The Flags in The Valley Football League, based in the Blakley, began in 2017.

The Leagues founders wanted to have a safer alternative to introducing area children to the game. The league is based upon the NFL Flag Football protocol that enables children to participate in a fast-growing sport that teaches them football fundamentals in a safe, non-contact environment all the while allowing them to learn one of America’s favorite pastimes. The league allows both boys and girls to play together while honing skills that can allow them to gain exercise and endurance.

The children learn fundamentals including catching, throwing, formations, routes and defensive skills while building team camaraderie and discipline. Parents find it easy to fit the sport into their busy lifestyles. With practices and games typically once a week, even two- or three-sport children find a way to play.

Children begin in the league in one of three divisions: C-division is grades kindergarten to first; B-division is second and third grade and A-division is fourth through sixth grade. The current season has four C-division teams and six B division teams with each team in each division having a head coach and an assistant coach. Teams wear NFL-sanctioned gear including jerseys, short and belts/flags all covered in the cost of registration which was $65 this season, per the NFL.

The Flags in The Valley Football League, now in its fourth year, has become a staple in the football-rich traditions in the valley area. Each year there is a spring and fall season, each playing for approximately two months with a regular game schedule including playoffs and a Superbowl.

This fall, a new board of directors was formed following the transition from the previous administration whose children aged out of the league and/or moved on to tackle football.

The previous administration of the League headed by Christopher Wrubel, Daniel Horn and Justin Bradley paved the way for the success that the league currently enjoys. Today, the league is headed up by Todd Ferretti, president; Christopher Nicastro, vice president, both of Jessup; Jillian Baldan, treasurer, Jermyn; Chris Gombar, secretary and Dave Warnetsky, both of Archbald.

While the current administration began their inaugural season in the fall, they found it easier to adopt to the transition because typically the fall season registration numbers is down to about 75 players from a typical spring season that can climb up to 150 players. The reason for the differing seasons registrations are the sports of soccer and baseball now taking foothold as popular fall sports in the area.

This year, the new board put a bit of a twist on the league by having a first-time Superbowl tailgate party on Oct. 24 for the parents and children to enjoy while their teams competed in the championship game. The aim is to bring back all the players to cheer on their league mates while celebrating their hard work through this season.

Parents and local business have been a tremendous support to this season’s success in raising funds to be able to hold this event. The Blakely Borough is gracious enough to allow the league to play on the Haband field, which the borough does an excellent job of maintaining throughout the season.

Todd Ferretti is the Flags in The Valley Football League president. Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the League’s Facebook page at facebook.com flagsinthevalley for more information. The league will begin accepting registrations for the spring season in early 2022.