The Marco Island Eagles Youth Football Organization won’t be traveling to Miami for football games in the fall.
It has joined forces with First Baptist Academy (FBA) of Naples to form a Collier County league.
Greg West, Eagles board president, said the objective is to have 12 teams playing in three weight divisions, with games played on Marco and in Naples.
“We are excited about the opportunity with First Baptist,” he said. “They just got the final approval to add youth football to its athletic outreach program.”
West said the Eagles Board and First Baptist have been in discussions for several weeks.
“We are both delighted to move forward with this new relationship,” West said.
The Eagles, founded by Mike and Dawn Snyder five years ago, have been playing in the Miami Xtreme Youth Football League. The only close opponent was the Naples Gators. It meant they traveled to the Miami area for most of the season.
“The combination of travel, playing at multiple venues on the same day and their lack of commitment to form a more balanced league forced us to look at other options,” West said. “The Xtreme League is a great organization and gave us an opportunity to start youth football on Marco through the outstanding efforts of Mike and Dawn Snyder (of Marco).”
The season will start with summer practice in mid-August, already an advantage. The Xtreme League began practice in early July, with the first games in mid-August.
“It was tough starting that early,” West said. “Our teams never really filled out until late July because of summer vacations. Starting practice in August gives the kids and families just about the entire summer to enjoy.”
The eight-game season will begin on Sept. 6 and end Oct. 25.
By playing more games locally, it also allows the Eagles to bring back its cheerleaders and dance teams. Lyndis Koszo, who has an extensive background in cheerleading, dance and gymnastics, will be the coordinator.
With the change West expects more kids and parents will get involved.
“Last year we had about 85 participants in football,” he said. “With the changes the feedback has been very positive. We are anticipating at least 100 sign-ups for football and another 50 for cheerleading.”
Sign-ups will begin around April 30.
The Eagles Board of Directors consists of West as president, Brian Kocak, vice president, Bill Hollowsky, treasurer and Laurie Kocak, secretary. Directors include Chris Adams, Jim Prange, Dave Rice, Steve Schneider, Jim Young, Ed Hurdis and Koszo.
For more information contact West at 825-7592, or firstname.lastname@example.org.