The NFL Youth Flag Football League is supposed to be a fun and inexpensive experience for youngsters in Vallejo.
The person or persons who stole the organization’s equipment van? Well, that’s the equivalent of an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
The organization had its van taken last week, leaving league officials looking for help.
“It was a 12-person passenger van and had towing ability,” said Ryan Sarna, the league’s founder. “It carried a lot of kids and equipment.”
Sarna said someone originally took the catalytic converter from the van. Northgate Church in Benicia pitched in to help with that problem. but when they went to get the van on Friday, it was gone.
A new van of this type might cost about $40,000 but a used one closer to $10,000, Sarna said.
The flag football league began last fall with about 120 kids — both boys and girls. Sarna expects to have about 300 athletes for the spring league. The cost is $65 per player, although scholarships are available for others.
The spring league consists of players from MIT, Caliber and Griffin schools in Vallejo. An all-girls division was added as well. Sarna said the league is a good alternative for parents who don’t want their kids playing tackle football.
“About 80 percent of the kids are low-income,” Sarna said. “I’m praying for a blessing. April 2 is when the season starts.”
The league includes a wide variety of kids with different skill levels. The emphasis of the league is for any kid in the area a chance to compete in a fun environment.
“One thing we realized is that great athletes are coming out for the league,” Sarna said. “They’re just playing organized sports for the first time. That’s incredible athletes who are guys and girls.”
The 5-on-5 league consists of 20-minute halves and the games last about 45 minutes.
The league, which was recognized as a nonprofit organization in December, recently signed a partnership with the Police Activities League. The plan is to hold all of the games and volunteer classes at the PAL facility in Vallejo.
Sarna said for now the league will have to load equipment in a pickup truck and multiple cars.
To help donate to a new van, check out gofund.me/d00582d5