High school athletics provides young athletes with the opportunity to compete and perform in front of their peers as well as form bonds with their coaches and teammates, but what happens after graduation? Some athletes go on to play at the collegiate level but many don’t get that opportunity and even if they do, that time is limited.
So what happens when your playing days are over but the passion for competition still burns?
Some soccer players might join indoor leagues; former baseball players might join softball leagues, but what about football players? Sure, flag football is an option but without full contact the sport loses its luster.
Cue the San Joaquin Valley Football League and the start up semi-pro team the County Regulators.
“We wanted to put together a team with dedicated players,” head coach and co-owner Joey Henley said. “Some want to see if they still have it and others just love the sport.”
Although the official start of the SJVFL season isn’t until January, the Regulators held one of their first tryouts on Saturday, welcoming 12 players from around the Valley to three hours of light conditioning and passing drills.
The potential players ranged in age and experience. Some played for semi-pro teams in the past, some were former Modesto Junior College players, and others hadn’t competed since high school. Although each man’s story was different, it was easy to see a shared desire on each of their faces to earn a spot on the team as they ran through the grass of Sutter Park in Modesto.
“I love football, it’s by far my favorite sport,” Turlock’s Jerimiah Metcalf said. “Hitting is my thing. The thrill and endorphins from the impact is great.”
“I’ve been trying to get back into shape and hopefully go back to MJC and run track,” Patterson’s Robert Samano said. “I’m really just looking forward to the contact and competition though. I’ve tried flag football but it’s not the same, it’s not as physical.”
The County Regulators will continue to hold try outs and practices throughout the year as they attempt to form an inaugural team.
We just want to compete and give back the community,” the team’s co-owner Doug Kitchens said.
For more information regarding try outs or season schedules e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 678-7768.