Washington Youth Football League season kicks off soon.

Published 6:34 pm Wednesday, July 21, 2021

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The Washington Youth Football League will be back on the field next month after not playing last fall because of COVID-19.

Registration will close soon as the league will field a 6U flag football squad with tackling permitted in the 8, 10 and 12U age groups.

“We are very happy to have a season after missing last fall,” league president Billy Respess said. “We have 65 players so far and have room for more. People are seeing our signs around town and word is spreading. We’ll find a spot for anyone who wants to play.”

The WYFL practices and plays at Kugler Field on Washington’s east side. The bleachers were removed for safety reasons over the summer and the organization is raising money to build a staircase to reach the press box.

“We run the public address system and scoreboard from there and it’s not feasible to move them to field level,” Respess said. “This expense comes on top of our usual ones, so we are looking for donations to help us buy lumber and the other materials we need. We have team parents who will build it, but we need help to cover the materials.”

The WYFL is a self-funded operation after splitting off from the city parks and recreation department in 2008. Revenue comes from an $85 registration fee, sponsorships and donations.

Expenses include field preparation and maintenance, officials, liability insurance and providing and replacing equipment. Each player gets a helmet, jersey, pads and pants and the helmets have to meet current safety standards.

“We did have to raise our fee after COVID, because our costs went up,” Respess said. “Our budget is $12-15,000 and we have to replace a bunch of equipment this season.”

The local team is part of a community league with Greenville, Williamston, Chocowinity, Belhaven, Bath and Bear Grass in past seasons.

Practice starts the first week of August with the opening game Sept. 18.

The season ends with the Super Bowl in mid-November.

“The kids love ending the season with the Super Bowl on a high school field,” Respess said. “We’ve played at J.H. Rose, Riverside and Washington High School’s field in the past and it’s been a lot of fun. We are excited to be back after missing last fall and would love to have more sponsors to help us with our expenses.”

Sponsorships include a banner at Kugler Field and a League donor can join for any amount. Team sponsorships are $300, Corporate is $500 and Growth sponsorship is $1,000.

“We feel like a good youth sports program helps the high school teams and is a positive for the community,” Repress said. “We appreciate our sponsors and volunteers and are looking forward to a fun season.”