Shortened field, no special teams among major changes to be test - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Shortened field, no special teams among major changes to be tested for youth football

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Big-time changes could be on the way to youth football, aimed at trying to make the game safer.

USA football, the governing agency for many youth football leagues, says it plans to try out the new rules in several cities for the upcoming seasons. What cities those are were not immediately available. Below is a list the major changes.

  • Field will measure 40 yards by 35 yards
  • No special teams
  • Mandatory position rotation
  • Seven players on each side of the ball
  • Two coaches allowed on the field

“What I have seen is a heightened awareness level," said St. Stephen Bulldogs coach Ty Anderson. "So now I have parents who are literally asking the question, 'Is this safe.'"

He’s been coaching a youth football for nearly 30 years and seen the game change quite a bit.

“We're much more concentrated on the safety of the kids,” he said

Anderson agrees that looking for safer ways to play the game is a good idea, but a smaller field and less players doesn’t make sense to him or other coaches.

“That would literally change the game as we know it,” Anderson said. “I can see that having a negative impact, as far as number go, and maybe even to the fun level of it, because it would be so new.”

“You're still going to have kids running around hitting, and you're still going to have tackling and blocking,” said Larry Handley, the player safety coach for the St. Stephen Bulldogs.

With declining enrollment in youth leagues and growing parent concerns about safety, USA football hopes the changes will create more interest for kids.

The ideas are just part of a pilot program right now and will be instituted in a few cities before they are evaluated for full roll out.

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