Football is back!

Alexandra Reyes

Football is back, and while it isn't in the form we planned, the Junior Gaels Football Club is excited to get be getting back on the field!  

Open to all skills levels! Whether you’re new to flag football or you’ve already got a few touchdowns under your belt, this game is fun and competitive for everyone – all while making friends and staying active! With much smaller player rosters, players get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball and make plays. It teaches players the proper way to run a route and what happens when everyone does their job at the right time. Although we are playing in a non-contact setting, it still requires the same focus and concentration as traditional tackle football. This gradual progression of skills ensures optimal athletic and tactical development.

We asked Head Coach of the Senior Varsity squad, Dale Sands some of the common question we hear: "What about the bigger kids or linemen? How do they benefit from flag football?" Sands answer was simple “Our flag football is for players of all sizes and abilities. Every player can benefit from focusing on proper form, technique and staying active. Players will develop important football skills on both sides of the ball, as well as learning strategy, reading plays, and building self-confidence. This will be essential for players wanting to compete with the Junior Gaels once we get cleared for tackle football.”

“This is a new model for us all, and given the circumstances, we are grateful to have the opportunity to offer our young athletes an option to learn, compete and gain some exposure to OUA programs.” said Alexandra Reyes-Walsh, President of the Junior Gaels Football Club.  The goal here is to keep the players, coaches and their families safe, and the OPFL has determined its Clubs can accomplish that by flowing the guidelines and protocols that are outlined in the OPFL Return to Play developed in conjunction with Football Canada and Sports and Recreation sector to support a safe return to activities.  “It’s time to put the kids back on the field and let the games begin,” said Reyes-Walsh, who will be meeting with league executives on a weekly basis to discuss any new developments or changes in guidelines, including the OPFL’s plan for a Fall Tackle season.

As we all wait a full return to tackle football, the Junior Gaels Football Club will be offering players 7v7 Flag Football in accordance the OPFL’s Return to Play Guidelines that follow provincial and municipal health guidelines and restrictions. The Flag Football program will follow the standard Football Canada 7v7 Flag format, which includes full field, 4 Quarters (12 minutes), special teams, and QB's can run. The internal-program Flag seasons will end in some cross over games and league tournaments as permitted. 

“Volunteer coaches are essential to every youth sports program in the country, and that is no different for the Junior Gaels football program.” says coach Sands. With running Flag Football, in smaller teams and to follow health guidelines and restrictions, additional volunteer coaches are needed to help teach the next generation of athletes to understand the game. “If you are interested in registering your kids, signing up as a volunteer coach or both, I recommend doing so as soon as possible,” he said.

For more information, visit our Registion Information page.

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