League for Athletic Youth begins football practice



By Stan Welch

The Powdersville League for Athletic Youth (PLAY) has begun practice for its four football teams, according to league official Emery Williams. The first practices were held on Monday, July 21. The teams are divided by age – 5&6 year olds; 7&8 year olds; 9&10 year olds; and 10 &12 year olds. The teams have drawn a hundred registrants, while thirty girls have signed up as cheerleaders.

The league’s inaugural baseball season drew one hundred twenty kids this past spring. “What was gratifying is that we didn’t take away from other nearby groups, like Easley or Wren Youth Association. These are new kids who were looking for a place to go.”

The various teams will play teams from other area organizations, like the Easley league, the Wren Youth Association, Pelzer Recreation League and other groups from nearby, such as the TriCounty League out of Central. The first games, or bowl day, will be held August 23 at Liberty.

The league, founded in 2013 by Tom Ross, is a little bit different than most youth sports associations. “We are a faith based organization, and completely family oriented. We made that very clear at the outset, and required that the adults sign contracts with us. Those contracts absolutely prohibit profanity, aggressive behavior towards coaches or officials, or berating or degrading kids who are here to play and learn a sport.”

Williams said a violation will result in an immediate removal and ban from the field, whether it’s a practice or a game. In addition, there will be no games on Wednesdays or Sundays, in honor of worship services; and no games on Friday or Saturday to avoid interfering with high school or college games in the area. “We will operate on Monday, Tuesdays and Thursdays. More than three days a week for kids this age is too much.”

PLAY will have no home bowl days this year, while the County and others work feverishly to make the Dolly Cooper Park ready for use next season. “There is a project underway to get Dolly Cooper ready for baseball, football and soccer, as well as make the site ADA compliant. Councilman Ken Waters has been very involved in that. Also, Powdersville Coach Robert Mustar, and School District One Superintendent David Havird have both been very supportive.”