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Registration open for youth flag football league
youth flag football
The flag football program is open to students in kindergarten through eighth grade and is coached by Pitman High School football players (Photo contributed).

After a successful first camp, Turlock’s newest flag football league has opened registration for a competitive experience which will help young athletes learn the basics while being coached by local high school players.

Earlier this year, former Pitman High School varsity football coach Lance Weckerle brought a Next Level Sports coed flag football camp to Turlock for students in kindergarten through eighth grade. The four-week program saw about 80 local youth spend each Sunday together, learning the basics of the game thanks to coaching from PHS Pride football players.

While there are plenty of youth flag football leagues in the region, it’s this connection with high school students that sets the Next Level Sports league apart, Weckerle said.

“These are people the younger kids look up to and idolize, and now they’re on the field with them bringing their own energy and twist,” he said. “It adds a little bit of extra value to our program.”

The program’s first camp consisted of two, two-hour sessions each week, with the first hour spent working on basic fundamental movement patterns and skills. The second hour featured a flag football game between teams. 

Registration is now open for what will operate more like a league come January, with fundamentals taught during the first hour again but a more-competitive landscape during the league’s second hour. Weckerle believes that after the positive feedback he and the high school coaches received in May and June, the league will hopefully see 300 participants this time around.

“The feedback from players and parents after our first camp was positive, and they seemed to think it was well organized and a good value. It also got the kids out there moving without the concerns that come with full-contact football,” Weckerle said. “They just get to work on their skills and be a part of something fun.”

Participants in the January camp will be divided into four teams per grade level and take part in both skill building and competitive gameplay. The league will run Jan. 16 through March 13 with games on Sundays. Registration is open now and costs $215 for those who register prior to Oct. 31. For those who register after Oct. 31, the cost is $250.

To register for the Next Level Sports flag football program at Pitman High School, visit