Sharkies Football is Gearing Up for Second Season

0
214
Coach Michael Bonewitz speaks with the Sharkies during halftime in a game last year.

Registration for the Malibu Sharkies youth football program is underway, and Michael Bonewitz, president of the program, said a lot of the participants from the program’s inaugural season are ready to strap on chinstraps and shoulder pads.

“Every player I see around town or at the schools always asks when the season begins and tells me they can’t wait,” Bonewitz said. “There are even a few kids who tell me it’s their sport, after one season.” 

Malibu plays in the Gold Coast Youth Football League. The two-division league includes youth football squads from cities such as Camarillo, Crown Valley, Carpinteria, Fillmore, Los Angeles, Moorpark, Oxnard, Santa Clarita, Santa Paula, Saugus, Simi Valley, the San Fernando Valley, Ventura and Westlake. 

The Sharkies fielded two squads last season. One was a freshman division team composed of nine-to 11-year-olds. The second was a junior division squad made up of 11-to 13-year olds. In total, 47 kids were Sharkies. 

Registration for the Sharkies football began last month and is open to kids ages six to 14. The price for registration is currently $350. 

Off-season conditioning practice will begin on July 20. The first full-contact practice will be Aug. 3, followed by jamboree scrimmages on Aug. 22.

Bonewitz called the first season of Sharkies football a success. He said all of the kids loved playing football, whether they won or lost.

“It was tough, too, because all our players were new to the sport,” he said. “For our comparatively small Malibu community, I thought we had a high percentage of natural athletes and did very well against kids with much more experience. I was very proud of our Malibu boys who hung in and continued to fight, even when the competition was tough.” 

Bonewitz said one of the Sharkies’ goals for this year is to teach players life skills, including accountability, camaraderie, respect, leadership and discipline.

“We did well last year for a brand new chapter and this season, I expect the experienced players to return and help lead the new players to more victories,” he said. 

Bonewitz said kids will play with and against other players in their age and weight range. He said each category needs a minimum number of players in order to field a team.

“Last year, I had to let about eight seven-year-olds go because we didn’t reach a minimum in their category,” he said.

One of the initial reasons the Sharkies program was started was to give kids earlier preparation for high school football. Bonewitz noted that several players on the upcoming season’s Malibu High School junior varsity team are former Sharkies.

“We are proud to see how they do and how the Malibu High School football program will grow as a result of the Sharkies through the years,” he said.

For more information or to register, visit malibuyouthfootball.com.