Greg Sabatino/Tribune file photos The Williams Lake Sabercats line up for a snap during a game in their inaugural season in the lakecity. Heading into the 2019 football season, the BC Community Football Association is looking to bring youth football back to the lakecity in multiple age groups.

Youth football looks to touch down in B.C. Interior

The BC Community Football Association is looking to bring back youth football in the lakecity.

The BC Community Football Association is looking to bring back youth football in the lakecity.

Joe Gluska, president of the BCCFA — the governing body for community football in B.C. — said the association is eyeing Williams Lake, Quesnel and Vanderhoof for potential teams to join Prince George in the North Zone to start the 2019 spring season.

“All those cities have been on our promotional radar over the last couple of years,” Gluska said. “We’re now running more nine-man football in a lot of areas like the Southern Interior, the Lower Mainland and on Vancouver Island, but we’re also looking at, potentially, having smaller communities starting at six-man football because it’s been run extremely well and successfully in Saskatchewan and Alberta.”

READ MORE: Sabercats play home opener

The lakecity showed signs of interest in the sport back in 2014 when the Williams Lake Sabercats youth football team played a first successful season, however, volunteers moved from the community and the program faded.

“We want more opportunity for young kids to play football,” he said, noting the BCCFA is responsible for all age groups from under-10 to under-19 in the province.

“We’d like to rekindle that enthusiasm in Williams Lake and in various communities. Volunteers move, and as a result we’re back in a position where we’re trying to regenerate that.”

Gluska envisions a spring flag football season, followed by a fall tackle football season.

“There’s an incredibly strong, healthy flag football movement going on in the province at the moment,” he said. “Over 200 participants were at our annual tournament in Kelowna this past year.”

The tackle football season runs from September until the end of October, followed by nine-player playoffs in Kamloops in the second week of November.

Currently, he is seeking interested coaches for the Williams Lake area.

READ MORE: Sabercats ready to open season

“We’ll come into the community and have a look at what equipment is available for the players, and we’d offer coaching courses and all that,” he said. “We have a lot of surplus equipment we’d be able to ship up for teams wanting to participate.”

In Williams Lake, Gluska said, initially, he’d like to see an under-10 team (ages 8 and 9), an under-12 team (ages 10 and 11) and an under-14 team (ages 12 and 13) start practicing and playing next season in order to begin building a foundation. Depending on interest, however, there is opportunity for teams from ages 5 and up to play.

“The projection would be, hopefully, in a year or two, being able to go to a U16 group,” he said.

The league would include Williams Lake, Quesnel, Prince George and, possibly, Vanderhoof, he said.

“Ideally there would be a few teams and have some home-and-home series taking place, then we’d reach out to our members to look at exhibition games with Salmon Arm, Kamloops and Kelowna because we have teams in all those areas,” Gluska said.

“We’re just really looking forward to an opportunity to arrange and come to Williams Lake to put everything on the table to see where things are going.”

Currently, the BCCFA has five zones in B.C.: Vancouver Island, Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Southern Interior and the North.

Anyone interested in coaching or getting involved as a volunteer can contact Gluska at president@bccommunityfootball.ca or phone the North Zone representative, Carly Krebs, at 250-981-1151.



sports@wltribune.com

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