BY ANDREAS BUTLER
Time is running out to sign up kids to play this year on one of the three Daytona Beach football leagues.
The youth football programs – the Buccaneers, Cowboys and Dolphins – are preparing for the season.
The Cowboys and Dolphins are unlimited weight programs that are already practicing. The Buccaneers have weight limits and exceptions. The team is holding camps and will begin practice on Aug. 1.
Football and more
“Football teaches life skills – not just football. These kids learn life skills, which they use all throughout life including: team work, hard work, motivation, dedication, discipline, respect and more,” said Coach Dahryll Brown, director of Football Operations for the Daytona Beach Cowboys.
Daytona Beach Youth Dolphins Owner Coach Anthony Lee noted, “They learn things like morals, respect, how to get along with others, discipline and everyday life lessons.”
The Cowboys and Dolphins are first-year programs.
Other local teams – the Hurricanes, Falcons and Steelers – all played last year but are no longer operating. The Jaguars also ceased operations in recent years.
The Bucs have a long history of success.
”We have dedicated parents and volunteer coaches. Our program is stricter. I will get rid of a coach quickly for misconduct. We don’t use profanity or put our hands on the kids. We have a 2.0 GPA requirement. I tell parents, if kids don’t have the grades, they have no business on the field. We also provide academic tutoring,” said Coach Thomas Roland.
Roland serves as the commissioner and has been with the program for 25 years.
On proper tackling
The Cowboys (ages 4 to 6) and Bucs (ages 5 to 7) have tackle football for their youngest age group while the Dolphins have flag (ages 4-6).
“I don’t think that’s too early for tackling. We have experienced coaches who all attend classes for training. We teach the proper way of tackling,” Roland explained.
“We also spend a lot of time tackling dummies. That is a critical age group. They like to move their heads down so we work extremely hard on teaching them proper tackling.
Too many teams?
There is a debate about whether Daytona has too many youth football teams.
“It’s hard to tell right now. We only have two unlimited weight programs and a Pop Warner program, but it’s still a lot of kids around town that aren’t doing anything,” Lee remarked.
Brown added, “I think that we have enough teams, in my opinion. I think we are where we want to be. I think there are enough options for kids wanting to play.”
In recent years, as many as four and five teams have played within the city limits.
Lots of competition
Roland said, “There are too many teams. I don’t knock anybody. We should maybe have two. It’s hard for us to win championships. We don’t have the talent pool to choose from like the larger cities like Miami and Jacksonville.
“We are competing with each other for talent in a small talent pool. We’ve lost kids because other programs start practicing as early as May, but we can’t start until Aug. 1.”
Nearby cities like Ormond Beach (American Youth) has the Pride and Sandcrabs (Pop Warner) teams while Port Orange has the Hawks (Pop Warner).
Teams also are raising money to cover equipment, uniforms, travel, and more. Some raise funds to help cover registration fees.
The Bucs has fundraisers with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts where they get a percentage of sells on certain days and have done scratch-off raffles.
The Cowboys are selling raffle tickets for $1 and will have a raffle drawing on July 15 where the winner will win a cash prize and the rest of the proceeds will go to the team.
They have a skate and bowling night planned where they get a percentage of the proceeds in July at a site to be determined.
All programs are doing car washes and asking for donations.
Not enough support
All three programs are located in the heart of the Black community.
“A lot of kids can’t afford to pay. We get the kids in the Soul City, South Street, Caroline Villages and PPU (Palmetto Park) neighborhoods. The area that we serve is a high poverty area. A Weed and Seed area. We are working on fundraising. We did get some help from CG Construction,” said Lee.
Even getting money from local businesses is a tall order.
“If our parents didn’t pay, we would have to shut down. We don’t get enough support from the businesses in this city. We don’t get hardly anything from Black businesses either. I’m disappointed,” Roland expressed.
“They really don’t give much to the inner city and low-income kids. There are businesses right here in Daytona that have sent thousands and tens of thousands of dollars to outside city programs in Port Orange and Ormond but only give us a few hundred.’’
DAYTONA BEACH BUCCANEERS
Official Name: Daytona Beach Pop Warner Football and Cheer Association
Leadership: Commissioner, Tommy Roland; president, Charles Fordham; director of Football Operations, Lorenzo Floyd
League/Conference: Pop Warner/East Coast Conference
Weight: There are weight limits on all teams except for the oldest age group. Space available: Yes. On Pewee, Junior Varsity and unlimited weight teams.
Ages: 5 to 14
Team breakdown: Tiny Mites (ages 5, 6, 7); Mitey Mites (ages 7, 8, 9); Junior Peewee (ages 9 and 10); Peewee (ages 10,11,12); Junior Varsity (11-12); Unlimited weight team ( ages 11,12,13,14). Junior Pewee, Pewee and JV have older but lighter rules where an older kid can play at a lower age group if he is under a certain weight. Cheerleading: Yes
Practice location/home field: Derbyshire Sports Complex
Season Start: Aug. 18 Jamboree Contact: 386- 852-2552 or visit www.ballcharts.com/daytonabeachpopwarner; DaytonaBeachBucs on Facebook
DAYTONA BEACH COWBOYS
Official Name: Daytona Beach Cowboys Youth Football & Cheer
Leadership: President, Peggy Cortez; commissioner, Terry Smith, director of Football Operations, Dahryll Brown
League/Conference: American Youth Football League/ Florida Youth Football & Cheer Conference
Weight: Unlimited weight
Space available: No. All teams full
Ages: 4 to 14
Practice location/home field: Old YMCA near Derbyshire Sports Complex
Season Start: Sept. 2
Contact: Terry Smith, 386-295-4156 or Dahryll Brown, 386-233-5742 or www.facebook.com/daytona.beachcowboys
DAYTONA BEACH DOLPHINS
Official Name: Daytona Beach Youth Sports/Daytona Beach Youth Dolphins Football & Cheer
Leadership: Owner, Anthony Lee; president, Ramon Kemp; commissioner, Paulette Smith League/Conference: Mid-Florida Youth Football & Cheer Conference/West League
Space available: Yes. On all teams; Cheerleaders and volunteer coaches needed
Ages: 4 to 15
Team breakdown: 6U (flag football), 8U, 10U, 12U, 15U
Practice location/home field: Campbell Middle School
First Game: Aug. 5 Jamboree