Local kids interested in playing tackle or flag football can attend an event this weekend, hosted by Southeast Valley Football (SEV), to talk to coaches and learn more about the local youth league.

The Football Family Fun Day will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Vista Canyon Park, 16020 S. 30th St., on Saturday, April 16. Kids ages 7 to 14 can join a tackle football team and those ages 6 and up can play flag football.

One coach said a goal of SEV is to get kids ready to play at the next level. For older kids, the teams are connected with local high schools, including Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe, to prepare them for that level if and when they get there.

"It's really a win-win situation for high schools as well because we take it to the point where we run offensive and defensive plays that the supporting high schools do," SEV coach Greg Gavel said. "We're the only youth football program in the city that is aligning with local high schools."

On Saturday, participants will play games, get a free lunch and learn more about the league. Gavel said one of the biggest things the kids learn from playing in the league is getting accustomed to physical contact.

"It takes them awhile to get used to the feeling (of tackling) and once they do, once that fear is over, they are football players," Gavel said. "We tell our kids growing up not to behave in a certain way, not to be physical, but on a football field it's OK..

"This is a part of the sport and we teach them you are not hitting because you're angry."

SEV Football is a non-profit organization that has operated in Arizona for 37 years. There are up to 500 kids that play each year. To find out more, visit www.SEVYF.com or call (480) 759-1111.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or bstidham@ahwatukee.com

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