CHELSEA (CBS) – It looks like a football team. It sounds like a football team. But is it a football team if the athletes never play a single game?
That is the situation in which members of the Chelsea Pride youth football program find themselves heading into the fall season. Players can practice as much as they want. But this week, the North East Conference Youth Football League shut them down, forbidding games all season.
Last year, Chelsea Pride’s president let a 15-year-old play – even though 14 is the age limit. He says he was just trying to give a troubled boy better options. He has since stepped down from his position.
“I took a chance to take this kid off the street and do the right thing,” says former Pride president Nelson Medina. “And it worked, it worked for a while.”
Medina admits he “made the wrong choice at that time” but he doesn’t think this year’s crop of players should have to pay the price.
“My biggest thing right now is that these kids want to play,” he says.
Close to 200 kids have signed up this year, even in the face of a potentially shuttered season. Parents are negotiating with a league in New Hampshire, hoping to have the Chelsea kids play at least a couple of games there.