Dear EAFL Youth Division Players and Families,
First of all, and on behalf of the EAFL management and staff, I would like to wish each of you a joyous holiday season and peaceful, healthy and prosperous 2018. The New Year will get started the right way, with lots of gridiron action as the EAFL kicks off its 6th season and the road to Desert Bowl VI begins!
As you are all aware, we conducted our Youth Division drafts in Dubai and Abu Dhabi this past weekend. Our first task was determining the number of players in each city at each division, which, in turn, guides us in determining the following:
- The number of teams per division in each city
- The format for each division (i.e., 11-man, 9-man, 8-man)
- The identity of each team (more detail below)
A combination of economic factors within the UAE, combined with the new starting date of our season, has led to reduced numbers this year, particularly in Al Ain, where a Desert Foxes club with a proud history may only be able to field a men’s team this year. We will continue our recruiting efforts and try to increase the number of players and the number of teams in the League, but for the moment our team structure reflects the facts as they now stand.
Accordingly, we present here the Youth Division structure:
Pee Wee Division
This is our strongest division, with the possibility of 5 teams in play. The Pee Wee Division will play in the 8-man format.
- Al-Ain Desert Foxes (NOT YET CONFIRMED; Head Coach: Chris Little)
- Abu Dhabi Scorpions (Head Coach: Brandon Bajema)
- Abu Dhabi Wildcats (Head Coach: Tony Robinson)
- Dubai Barracudas (Head Coach: TBD)
- Dubai Stallions (Head Coach: TBD)
* NOTE: We have assistant coaches in place for both the Barracudas and Stallions and are actively moving to fill the Head Coach positions for both teams. Any parents with coaching experience who would like to volunteer would certainly be welcome, and I ask that you contact me directly (050 558 5207) to discuss.
This division has been significantly impacted by the graduation of many of last year’s Bantam players up to the Junior Varsity Division. Faced with a choice between several thin teams in a smaller format or two solid teams in the full format, the League and the coaches decided that the full format was preferred. Thus, the Bantam Division will consist of two teams playing 11-man football.
- Al-Ain Desert Foxes (NOT YET CONFIRMED; Head Coach: Charles Singleton)
- Abu Dhabi Capitals (Head Coach: James Compton)
- Dubai Sand Vipers (HC: TBD; Interim HC: Patrick Campos
Junior Varsity Division
The 2018 JV Division will have 3 teams playing the 9-man format.
- Abu Dhabi Capitals (Head Coach: Robert Lega)
- Dubai Barracudas (Head Coach: Jerry Herrera)
- Dubai Stallions (Head Coach: Peter Boylan)
The 2018 Varsity Division will have 3 teams playing the 9-man format.
- Abu Dhabi Capitals (Head Coach: Perry Blackburn)
- Dubai Barracudas (Head Coach: Andrew Thigpen)
- Dubai Stallions (Head Coach: Taylor Avritt)
- Practices will begin on January 7 (Abu Dhabi / Al Ain) and January 8 (Dubai)
- Practices will be in full pads
- Please continue to recruit friends and anyone you meet who might be interested in our great sport! We will continue to review the numbers in each division and, if they improve, we will consider an in-season shift to full (11-man) format or those divisions playing reduced format (IMPORTANT: this decision will be made by the EAFL Rules Committee; however, no team will be required to play in a new format for the playoffs if it has not played at least 2 regular season games in the playoff format).
I look forward to seeing all of you on the field for another exciting season of EAFL football – best of luck to each of you!
(p.s. A huge shout-out to all of our great EAFL Falcons players who participated in an amazing Fall 2017 campaign through Spain, Singapore and the USA. You represented the League and your families with dignity, toughness, pride and honor. The fruits of your hard work will surely show up on game days this season!)
Patrick F. Campos
Director, Strategy & Youth Football
Emirates American Football League
Dubai, United Arab Emirates