A football team is in the making for Barrhead children between the ages of 10 and 12.
Eighteen potential players have already expressed interest in the team, and another six are all that is needed to field the Barrhead peewee Raptors. Team general manager Marty Yarrow said 24 kids would be perfect, but 30 is ideal. Yarrow and team coach Travis Cook hosted an information meeting Jan. 13 to gauge the level of interest, and Yarrow said he was happy with the turnout. About 10 kids accompanied by their parents showed up for the meeting.
“I was hoping for more, but I think there’s a lot of interest here,” Yarrow said. “There are 18 players on the roster right now, and that’s enough to push us to the next step, which is a big recruitment drive in the spring.”
Yarrow stressed that the team is open to both boys and girls.
“Girls won’t be treated any differently, although they will have a separate change room,” Yarrow said. “It’s a really safe sport, with lots of protection, and the players don’t hit hard yet.”
The team has already garnered corporate sponsorship from Sobeys in Westlock, which made a financial contribution of $1,200. There are many other businesses in the county that will probably be interested in supporting the team, he added. Through those donations, Yarrow is hoping to minimize the cost to players and parents as much as possible. Currently, he is looking at a $200 to $250 fee for the year. Equipment will be supplied with a damage deposit, but players will have to supply their own cleats.
“We’re not here to make money, and the more financially feasible you make it, the more kids you’ll get out for the team,” he said. “Being an upstart team, we are not able to afford the highest quality brain buckets, but what we do have is more than sufficient to protect our players.”
When and where the Barrhead Raptors would play is still being decided, Yarrow said, but if the local field meets regulations, then games can be played in the community. If not, Yarrow and his crew will look at Westlock, where Barrhead Composite High School students play as part of a combined team with R. F. Staples.
The Raptors are also in need of an executive committee to help oversee its operations. Football is a team sport, Yarrow said, and it takes a team approach and a 100-per-cent commitment in order for the team to succeed. Coaches of all skill levels will also be needed.
“The first year will be the most difficult,” Cook said. “There will be some bumps and scratches, but we’ll be that much better in our second year”
Cook is a former player and coach. He played high school football and semipro with the Edmonton Icemen, and he coached a team in Westlock. He tried before to get a football team in Barrhead, but those plans didn’t work, he said, and added it’s his turn to show the kids what football is all about. “We are quite fortunate to have Travis with his many years of experience and play behind him,” Yarrow said “We’ve got the drive and the experience, and there are a lot of football fans around here, so we know we’ll get the kids.”
Both Cook and Yarrow said that anyone interested in playing for the Barrhead Raptors has to understand that their schoolwork will be their No. 1 priority, and if any grades suffer as a result of being a part of the team, then they won’t be playing. Future meetings will be announced.