Taylorsville has a youth football program wanting to growMar 09, 2023 11:14AM ● By Greg James
Taylorsville’s Ute Conference Mity Mite team advanced to the Badger Bowl championship game last season. (Photo courtesy of Sharmaine Kawaauhau)
Youth football in Taylorsville participates in the Ute Conference. Warrior teams advanced to championship games in two divisions last season and the league hopes to grow and give more kids the opportunity to play.
“We have six teams for kids to play on,” Taylorsville team communication manager Sharmaine Kawaauhau said. “We have had to combine my son's team with another age group because we have not had enough players.”
Ute Conference is the largest youth football league in the country. Currently, they boast 41 individual districts, including Taylorsville. Each district fields teams in six age groups, from age 7 to high school freshmen.
Teams in Taylorsville have seen a decline in the number of players in recent years.
“The economics of the city have made things difficult. A lot of people cannot afford the extracurricular activities for their kids,” Kawaauhau said. “Football is not a cheap sport to play.”
This season the cost for each player could be over $300.
“The cost of equipment and stuff keeps going up. We have payment plans and we as a league have looked into fundraisers and have contacted hundreds of businesses looking for sponsorship,” she said. “We are reaching out to the Taylorsville businesses. Even if they picked up half a fee, that would help. It is a huge thing for families especially if they have more than one player.”
The league is taking early sign-ups and begins practice and play at the end of July.
The Mity Mite team last year played in the Badger Bowl championship game and lost to East 24-13. They defeated Northridge 26-14 in the tournament quarterfinals. The Gridiron team traveled to Mesquite, Nevada and participated in a postseason tournament.
The league has also helped bridge the gap to the high school team. The relationship has grown to be important for the league and the high school team.
League players are invited to participate in training sessions with the high school players and coaches during the preseason, and older kids train with the team and participate in off-season conditioning and weight training. The school has also implemented a Friday Night Lights program for the younger players. The kids are invited to participate in pregame warmups, team dinners, and even do the run out for the home high school games. Any player from Ute Conference that wears their uniform to the high school game gets in free.
“There are many talented football players in Taylorsville. We have seen that many are leaving the area and going to another school,” Kawaauhau said. “In our district, we have kids that have never played a single down. Our coaches learn how to work with these kids.”
Coaches receive training from the high school team and Ute Conference. They are trained in safety as well as game logistics. This season the league has implemented CPR training and emergency plans.
“We want these kids to be role models,” Kawaauhau said. “All of the coaches and board members are volunteers. We do it because we want what is best for these kids of Taylorsville. Our actions and decisions as adults can shape our youth. We need to believe in them until they start believing in themselves.”