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Indy Youth Sports uses football as a tool to teach basic life skills, and to expose, educate and impart to players, parents and coaches a culture of core values.


Indy Youth Sports Football League (IYSFL) was formed in 2010 to create a structured organization that encourages youth and families to participate in organized football, emphasizes the importance of education and teach necessary life skills to inner city youth in the city of Indianapolis. The league is collaboration between the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS), Indy Parks, Tabernacle Recreation League (TAB), Police Athletic League (PAL), Coach Alonzo Watford Inner City Football League (CAW), and the Municipal Gardens DADS Club. IYSFL supports an affordable Rookie League environment for 7-12 year old tackle and flag football, and  an advanced Recreation League for 12-14 year old (middle school) spring school based tackle football.

With the growing crime rate amongst teenagers in the city of Indianapolis, it is imperative that high school students have more positive activities to participate in. Indy Youth Sports developed the “7-on-7 Friday Night Lights” program at Tabernacle Presbyterian field to give high school student athletes a safe, fun and structured environment for them to engage their peers and develop their skills.

IYSFL Options: 

USA Football player development model


Indy Youth Sports encourage the exploration of a career in sports. There’s no doubt that people will always take part in and watch sports. In turn, there will always be a need for referees and umpires to officiate at sporting events and make sure that play is fair. A growing population means more people playing organized sports and more demand for umpires and referees. Also, a growing school population means that school athletic programs are expanding. With over 300 youth football games per year, Indy Youth Sports Officiating Program provides career training and paid employment opportunities for 20 high school juniors and seniors each year.


The IYS officiating program provides:

  • Paid part-time employment. High school juniors and seniors are compensated $15 per game with a minimum of three games per Saturday and maximum of six games.

  • Training and certification courses through the official USA Football program.


Indy Youth Sports assists Indianapolis Public Schools and Mayor Charter School coaches with equipment needs for their high school and middle school programs. Since 2013, IYS has worked with over 8 schools to provide helmets, shoulder pads, girdles, thigh & knee pads, game and practice footballs and access to game filming equipment.


Indy Youth Sports' “Flanner Buchanan" recognition program is designed to encourage and motivate student athletes to maintain satisfactory grades in school and to emphasize the importance of keeping a proper balance between scholastic and athletic endeavors. IYS recognizes students’ athletic performance on all levels (8U – 14U) with a weekly player of the week trophy. Students with a B average or higher are recognized for their academic achievement at midterm and again at the end of year banquet.


The Indy Youth Sports college visitation program is designed to empower students by providing social capital and cultural experiences that would fundamentally shatter their understanding that college is only accessible for certain people. It would provide a reason and an opportunity for students to re-engage with school. By exposing the students to the college tours and the collegiate athletic experience, IYS will develop hope and desire to succeed amongst participants


Indy Youth Sports emphasizes the importance of education by recognizing the success of our student athletes in the classroom. Once a month, IYS celebrates a student athlete of the month for each team and age group in our league. IYS also recognizes high school and middle school academic achievement by our student athletes at the end of the year academic banquet.


Each summer, Indy Youth Sports connects high school student athletes with collegiate and pro athletes during a week-long leadership development program. The program is designed to give our student athletes a safe space to share experiences, give advice, and discuss key social issues in their community.


Indy Youth Sports engages over 2,000 parents, guardians and adult family members annually via youth sports programming. Youth sports serves as the vehicle to engage parent, guardians and family members as we strive to emphasize the importance of education and empower parents to take the lead in preparing youth for a quality education. In 2016 IYS has adopted the Scholastic Read and Rise program as a tool to empower parents, guardians and adult family members to take the lead with youth literacy.

Read and Rise builds community capacity by supporting and facilitating early language development in young children through educator training, parent workshops, and family and community resources. At the heart of the Read and Rise program is a series of conversation workshops. The workshops are called “conversations” because they encourage families to talk and learn from each other. Read and Rise fosters understanding about the family’s role in supporting language and literacy development by encouraging intentional use of literacy development practices in the home. Research suggests that families are the most important influence on a child’s language and literacy development.

On the Field
Off the Field
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