A hybrid league that incorporates elements from flag football and tackle football will kick off soon in Loudoun.
The Upper Loudoun Youth Football League will launch the Ultimate Flag football league in the spring. This unique league introduces youth athletes to football in a low-contact manner, as well as providing an opportunity for current athletes to hone their skills during the offseason.
Different from traditional flag football leagues, Ultimate Flag football is semi-contact, providing the ability to develop football skills that cannot be accomplished in a typical flag football environment. It also lessens the risk of injuries due to the required use of helmets and shoulder pads.
While many common elements of tackle football will be incorporated, there will not be any tackling in the league. Instead, a tackle will take place when an opponent becomes deflagged.
For inaugural league commissioner Jeramy Arnold and ULYFL president Robert Sellers, safety is of utmost importance when launching this program.
Both believe this program can not only bring comfort to many parents who have had concerns over their children playing football, but can bring comfort to children who have been timid about playing football.
“I’ve had several parents email me saying their son has never played football before and when they ask if this is the right program for them, I say ‘absolutely’ because this is a great way to get started,” Arnold said.
“Especially around this time of year,” Arnold continued. “You have NFL playoffs going on, college bowl games going on, all of these big games and these children are watching these games, watching these athletes, but they’ve never played before so they can look to this program as a potential avenue to learn the game.”
“Our goal is to give them a semi-contact program, where they can go through all of the fundamentals, learn how to properly get into the right positions, learn the proper footwork, build confidence and ultimately transition them to contact football if they’re interested,” Sellers said.
Registration is open until the end of February for current first through eighth graders. The season will begin in March and participants will have weekly practices leading up to weekly games. Games will be contested in an eight-player format on a 50-yard length field.
For multi-sport athletes, Arnold and Sellers have created the program in a way that it will not interfere with other traditional spring sports. Games will be played on Sundays to avoid interference with other sports and although practices are encouraged, they will not be mandatory as it is understood players may have commitments to other sports.