LGYF is run by the highschool soccer program
LANCASTER – Cliff Reynolds laid the groundwork in 2018 when he founded the Lancaster Gales Youth Football Association.
The LGYFA is a league that is divided into three divisions of tackle football according to grade levels. The mini division is for players entering first and second grades, the junior division is for players entering third and fourth grades, and the senior division is for players entering fifth and sixth grades.
The league has been a huge success for the past three seasons, but Reynolds’ goal was to have the league become part of the Lancaster City Schools and high school football programs.
New Lancaster football coach Bryan Schoonover agreed and immediately made it happen. The league is now called Lancaster Gales Youth Football.
“We had a good relationship with the high school soccer team and we worked well together, but we’re one unit now and that means unlimited resources for the coaches,” said Reynolds. “They know what kind of product we should be offering the parents and the children, and to me that means the high school team will have great success in the future.
“We laid the foundation on which we wanted to rely on the development of players and coaches and I think we did a good job building the trust of the community. Our numbers have grown every year. Now that we’re under the Lancaster City Schools and the high school football program under Coach Schoonover, the K-12 model and development plan are really getting merged as far as what we do at the youth level and it to the junior High coaches and then on to the high school coaches. “
Schoonover, who will take over the Lancaster football program after longtime coach Rob Carpenter retired after last season, said the youth league under her leadership will help build good relationships.
“It gives us the possibility that every child in Lancaster will be on the high school football team,” said Schoonover. “We want everyone to play and everyone to be involved. We want children to be Gales. So we have something similar to what the basketball program does to the Gale Force Academy. They’ve had a lot of success this season and a lot has to do with the Gale Force Academy installment payments.
“From the time they start playing, our children will learn the exact same exercises and techniques, and they will do what we do and do what we do from first grade to the end. It’s huge to development, it’s huge to growth, and it’s exciting. We want every child to have the opportunity to play. It’s an exciting time for Lancaster football. “
Reynolds resigned as president of the league to take a coaching position on the staff of the Gales. Mike Jacobs will be the new president.
Schoonover said the league’s model will be the same as before in terms of competition and football at the class level.
Coaches in the league have already visited coaching clinics to make sure everyone is on the same page and to make the league as safe as possible for the players.
Most successful high school programs have excellent feeder systems. Running the youth league under the direction of the high school soccer program ensures that the younger players are ready to play by the time they reach high school levels.
“I think it’s great across the board because the guys in this league, the coaches, the techniques we want to teach,” said Schoonover. “At some point these younger boys are going to be playing high school football and we want them to play for Lancaster. We think it’s important and the feeder program is a start. That’s a big part of developing a program. “
“This is an opportunity for us to convey what we want to do and we want to make sure that children are excited to play football at all levels and that they have a great experience. That’s the big motivating factor for us and they have the chance to play at Fulton Field. “
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