For the past two years, the V.I. Sports Training Academy’s youth tackle football league for middle schoolers has been working out its kinks, but the addition of three new head coaches is going to “help the league turn out a more dedicated product, “officials said over the weekend.
Academy organizer and former territorial tackle football championship coach Francisco Jarvis told the Source Saturday that he is adding Yohanse Henley and Deshawn Christian, who will transition from assistant coaching positions on two of the league’s team, along with Sean Greenaway, the defensive linebacker coach at Ivana Eudora Kean.
The league currently has three teams (the Gamecocks, the Sharks and Scorpions) but as the coaches get more familiar in their new roles, Jarvis said he hopes to add a fourth.
Jarvis has said the purpose of the middle school league is to give local kids the opportunity to play tackle football at an earlier age.
“While tackle football has been provided for high school kids, sometimes they can’t play until the 10th, 11th or 12th grade, and sometimes they’re beyond the coaching age,” Jarvis said. “So, our thinking was that if we gave a kid more time, more years to play tackle football, then they can have an even better opportunity and more chance to play at a higher level.”
In the territory, Jarvis said, tackle football also does not have an elementary component, unlike some of the other sports, which makes the junior varsity flag football league more of a stepping stone instead of a real farm system, which is easier for players to transition.
“With these three new coaches, I just feel a better product will be put forth,” Jarvis said. “This would be the third year of the league, and we’re hoping to have a truly legitimate youth tackle football program in the near future and I feel with these three coaches that goal will be realized.”
The league’s first game is July 8 at Lionel Roberts Stadium on St. Thomas, where the Gamecocks and Sharks will face off in a rematch of last season’s championship game.
“We hope everyone will come out and support,” Jarvis added.