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ELKHART YOUTH FOOTBALL LEAGUE

History Of The EYFL

A Little EYFL History


For a time in the 1990s, youth football was present in Elkhart in the form of a Rocket League. This  model was the  genesis of a few spirited parents who wanted kids to be able to play tackle football at the youth level. The participation was never extremely high and there was not strong involvement from a core group of adults, leaving only a few individuals to shoulder a massive responsibility. In 2003, a few people stepped up to help champion the cause of getting youth football to develop on a bigger stage in Elkhart, with the primary concern being there were just not enough children learning the fundamentals of football and having fun in the process.  This idea helped create a football league focused around kids, aptly being named The Elkhart Youth Football League.

The EYFL started as collaboration between Elkhart Memorial and Elkhart Central in order to form a teaching-centered tackle football league for the youth of Elkhart.  In its inception, it was a league for only 5th and 6th graders. After a time, some 4th graders were allowed to participate and even a few 3rd graders. It was not ideal to have 6th grade kids competing with 3rd graders, so two divisions were formed: a 3rd/4th division, and a 5th/6th division. Teams were formed mostly according to where children lived, almost becoming shaped into neighborhood squads.

After a number of strong years, participation in the league began to dwindle and there were less adult leaders in place. The EYFL has always been a volunteer led organization, and it can become difficult for people to continue to pour time and energy into an organization if there is not enough teamwork involved. Sadly, The Elkhart Youth Football League had to take a hiatus for a few years.

In 2010, the conversation was started to bring back a youth football league in Elkhart.  This discussion was very energetic and productive, but it also came at a time in the calendar year where having a season that fall would be a tall order.  The idea to start the league was tabled until the following year.  After the Elkhart high school football seasons ended in 2010, attention was turned to getting a youth football league going for the next year.  It was an exciting time in 2011, when almost 100 kids participated in the first season of the rebirth of The Elkhart Youth Football League.

Running a league such as The EYFL is not a task for just a few people and, true to form in Elkhart, several parents of children in the league stepped up to help.  A Board of Directors was formed for the 2012 season and the process was started to develop the league into a full-fledged 501c3 (non profit) institution (process has since been completed).  The whole idea behind bringing back The EYFL was to get as many kids as possible engaged with the game of football without becoming a financial burden for those involved.

The “New” EYFL has grown every year of its existence. The people involved have done a marvelous job of learning from past seasons and instilling changes along the way to continually improve the league and its experience for all participants.  The number of kids playing in The EYFL continues to increase each season, and new practices have been added to ensure the highest level of fun for them, such as the season-launching Jamboree and inter-league play with Edwardsburg Rocket Football.

We are all incredibly excited about the bright future of our league and also thank you for your willingness to be a part of such a special journey for the children of Elkhart.

 
-The EYFL Board of Directors