Tackle is for players 5-14 years of age (Eighth graders, no high school age players). SAA Football is joining The Chicagoland Youth Football League, or TCYFL...a stable and established league that will provide the foundation for growth for the future of SAA Football.
Tackle players are divided into age/weight divisions. There are special considerations made for older-lighter and younger-heavier players. Tackle practices Monday through Friday for the month of August. During this period players are evaluated and players are placed into two competitive levels, BIG10 and PAC10. There are multiple teams at each age/weight division, insuring every player an opportunity to play. After the players return to school, Tackle practices three times a week. Games are held on Saturdays and Sundays. The season consists of approximately ten to twelve games.
Introducing our New Instructional Tackle Level - This year will are offering a 5-7 year old Instructional Tackle program called Flyweight as a transition from Flag to Tackle. The Flywieght level is for 5 yr olds under 80 lbs, 6 yr olds under 75 lbs or 7 yr olds under 50 lbs (no exceptions). This instructional level is non-competitive and score is not kept. There is no post-season play, the games are two 20 minute halves played on an 80 yard field and 2 coaches are on the field to instruct. The spirit of the program is to help transition players from flag to tackle by introducing contact but not competition.
Our Flyweight Level only practices twice a week. The purpose of this level is to provide a transition from Flag to Tackle. The players will learn the fundamentals of proper contact with USA Football Heads Up tackling and blocking.
Larger League, More Communities, Best Competition - TCYFL boasts over 40 Member Communities, 350 Teams and over 8000 players. SAA Football is one of the larger programs within the adjacent leagues...in the top 10%, and the size, structure and stability of the TCYFL is a great fit, providing great competition week in and week out against communities in our relative size range. The size and breadth of this league will also all but eliminate having to play towns 2 and 3 times a season and having to play ourselves!
Safety and Coaching Committee - Our focus does not waiver....the players safety is #1. We continue to update our equipment, specifically helmets. We also invested in trainers to be at the field for every game, this year they are provided by TCYFL. SAA has volunteered and serves on the TCYFL Health and Safety Committee. SAA has also affiliated with USA Football. Sponsored by the NFL, USA Football provides framework of best practices for youth programs with tools, tips, proper techniques including the Heads UP Tackling and Heads Up Blocking programs that focus on Safety. USA Football requires all coaches to pass a certification test to be on the field. This certification process is managed by our Player Safety Coach and our Coaching Committee, a committee focused on improving the Coaching at every level with guidance on standards, drills, techniques, practice plans and Coaching evaluations. A Coaches Job1 is to plant the seed for players to love the game. The positive experience the player has is directly impacted by the Coach.
The NEW Look - Every player that put on that Viking jersey and helmet does it with pride, but our look needed some style....an overhaul....a New Look to go with our New League. We got some players to submit some images and our board approved the new look....Black is the new White. While the Jerseys are still being designed, I can provide a sneak peak at the New Helmet....black matte with Cardinal Red "S" and stripe.....
"Icing on the Cake" - a quote by TCYFL President Geoff Meyer. TCYFL is a football program, but it is also so much more. TCYFL offers a program called TCYFL Cares that gives back to communities, we offer Punt, Pass & Kick competition, an ALL-TCYFL all-star game, TCYFL Mom's committee, TCYFL network that streams live games and so much more...it truly is the icing on the cake because SAA Football is dedicated to improving the overall experience for the players AND the parents to share together!
Expanding our Spring Football 7-on-7 Program - 7-on-7 is a Spring Passing league that teaches the aspect of the game that requires more time than afforded in the Fall. Our program began over 7 years ago at the Barrington Field House with 2 teams and 4 coaches. The last two years SAA sponsored a local program to be played on our own turf for half the cost and we expanded to 3 teams and about 10 coaches. This year, as part of the TCYFL, we will expand to 5 competitive teams including newly added 8th grade and 4th/5th grade teams in addition to our own in-house 3rd grade and younger Instructional program. The coaches can see the benefits of the older players that have been in the program for several years and are excited to see these young players develop in the coming year in this aspect of the game. This is an invite only program, the evaluate is based on players position and performance in the previous season.