IN SEARCH OF ATHLETES; PAL Football Teams Need a Few More Players

By Kindland, Stephen | The Florida Times Union, July 2, 2005 | Go to article overview

IN SEARCH OF ATHLETES; PAL Football Teams Need a Few More Players


Kindland, Stephen, The Florida Times Union


Byline: STEPHEN KINDLAND

Clay County sheriff's deputies are searching for at least 30 children between the ages of 7 and 15, most of whom live in the Green Cove Springs and Lake Asbury areas.

Deputies describe the suspects, who weigh between 45 and 150 pounds, as "good kids" who aren't particularly dangerous.

The youngsters are wanted for the Clay County Police Athletic League's Pop Warner football teams, according to PAL director Rod Houldson.

Deputy Houldson and other PAL members have been trying to round up enough players to fill out rosters in five Pop Warner divisions the league sponsors, but time is running out if youngsters want to attend the first practice on Aug. 1.

"Maybe it'll be a last-minute thing," Houldson said as he kept an eye on a group of youngsters playing pool and basketball at the PAL's Lemon Street gym in Green Cove Springs.

Houldson has scheduled two "last call" Saturday sign-up days as a final attempt to recruit more players. The first is set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. July 16 at the Lake Asbury Winn-Dixie on Henley Road, and the second will be held the same hours on July 30 at the Green Cove Springs Winn-Dixie on U.S. 17.

Limited spots are available for the Mitey Mites (ages 7-9, 45-90 pounds), but 10 openings exist in both the Junior Pee Wee (8-11, 55-100) and Junior Midget divisions (10-13, 80-130).

Players who live in other parts of Clay County but aren't registered to play for their local athletic associations are eligible for the PAL teams, provided they were unable to sign up because their own associations were at capacity.

Registration fees of $85 could be a factor in the PAL's relatively low turnout, Houldson said, which is why he wants to get the word out that PAL officials are willing to work out payment plans for those in need.

"The door is still open," he said.

Houldson, who wants to be sure that $6,000 worth of brand-new uniforms won't go unused, said the formation of a football team at Lake Asbury Junior High -- which opens for the first time this fall -- could be another reason. …

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