While varsity Friday night lights may always be king, the crowd coming out for the Socorro Youth Flag Football League rivals the biggest of sports games. Families come together twice a week for a spirited competition on the field.
Cheyenne Cortez is the head coordinator of competition for the event at the soccer complex. She is in charge of all team registration. That includes providing team bags with on field flags and jerseys.
There are three different age groups for the teams and kids ages 5 to 13 were out on the field. Games should run for five weeks.
“We’re trying to see how cold the weather gets towards the end and maybe we can get in playoffs. But if we can squeeze in more weeks for the kids, we would love that,” said Cortez.
The young guys and gals congregate for practice on the east side of the field before competition begins at 6 p.m. Each crew has its own identity. Team names include Elite, 49ers, Steelers, Little Giants, Warriors, Lobos, Raiders, Bucs and Jr. Warriors.
Coaching varies from team to team. Some tutor the kids with a group of parents at the helm. Other squads have a singular coach. Simpler drills include understanding basic offensive formation roles and corralling in a downfield catch. The main goal for the coaches is teaching positivity. Just ask Lobo’s Head Coach Seth Rodriguez, whose son Azariah is currently playing.
“We really just want to teach the basics,” he said. “The biggest thing is teamwork. You can’t win alone. Getting these kids early on to learn to work together is what we’re trying to instill going forward.”
Witnessing the future of Socorro sports has a level of risk. If you are coming to attend a game, watch out. You might get an errant flag in the face. The Socorro Youth Flag Football League is meant to be fun but make no mistake, these young guys and gals play hard.