Sam Houston Sr. has been a youth football coach for several years in the Valley.
He enjoyed it immensely but felt it was missing an important attribute: safety. He felt uncomfortable introducing his 5-year-old son to football, which he felt was unsafe. Instead, he founded the Arizona BlackHawks.
“Especially at the younger levels, fundamentals are key for learning the game of tackle football,” Houston said.
“Proper tackling techniques, teamwork ethic and safety — all of those things were not being touched on and taught correctly. Me being me, having the expertise, I just decided to jump in and teach the little guys the right way.”
The Avondale-based Arizona BlackHawks are seeking players for its 8U and 11U teams for the upcoming season. The 8U team is new this year, and Houston said he’s up for the challenge.
“(We’ll be) definitely going hands-on with those little guys a little longer,” Houston said.
“Making sure that they understand their assignments and what their job is, working on tackling form, positioning the head the correct way when going in for a tackle, showing the kids the correct way to be a part of a team, encouraging one another no matter the outcome.
“I know a lot of those kids are going to be making the transition from flag football, which is phenomenal. Just come in and just be willing to learn. We don’t really have a desired thing that we’re looking for. Just hardworking kids that want to learn the game the correct way.”
Players who participate in the 8U and 11U teams will play throughout Arizona. The 11U team, in particular, will have the opportunity to travel out of state as well for pre-season play.
“We’re looking to possibly travel out to Las Vegas in August just to prepare the boys for the season. The season is eight weeks, starting in September, and it lasts through November.”
Houston is primarily looking for kids who will come in willing to listen, wanting to work hard and dedicate themselves to playing the game safely.
“I’m looking for student-athletes first,” Houston said. “I’m big on grades. So, any child that wants to play the game of football, has great grades and wants to do the sport. I know that tackle football definitely has a bad stigma across the Valley, and other states, with the whole concussion protocol. But, rest assured, the little guys are definitely taught the game the correct way.”
Houston also wants to utilize football to teach kids about life beyond the field.
“My main thing is hard work,” he said. “When we reach adulthood, there’s going to be obstacles in front of us. I definitely want my athletes to know how to maneuver and take whatever comes and keep working at it no matter what.”
For more information, contact Sam Houston Sr. at email@example.com or by calling 602-672-6101.