At the end of another successful Dragon Youth Football season, celebrations and hardware are the culmination of loads of passion and deep-seated commitment by everyone involved in the league and our supportive Southlake community. This is the devotion to youth football and the traditions of being a Dragon.
So what makes our youth football program so successful in Southlake compared to others in the North Texas Football League, and how do our Southlake teams continue to outperform other teams and work their way into finals year after year?
The answer speaks to the heart of our community and its unwavering dedication when it comes to rolling up our sleeves, volunteering and getting stuck into growing and encouraging a youth program that has extraordinary heart, both on and off the field. The ‘recipe’ itself is made up of many parts, all collectively contributing to the dynamic teams’ performances and successes over the past several years. Perhaps DYF helps develop a foundation and path towards Dragon’s middle and high school football.
It starts with volunteer board members, coaches and team managers who happily put in countless hours behind the scenes, for most of the year, to make sure each season runs as seamlessly as possible for the players. Southlake spirit means parents also get involved in helping whenever and wherever they can and provide much-needed support and encouragement, week on week, and because of the uniqueness of who we are in Southlake. The local community heads over to the stadium to watch junior football games even when they don’t have any children on any of the teams. Dragon pride for sure!
At the heart of DYF are the kids who have enthusiasm and excitement by the bucket load! They join K1 teams from as young as five years old, filled with passion for both the game and becoming a Dragon. DYF coaches will tell you that the kids love their school and their club teams but what they love most is being a Dragon. That passion doesn’t falter one bit all the way through to high school. The kids make time to get to scheduled practices twice a week where they run the drills and give it everything they have to get a chance to play on weekends. These little guys also get to learn about winning and losing, what it takes to be a team player and respecting leadership and guidance early on – all through youth football. In the offseason many of the parents help complement or strengthen the kids’ skills through an array of exceptional resources right here in Southlake. They do it because apart from being invested in their kids they’re also invested in that collective team dynamic and the Dragons ethos.
Dedicated coaches are key to the long term success of the league as much as the boy’s passion and enthusiasm for the game. Since the start of Dragon Youth Football in 2003, local volunteer coaches and team moms have been the core of the organization serving the teams twice a week at practices and at the games over weekends. The coaches also put in extra time, whenever they can, to layout training programs, mull over team selection and work on tactics for each upcoming game.
Coaches and players match each other’s dedication when it comes to preparation and commitment, putting in loads of hard work throughout the year. The result is that both players and coaches return year after year for another season together, building significant impetus over time until they eventually move up into prep football. Lifelong friendships and bonds are developed through practicing and playing together in Dragon Youth Football, and the benefits of youth football are carried forward all the way to varsity football.
Another unique quality of Dragon Youth Football is that none of the players are recruited to join. Most of the kids involved are born and raised here in Southlake and join from grassroots, working their way through the age groups until grade six. The structure and style of football they learn from that early on compliments the style of football played in local schools and is a great feeder for them.
All of this helps understand why the Dragon philosophy to local sport is so successful, given the development these young players get through encouragement, guidance and support of their dedicated coaches, the commitment of their parents and the sideline support of the community they live in.
How did 2021 fair for Dragon Youth Football? A total of 128 teams entered the North Texas Football league across the K1 to 6th grade age groups. At the start of the 2021 season, Southlake entered 39 full teams and when the final whistle blew and the season wrapped up Southlake teams had proudly won five out of the six divisions in the annual Super Bowl game!
As we celebrate at the end of another excellent football season for youth football (and football across the board in Southlake) it’s really great to know that Southlake is so full of sporting options and opportunities. We have different seasons through the year where the kids in our community can be actively involved in football, cheerleading, baseball, basketball, chess, horse riding, dancing or being in a state champion band! There are truly so many exceptional children doing amazing things each and every day and we look forward to talking about them all.