FOOTBALL is beginning another season with flag action before things heat up on the field with tackling.

PENTICTON MINOR FOOTBALL is beginning another season with flag action before things heat up on the field with tackling.

Home sweet home.

That’s what it’s all about this season for Penticton Minor Football Association.

Last year PMFA decided to go the route of six-aside football due to numbers but also to keep costs down. They were happy with the results.

This year the board has decided to create an in-house league to build the program.  In an email, secretary/registrar Lorraine Sopow said by doing this, they will run smaller teams (six or nine-man  per side). Players will come from the South Okanagan and will not travel for games.  PMFA hopes going in this direction attracts more players by not having families incur travel costs to cities in the valley.

“There may be a time in the next few years where the numbers are such that we can look at playing in the Southern Interior Football Conference, but not at this time,” she said. “North Vancouver is a prime example of a city that has built an incredibly strong in-house program with over 400 players. This would be run much as Pinnacles FC does with soccer. Who knows, in time maybe we will have the numbers to run teams in the separate communities such as Penticton, Summerland and Oliver/Osoyoos.”

With placing the focus on this idea, PMFA believes it will players to have more one-on-one coaching to better understand the game.

The season begins April 14 with flag football, which Sopow said is a great introduction to the game. This is for kids ages 9 to 13 and will be from 10 a.m. to noon at McNicoll Park on Sundays.

Tackle football will run from Sept. 6 to Oct. 27 (this date may be altered depending on weather/field condition).  The registration cost for tackle will include shoulder pads, helmet, pants — damage deposit required).

The only thing the players have to provide are cleats, mouthguards and a jersey that can be worn over the pads for practice.  They are hoping to have groups in peewee ages 9 to 12, junior bantam, 13 to 15 and midget 16 to 18.

Sopow said there are always challenges in attracting players due to finances, the unknown of the game, the time involved, competing commitments, etc.

“In my opinion, football (either tackle, flag or touch) is the consumate team sport,” she said. “Each player on the field has a job and in every play each player is critical to the play. Not to mention the fact that they are outside and active.”

PMFA is also looking for volunteers as Sopow, president Dave Johnson and another volunteer will be stepping down after this season. Sopow said there are some people who have expressed interest. They need people to take over the positions or else the association will fold.

“All our sons have aged out of the program and it is time for new people to take the reigns,” said Sopow. “We need coaches and others that would be willing to take on the work of the board (which is not all that difficult) and have the time/energy and desire for the game. Through football I have met some wonderful families and it has been a great experience all around.  However, I find that it is the same people that help out for everything and it is time now for others to step it up and they might really enjoy the challenge.”

To register your child or get involved as a volunteer, contact Lorraine at 250-488-0778.