Zionsville Youth Football League Develops Confidence & Team-First Mentality

Writer / Matt Keating
Photography provided

The Zionsville Youth Football League is ready for another great season of family fun.

Andrew Manna, president of the Zionsville Youth Football League (ZYFL) board of directors, says the league was incorporated as a not-for-profit in 1994.

Zionsville Youth Football League  “The mission of the ZYFL is to help our players learn and enjoy the game of football, develop their athletic skills, and build character through hard work, fair competition, sportsmanship and teamwork,” Manna says.

The league has grown since its inception 25 years ago.

“Last year our programming included third grade through sixth grade, with approximately 150 players,” Manna says.

Each season of the league has its highlights, and last year was no exception.

“2018 was a successful season for players learning about the fundamentals of football,” Manna says.

A large part of ZYFL is team building.

“Kids have a variety of activities and options to select from in 2019,” Manna says. “ZYFL wants our players to be versatile by experiencing as many different sports as they can. To help teach football, we need to be able to relate to the players by helping them see what the sport offers. There is a team-building aspect of football that puts all members of the team working toward the same goal.”

The players’ confidence also grows.

“Our coaches love seeing players make progress from the beginning of the season until the end,” Manna says. “You can see the impact of learning the game, and the confidence that comes with understanding the individual contribution that each player can make.”

Registration for 2019 has already started.

“For 2019, we started early with registration beginning March 1,” Manna says. “The ZYFL Board has intentionally set a goal of increasing visibility of football, with new programming in grades kindergarten through sixth grade.  For kindergarten through second grade, we now run a flag football program.”

For third graders, there is a brand-new program called TackleBar.

“TackleBar is full equipment that helps teach the basic fundamentals, but has a belt similar to flag football,” Manna says. “There is not full tackle to the ground, and instead the defender stops the offensive ball carrier by pulling on a tube. Finally, we have the traditional fourth grade through sixth-grade tackle football program for our rec league this year.”

Manna noted that ZYFL is also starting another model of football.

“We are working closely with USA Football to implement the progressive model of football called the Football Developmental Model (FDM),” Manna says. “This model teaches long-term development. Players make their way gradually into football starting at a basic level and then advancing forward to a more complex model.”

Manna added that ZYFL supports the Zionsville Middle School and Zionsville West Middle School programs, as well as the high school.

“Our focus this year is to get our players/families involved in the community and bring football awareness to Zionsville,” Manna says. “We hope that you will see football (players and families) out and about participating in events like the Fall Festival Parade. We believe Zionsville can be the type of football town/community that strives for building strong young people committed to their community and then also striving for successful football seasons!”

For general league-related questions, please contact Andrew Manna, president of the ZYFL, at 317-414-0792 or amanna36@gmail.com.

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