Youth grid season under way

By Tom Munds
Posted 9/18/08

Englewood Youth Sports Association football teams had a picture-perfect day for the Sept. 6 season opener. The association hopes for the same kind of …

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Youth grid season under way


Englewood Youth Sports Association football teams had a picture-perfect day for the Sept. 6 season opener. The association hopes for the same kind of day Sept. 20, when there are plans to celebrate Englewood Youth Pride Day.

“This will be a special day for us,” said Mike Gelinas, EYSA president. “All our teams have home games that day and we want to make it a special celebration.”

The kickoff for the first Sept. 20 game is at 9 a.m. with a total of six games scheduled to be played during the day.

The EYSA home football games are played on the field at the Hosanna Sports Complex, which is located north of Englewood High School which, 3800 S. Logan St. All the games are open to the public and there is no charge for admission.

Last week, a trio of EYSA teams opened the season at home with bright sunshine bathing the field before good crowd as friends and family lined the field with lawn chairs and filled the bleachers to cheer on the young athletes.

The 1 p.m. home game matched the Pirate seventh-graders against Alameda. Englewood players donned the familiar light blue jerseys and white helmets with the skull and crossbones emblem for the battle.

“With three [grandsons] playing youth football for Englewood, ball games are a Saturday must for me,” Sandra Vigil said as she watched the game. “It is fun to watch the kids play football. I had girls so this is the first time I can cheer on the players. Generally, we make Saturdays a sort of a family day with the games and then a get together after. It’s just great and I love it. I love the games too and I usually yell so loud I don’t have much voice left after the game.”

The teams count heavily on parent volunteers to help out on during the game. For example, volunteers staff the “chain gang,” holding the down and yard markers along the sidelines.

Dawn Gallardo was one of the volunteers at the Sept. 6 seventh-grade game.

She and other volunteers passed out orange slices to the players at halftime and she and the mother of one of the players held up the cooler so players could let water from the spigot flow into their mouths.

“Being a volunteer is fun,” Gallardo said during the game. “Actually, I have two children playing this year, a sixth-grader and Darian Perez, who plays on this seventh-grade team. I am a loud parent and I try to be at every game my kids play. It’s a fun way to spend the day and it’s exciting too, particularly when my son scored a touchdown like he just did.”

The Pirate seventh-graders and Alameda were tied 12-12 at halftime but the visitors got all the second half points and won the game, 25-12.

EYSA football was born in 1995, when a group of grid enthusiasts banded together to put together a youth tackle football program when the Englewood Parks and Recreation Department abolished its decade-old recreational tackle football program and introduced a flag football program.

The organizers established the Englewood Youth Football Association, organized teams and entered the Jefferson County Youth Football Program for the first time.

A couple of years later, the all-volunteer organization changed its name to the Englewood Youth Sports Association and expanded to offer programs in other sports. Currently, the EYSA teams compete in boys and girls basketball, baseball, softball and football.

This year, EYSA has six teams playing football — one combined second-third grade team, one team each in the fourth, fifth and sixth-grade leagues and two teams in the seventh grade league. Unfortunately, there weren’t enough players to field a team in the eighth-grade league.

“We had a pretty good opening week,” Mike Gelinas, EYSA president, said. “The fourth-graders didn’t play, the fifth- and sixth-grade teams won while both seventh-grade teams lost tough games with Alameda and Lakewood, respectively.”

At a Glance

EYSA youth pride day Sept. 20

Parent volunteers play key role


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