Gulf Coast Sharks football team gears up for inaugural season
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - With playground football winding down this time of the year, a crowd of eager athletes aged 10-13 laced up their cleats to try out for a spot on the Gulf Coast Sharks.
The region’s first year-long youth football program held its final try-out at the Popp’s Ferry Recreational Area to see who will be donning a uniform for the inaugural season.
“We start our season in December and then we will go until late Spring,” Director Joel Fields said.
Sharks coaches were eager to pool through the talent ahead of their national tournament in Pensacola next month.
“The main thing is trying to teach the kids the right way and the technique. We want the kids to learn the sport,” head coach Willie Casey said.
The program has been a year in the making, stemming from local military members who were eager to share their knowledge.
“This is another part of service, giving back to the community,” Fields, who is enlisted in the National Guard, said. “We all love the game of football here so it is nice to bring that passion, skill set and knowledge to these kids.”
As interest around the team starts to pick up, organizers are excited to see how the inaugural season pans out.
“They’re going to be the best that they can be. They’re going to compete at a high level,” Casey said.
While the program’s main goal is to give children something to do year-round, organizers also want to capitalize on all of the talent here in South Mississippi.
“The Gulf Coast has been overlooked for years on the talent,” Casey said. “These kids out here are going to learn the techniques. They are going to become sharp players and be the best they can be.”
Coaches say they hope they can prepare their athletes for successful high school, college and maybe even NFL careers while proving the region is a powerhouse of football talent.
“We’re bringing the entire coast together, representing the Mississippi Gulf Coast in national play,” Fields said.
While there won’t be any more official tryouts, coaches say there could be openings on the program’s three teams as the year goes by.
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