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Youth football to share Debeley
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Two youth football leagues are now officially affiliated sports organizations with the City of Turlock’s Parks, Recreation and Public Facilities Division. The Turlock Parks, Recreation, and Community Commission voted 3 to 2 to approve affiliation for both Turlock Youth Football and Trans Valley Youth Football League at their Wednesday meeting.
“It behooves us to open up the process to competition, if that is the right word to use,” said Brent Bohlender, commission chair.
Bohlender was referring to a staff recommendation that struck down an affiliation requirement that read “A direct duplication of services will not be considered for affiliation.” Staff said the rule against two similar affiliates did not take into consideration the number of Turlock youth that are interested in youth football today.
Approval of affiliation for both leagues was scheduled for January, but the commission held their vote until February so that  staff could review the current affiliation requirements.
Sports organizations affiliated with the City of Turlock have priority for use of city facilities. Turlock Unified School District also gives priority to city affiliated groups for use of school facilities. Joe Debeley Stadium at Turlock High School is the only lighted football stadium in Turlock with seating and restrooms available for spectators. Both leagues wanted affiliation and priority to use Joe Debeley Stadium.
The original affiliation requirements did not establish a first-come, first-serve rule for affiliation requests. Trans Valley Youth Football League requested affiliation with the city when they established their Turlock Titans youth football team.
Turlock Youth Football has been operating two youth football teams, the Vikings and the 49ers, for 26 years. In that time they have never requested affiliation with the City of Turlock. Zach Perkins, a member of the TYF Board of Directors, said that they never needed affiliation because they were the only youth football league using Joe Debeley Stadium.
“We actually weren’t aware of the need for affiliation status,” Perkins said.
Turlock Parks and Recreation Division staff recommended that commissioners consider only three requirements for deciding affiliation. First, the organization had to include “Turlock” it its name. Second, the group needed proof of insurance and endorsement. Lastly, the group had to provide a roster with 50 percent or more players who reside in Turlock city limits.
“Staff feels strongly that both have met the application requirements as it stands today,” said Juliene Flanders, recreation superintendent.
Perkins said that he wished the Commission would have voted on each league separately, rather than together in the same motion. Had the board voted no, neither team would have been granted affiliation.
“It would make a difference if another (football) team came in and wanted the field, or a soccer team wanted it,” Perkins said.
The Turlock Titans, the Vikings and the 49ers will now all have equal access to Joe Debeley Stadium. Perkins predicted that this will cause a scheduling conflict, especially if Joe Debeley Stadium is not renovated as planned.
“We don’t want to hurt one organization to help another,” Perkins said.
John Nixon with Trans Valley Youth Football League said that Modesto had 15 youth football teams and did not have a scheduling problem.
“I find it difficult to believe that scheduling in Turlock is such an issue,” Nixon said.
Ultimately, it will be up to Turlock High School to schedule the use of Joe Debeley Stadium for both leagues.
To contact Andrea Goodwin, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2003.