Parents who want their children to properly learn the game of football might want to check out Southport Developmental Football Inc.
“There are many moving parts to a football game, and the better a player understands those parts, the less likely he is to get injured,” said Bryan Feilen, president of the organization. Feilen is a strong believer in children playing flag football before donning pads.
“My son, Jakoby, is a fourth-grader, and he’s still playing flag football. When we both feel that he’s ready to hit, he can move up to tackle. But he’s not ready yet; he still has more to learn.
“It’s not just me running the program. I’ve got a board of 12 who offer advice and make decisions on what we are going to do. It’s a good group that has stepped up to offer the best program possible,” said Feilen, who coached at Fishers, Lawrence North and Eastern Hancock high schools.
Mark Pieper, who has a thorough understanding of the game, is the developmental coordinator of coaches and officials. He will help train new coaches while developing a great approach to coaching youths.
The program (www.southportyouthfootball.com/) offers tackle and NFL Flag leagues for ages 4-13 and cheerleading.
None of the programs are affiliated with Perry Township Schools, which previously operated Perry Township Youth Football & Cheerleading.
“Our first year might be a little bumpy with our learning experiences, but we will offer a great product,” said Feilen, a 2000 graduate of Southport who’s employed by Lincoln Tech as a partnership account manager. His wife, Angeline, is a client supervisor for a health care agency.
Registration is underway and continues through a community day from 3-7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 23, at Cardinal Stadium, 971 E. Banta Road, where there will be a helicopter landing, special guests, hourly information about the program, food, a punt, pass and kick competition and prizes. The fee is $100 for
the flag league, $125 for tackle, $115 for cheerleading.
Practices will vary by program with games starting the first week of August. Feilen was approached by Southport football coach Brandon Winters to run the program.
“Each practice will start with 15 minutes of agility training, which will be developed by Southport’s strength and conditioning coach,” said Feilen.
“This will help our kids move better and to become better athletes. The players will have opportunities to increase their football knowledge and athletic skills through a real developmental process.
“And there will be plenty of opportunities for parents to get involved with the program. We want to bring the community back into youth sports.
“We are committed to a process on the field that leads to safer play and keeping young
athletes excited about football.”