While most other leagues in the region are cancelling their 2020 seasons, Central Valley Youth Football and Cheer remains hopeful that it can get one in even if it means waiting until the start of 2021.
Three of the eight youth organizations from the area are CVYFC members — Manteca Cowboys, Manteca Jr. Timberwolves and Lathrop Jr. Spartans. Cowboys President Eddie Lopez said most teams in the league are nearing full capacity and that a high percentage of parents have voiced their desire to go through with the season.
“Our numbers are outrageous this year,” Lopez said. “We’re chomping at the bit to play.”
The CVYFC is following in the footsteps of the California Interscholastic Federation; the state’s governing body for high school athletics which announced on July 20 that its 2020-21 calendar will be condensed from three seasons to two while holding off on all competitions during the fall. The prep football season is scheduled to begin on Jan. 8, 2021 in the Sac-Joaquin Section, one of 10 sections within the CIF. Other fall sports are slated to start in late December.
The California Department of Public Health and San Joaquin County Public Health Services released their guidance for youth sports activities this week, banning all competitions, events and tournaments. Teams may still gather for outdoor training and conditioning while practicing social distancing.
“There are teams that may start conditioning, but we won’t do that until they allow us to (have a season),” Lopez said, noting that he does have athletes who have taken the initiative to begin outdoor workouts on their own with personal trainers.
The CVYFC is a nine-team league that was designed to be capped at 10, but for this season only it is open to welcoming outside squads. Lopez said there has been interest.
The Motherlode Valley Football League is also taking a wait-and-see approach, but one of its members has already excluded itself from the season.
“We are all very disappointed but hope you understand why the season needed to be canceled,” the Ripon Chiefs posted on its Facebook page on July 27. “The MVFL has made the decision to wait it out and possibly have a season in December or January. The Ripon Chiefs will not be doing this. We will be waiting until the fall 2021 season to continue.”
Neighboring Ripon Knights had its season called off by the Trans Valley Youth Football League two weeks prior.
“Unfortunately, the number of cases in our area and across the state have dramatically increased,” the TVYFL stated in a letter sent to its teams. “Local and state authorities have implemented various restrictions that have impacted us in many ways.
“We understand these restrictions are in place for the safety of our communities. The TVYFL has always held safety as a top priority. With this in mind the TVYFL Board has decided that the 2020 season will be cancelled.”
The Delta Youth Football League, which includes the Manteca Chargers and Weston Ranch Jr. Cougars, terminated its 2020 campaign the day after CIF moved all fall sports to the winter. The Manteca Raiders, part of Cen-Cal Youth Football, announced its season cancellation on July 14.
“This will be the first time in over a decade some of our Board of Directors and coaches will not be starting a football and cheer season,” the Raiders posted on their website. “This was a hard decision but one that protects a community we love.”
If there is a season for the CVYFC, Lopez said the schedule will likely be shortened. He added that teams may have challenges in finding fields to use over the winter months.
“If we have a season with only five teams that’s fine — we’ve done it before,” he said. “We’ll take a couple teams (from other leagues) so that everyone who wants to play can play.”