With last year’s American Youth Football League season wiped out because of the pandemic, youth football players can return to the gridiron for free in June.
For the second consecutive month, the city of Delray Beach is putting on a free football camp at Merritt Park (Block 48), 316 SW Second Ave. from 6 to 7:45 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays. They started holding the free camp in May and this month’s camp will take place through June 24.
The Delray Rocks is hosting the clinic that allows young athletes to showcase their skills and improve on them. All participants are required to register and complete a waiver before starting camp.
Bernard Wright, who has served as the Delray Rocks president for the past 10 years, said most of the athletes continue with the tackle football program. He has athletes from Fort Lauderdale to Wellington in addition to the neighboring cities.
“This is big for the kids,” Wright said. “There are a lot of kids that didn’t get an opportunity to do much because of COVID last year. They can finally get out of the house and do some organized sports.”
Wright said since they have been a part of the AYFL, they have had the free football clinics every year as part of their offseason workouts. In May, they had over 100 athletes daily and Wright expects that number to double since the baseball league, track season and other sports have been winding down.
The Rocks will begin officially organized practices on July 1 at Pompey Park. Wright anticipates the program will have over 270 players this year.
“The kids had a year off and didn’t really do anything, so right now the main focus is to get their bodies conditioned for football,” Wright said. “We aren’t in pads and tackling anyone, so we’ll know more in July.
“We have a lot of new kids out this year,” he said. “We have some that have never played football before.”
All CDC COVID-19 safety protocols will apply. Participants are required to wear a standard face-covering/mask and social distancing will be enforced. All participants should bring their own water.