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YMCA opens registration for fall leagues, adds basketball training

The YMCA of Selma-Dallas County is preparing for its fall sports lineup which includes a new, youth flag football league, youth soccer and basketball training lessons.

The addition of the co-ed flag football league provides an alternative to full-contact football for girls and boys interested in the sport.

“In the fall, I wanted to bring flag football to the YMCA just to give kids another outlet who aren’t ready for tackle football,” YMCA program director Chase Morris said. “I’ve had some parents come to me and express an interest in flag football because their kids just aren’t ready to put on the pads yet.”

Rising concerns over player safety, especially at the youth level, has made flag football an increasingly popular alternative to traditional, contact football. Earlier this summer, the American Flag Football League awarded a $1 million prize to its championship team, Fighting Cancer.

The YMCA league isn’t trying to replace contact football, but provide a safer training ground where they can learn football skills until they’re ready to put on the pads.

“If a kid goes straight to tackle football and he has a bad experience with contact, then that kind of kills his dreams of maybe pursuing football down the road once he gets into middle school and high school,” Morris said. “By offering this, we may be surprised and get more people than we thought just because there hasn’t been a flag football league. I’m very hopeful that we’ll have a good season this year.”

Registration for the youth flag football league opens today and extends through Sept. 3. The league will be split into the Little Punters age group (ages 3-5), Rookie League age group (6-7) and the Pro League age group (8-9).

Depending on the turnout, there will be 10 players per team and the games will either be seven-on-seven matches or six-on-six.

The registration fee for Rookie League and Pro League players is $55 for YMCA members and $75 for non-members. The fee for the Little Punters is $25 for members and $45 for non-members. There is a $20 late fee for players who sign up after the registration deadline.

Practices will start on Sept. 10, and games will be played at the YMCA every Saturday from Sept. 22 through Nov. 10.

In addition to the new flag football league, the YMCA is opening registration for youth soccer as well.

“We didn’t have a huge turnout last year,” Morris said. “I’m hoping by getting out to the community more as far as the churches and advertising to all the schools that will get more kids out. We are hopeful to have a good season and gradually growing our program here at the Y.”

The registration, practices and games are the same as it is for flag football.

However, the Little Kickers (ages 3-5) division’s registration will extend to Sept. 7.

The Y also announced that it will offer basketball training sessions led by Jeremiah Whitt on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

“He actually ran my summer basketball camp, and I was extremely impressed with how he handled the kids as well as his knowledge for the game,” Morris said. “That’s the reason why I asked him to come do basketball lessons. I saw how passionate he was about dealing with kids and basketball.”

The lessons will begin on Aug. 14 for kids in kindergarten through eighth-grade. The lessons will cost $30 per individual or $15 per hour per kid if they are in a group (maximum of five kids per group).

“Some things Jeremiah will stress with the lessons are dribbling, passing, shooting as well as advanced skills and helping the kids with their basketball I.Q.,” Morris said. “He will also be giving progress reports to the parents, so they can see how their kid is doing and provide feedback on the lessons.”

The YMCA is ready for the fall sports to kick off and Morris encourages the community to come to the Y and be a part of the sports leagues.