KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — It is the first week of high school football practice across Michigan and many districts are having trouble finding enough players to fill their roster.
Coaches at Loy Norrix High School in Kalamazoo are trying to turn around its numbers and encourage more students to play.
According to head coach Terry Farmer, 15 students showed up to try out for the varsity football team on Monday.
“We’ve got some great kids, good players. Just numbers aren’t there,” he said.
Last year, Loy Norrix moved up 12 to 13 sophomore players to the varsity team to help make up for some of the losses.
In a world with plenty of sports and alternative activities for kids, football programs have to work hard to capture the interest of a new generation. Some people also wonder if increased concerns about concussions is making it harder for districts to find enough players.
Farmer says programs can bounce back with support from student-athletes, the district and the community.
“I’ve had the privilege to be at five different schools that I’ve turned around and two of them didn’t have big community support at those schools. It took a lot of energy within the school itself,” he explained.
While the team has a lot of work ahead of it, Farmer says it is important to remind people about the valuable life lessons football can teach.
Farmer says players can still join the team even if they missed the first day of practice. Loy Norrix’s first varsity game is at home and against Portage Northern on Aug. 29.