Sept. 8, 2017
As we enter the heart of the fall sports season, the IPS District Athletics Department will be giving elementary students the opportunity to represent their school while playing the season’s most popular sport: football.
After adding futsal and elementary baseball to the sports offerings for our district’s youngest students last year, IPS Athletics continues its growth with a new youth football program. The department has partnered with the well-established Indy Youth Sports (IYS) to bring the excitement of the pigskin to districtwide elementaries for the first time with two different leagues.
Ten IPS teams will compete in the district’s first-ever Elementary Flag Football League, complete with NFL team-themed uniforms. The flag football league is open to Grades K-6, allowing elementary school students the chance to enjoy organized football and to develop basic skills without the collision aspect of traditional football.
Elementary schools also have the option of participating in the Rookie Tackle League, which will feature seven teams during this pilot season. The program was developed by USA Football and is the nation’s very first rookie tackle program to be offered by a school district, as opposed to a club program that many IPS families would not be able to access. In an effort to ensure that all students are taught the proper techniques for safety, all coaches were mandated to complete a certification training, which was provided by IYS and USA Football at no cost.
Teams, which are comprised of many students who have never played organized football, began practicing in mid-August.
Both football offerings are great options for these first-time players, and those who have played before in other leagues. With a maximum of 12 players on a team and fewer players on the field per team (five in flag, six in rookie tackle) each of these student athletes will receive sufficient playing time to learn the game at multiple positions and have a blast making plays on a shorter field, tailored to their size and skill level.
This program will help prepare students who are interested in playing in the IPS City Middle School Football League, which features full 11 vs. 11 tackle gameplay, making them more competitive at the next level and beyond.
All of the games for IPS’ inaugural elementary football season will be held at Riverside Park. The season kicks off at 10 a.m. with a jamboree on Saturday, September 9.