Elite Youth Sports to Host First Tryouts This Year

By Kerra Williams | Aspiring Journalist
Delta Digital News Service

JONESBORO, Ark. – Elite Youth Sports Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) team hosted their first football tryouts of the year at Nettleton’s High School from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Feb. 27. 

The youth organization with the reigning 12 and under (12U) National Championship team, returned to take part in this year’s tryout for all 8 and under (8U), 10 and under (10U) and 12 and under divisions.

Elite Youth Football being a football development program for ages seven to 12 years of age, it is a competitive AAU program that provides opportunities for young people in North East Arkansas to grow and develop with amateur coaches and mentors that will assist with their development.

Rennell Woods, CEO of Elite Youth Sports, said that even after setbacks with COVID-19 his goal was to get back out to the community and do it again to see how many kids are interested. 

Woods said, “Statistically, in the last year only 38% of kids ages six to 12 played sports, down 45% since 2008 according to the Sports & Industry Association (SFIA). Kids are staying inside and playing with electronic devices and with that my goal is to see the kids get back out.”

“With over 30 athletes showing up, it was a great turnout for the first official tryout for Elite Youth Sports this year.” Coach Jackie Cunningham said. 

Testing for abilities like strength, speed and agility, each athlete had to partake in drills like the 20-yard dash, power push sled, long jump, and a 20-yard dash shuffle to test their strengths and weaknesses but also to get a good evaluation from the coaches. 

Cunningham, an assistant coach for Elite, said that “each drill is designed to see how quick and accurate a child can be.”

“Another objective for us at Elite is to keep our arms around our youth, to make sure they stay off the streets and giving them an opportunity with football to do something positive,” he explained. 

With Elite being one of the top AAU football programs in the state, it allows more competitive aspects to be encountered at this program. 

Cole Shannon, who is a part of the 8U division says “Today was fun, I was excited, It was about getting better.” 

This was just the first tryout for this year, but it is not the last. 

Elite Youth Sports will be hosting just two more tryouts. Next one on March 14 and another on April 3. 

Kerra Williams is a junior multimedia journalism major in The School of Media and Journalism at Arkansas State University. She can be contacted at kerra.williams@smail.astate.edu.