New league offers shot for high school football players to play despite virus restrictions

Sports

SAN DIEGO – A local high school football coach plans to launch a new football league to try to make up for a high school season that may never happen in California.

Brian Afoa, an assistant football coach at Steele Canyon High School, held tryouts this past weekend for his new club team that plans to play six games starting in late February.

Brian Afoa, an assistant coach at Steele Canyon High School, held tryouts this past weekend for his new club team that plans to play six games starting in late February. In total, the league intends to field between eight and 12 teams and plans to play on fields near Sycuan Casino Resort in El Cajon, which are not subject to the state’s health and safety protocols.

However, Afoa said teams plan to do everything they can to keep players and coaches safe in addition to following CDC guidelines.

The purpose of the league is to provide high school junior and seniors a chance to play — and get their skills on tape for college recruiters — to offer them a shot to play at the next level. Eighty students attended Afoa’s team tryouts. Those that make it will pay a fee of between $70-$100 to play and they also need to provide their own equipment.

While he knows he’s going out on a limb to create the league, Afoa says it’s something he has to do.

“I’m not afraid to lose my job as a coach, when I know I am doing the right thing,” he said. “I have the full support of people who’s kids are at stake. When you look at the science, and I am not a scientist, kids are at the lowest risk. Life is going to go on, whether we want to sit here and wait for (coronavirus) and wait for the world to turn.

“I know a lot of our kids’ hearts are broken because in so many other states, kids are getting offered and our kids are hanging in the balance. (They’re) wondering, ‘Are we going to have a season?’”

As for California Interscholastic Federation-sanctioned football or any other sports, there’s still be no word on if they will play this academic year.

The most recent statement from the CIF noted that they hoped to start competition Jan. 25.

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