Football players run camp for youth

Juniors Damian Thomas Mirizzi (left) Noah McGinty (right) teach their small group of students how to properly place their thumb for a hike. The kids along were taught to always have their thumb up when hiking a ball.

Vlad Korobkin, Staff Writer

While many students were enjoying the beach weather with their friends Saturday, March 2, the majority of the varsity football team spent their morning coaching upcoming football players in an FNL camp.

FNL  (Friday Night Lights) is a youth flag football program which head football coach Thadd Macneal brought to Carlsbad with his return from his high school years.

Hand-picked players were able to coach in the camp and teach their own groups of children to understand the basic skills of football.

“My favorite part of the camp was teaching the kids about football,” junior Damian Mirizzi said. “They have the passion but don’t really know how to play the game.”

Alongside the Carlsbad players were a number of alumni players and Israel “Tofi” Paopao from the Oceanside football team.

The camp was diverse in the grades of the attendees with some ranging from kindergartners to eighth graders. The groups were broken up into kindergartners, first and second graders, third and fourth graders, and the older kids.

“Most of the third and fourth graders knew the basics, but the camp was a good way to sharpen them,” junior Jordan Perez said.

Each football player took a group of about 10 kids and led them through warm-ups and different stations. As clusters of kids moved from one coach to the next, each football player ran the same drill but with a new group each time.

A coach focused on teaching a specific skill set that he is good at, such as snapping, passing, catching or any other vital football skill.

Most of the kids at the camp have either had limited exposure to the game of football or none at all. Because of this, the camp focused on mainly teaching the most vital skills in a fun, energetic way.

The varsity football players ran everywhere with the kids, cheered them on, helped them fix their flags and encouraged the kids to try harder because they felt very passionate about their jobs.

“I am coaching FNL because I did it where I lived,” junior Dallin Jones said. “And I know that kids really look up to high schoolers.”