CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Three new NFL Flag-sanctioned football leagues are coming to Northeast Ohio.
Elliott Giles spearheaded the startups. He wanted to get more kids involved in football, physical activity and social interaction.
“Nothing else I’d rather be doing than helping our kids, our youth,” Giles said. “I’m a teacher by trade, so it’s in my DNA.”
The teams will operate as part of Northeast Ohio Youth Sports. Teams will be in Summit County, Geauga County and Stark County.
“I grew up playing tackle football because there was no other option for me to play,” Giles said. “But there’s some kids who can strongly benefit from flag football and utilize those skills and fundamentals.”
Children ages 3 to 14 can sign up. Registration for the new leagues ends March 22. Games are set to begin in late April.
Further information including costs can be found by contacting 330-754-1070.
“We give those kids an opportunity to No. 1, learn the fundamentals. Or No. 2, get more reps in before tackle football starts in the fall,” Giles said
He knows a thing or two about football too.
Giles played football at Youngstown State University under coach Jim Tressel. His work on the field landed him in the school’s hall of fame.
For more than a decade, he’s run the successful Youngstown Youth Flag Football Association.
Word of expanding to Summit, Geauga and Stark counties got the attention and support of Tim Tyrrell and others in the sports arena. Tyrrell is the head football coach at Archbishop Hoban High School in Akron.
“It’s just giving them another avenue to start young and start safe so parents aren’t worried,” Tyrrell said. “You say you can play football and safely and learn the game, parents are going to jump on it. It really teaches the fundamental side of things. It teaches teamwork. It teaches what it feels like to be part of a family for young kids, boys and girls. It teaches them the game of football. It’s really done the right way, with good coaching.”
Tyrrell knows from experience as a coach and father.
“I have a 6-year-old son who’s already started in flag football. He thinks it’s the greatest thing in the world. He’s got his touchdown dances,” Tyrrell said.
Giles is thankful for the support he’s received from multiple communities and individuals to begin this new endeavor.
“Young talent has been a big part of my life,” Giles said. “And part of the main reason I decided to stay here was because of Coach Tressel and the things he taught me. I’m just happy to just be able to lay the ground roots here for flag football.”