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Testimonials

This page is dedicated to the history of the Elgin Bears, their players, parents and coaches.  We feel this will be an excellent reference for current and future players to read about others experiences in our program.  Thank you to all those that have participated in our league historically.  You have made this league what it is and we thank you for your time spent with us.  

Andrew

I played for EYFL from 2002 -2007 (ages 5-10) and returned for my final season in 2010 (13).

That is seven seasons of fun, hard work and dedication. In my years there, there were so many things that I learned. We learned how to be discipline. Football requires discipline and a solid work ethic. Showing up for practice on time, following the team rules, and learning the plays are all keys to success on the football field. When the player's football career is over, he can apply what he learned about discipline to his career and family life. 

Football also teaches valuable lessons in teamwork that apply both on and off the field. Each player contributes to the success of the team, so understanding and trusting your teammates is crucial. Just like being a part of a football team, being a part of an office team requires the same kind of collaboration. You’ve got to know who you’re working with, invest in the overall success of the business, and work at performing your role to the best of your ability. 

Football is also a good form of friendship and physical development. Some of my closest friends came from those teams, because those were the guys, I spent a lot of time with through sweat and tears. It also helped me stay in shape and build me up for the years to come. 

My favorite memory of EYFL actually came in 2013, it was my Junior year of high school. The summer before that season we had lost one of our own, Robbie Fehlman, to a horrible accident. The opening weekend of that season there was a memorial/moment of silence for him. Guys who had played with him came together and honor him by raising his jersey up during the moment of silence. Some of us playing for rival high schools and some didn’t even know him. But that day we came together as a family to honor him. See that’s what EYFL is, it’s a family. A family of kids and parents from different backgrounds, different experiences, and coming from different places. But when we step on that field, when sit on the sidelines, everything is put aside, and we are one family. We are a family of past, current and future players. It’s a family that continues to grow and that is why I loved playing for the Bears. I currently serve in the United States Navy and continue to use the things I learned on Drake Field today in my personal and professional life.

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Jessica

I played for EYFL from 2010-2011( age 12-13). Although it was only a short period of time, EYFL had a great impact on me. I learned discipline, teamwork, responsibility, safety, and so much more.
The coaches welcomed me with open arms. it didn't matter that I was a girl only that I wanted to play and was dedicated to doing so. Everyone encouraged me and went the extra mile to ensure I improved. It helped my self esteem and motivated me to volunteer in the future. The biggest asset for me was the lessons i learned from the coaches, staff, and volunteers. What you'll find in EYFL is a big family; where everyone wants to teach their kids how to safely play the game we love and give them some fundamental building blocks to use in the future.
My favorite memory was in 2010, when my team was selected for “The Game of The Week.” It was surreal and a great memory that I wrote about it for an English assignment that year. Not only did it showcase our perseverance as a team, but was the most fun I had playing. At the end of the first half we were losing and most of us were upset about it. Our Coaches reminded us that we still had a whole other half to play and that we were just picking up momentum. The little speech and words of encouragement had us ramped up for the second half of the game. It was a battle from there on out, we went back and forth with really good drives. My teammate Tim Jones and I had put the pressure on with the blitz and just had fun with it. We worked hard for that victory but had fun doing it and never gave up.
My time as an Elgin Bear helped boost my confidence, it showed me that a little discipline and teamwork can take you a long way. The knowledge I gained from EYFL,forged a path allowing me to win awards, earn promotions, and accomplish my goals that lead me into my Air Force Career.

Antonio

My son, Antonio Rios, joined EYFL when he was 5 years old.  He's fifteen now. That's ten seasons.  As the years may indicate, the league has meant a lot to him, and our family. He got the standard stuff: teamwork, physical fitness, and a sense of accomplishment.  It's the benefits that only come upon reflection that  make this league special.   The fact that the coaches and staff cared about each player's safety and well-being can not be overstated.  The time that all the volunteers of EYFL, from the people that stripe the field, clean the concession stand, and announce the game can not be  overvalued.  My son is more ready now for all kinds challenges, than he would not be as ready for, without his experience with EYFL.  He knows nothing worth doing comes easy, or without effort, even if you love it.  He knows that not everything is fair, but he can push through disappointments.  He knows better when he needs improvement, and when he's done a better job than before.  He has a sense of when it's time to relax, and when it's time to work.  And so many other nuances that only time will reveal.  I am grateful, on his behalf, for EYFL. 

Jose

My family had a great personal experience with the Elgin Bears. The relation that we built with the coaches and the parents was excellent. I still remember those days that prior to the games all the coaches and parents used to meet up in the field and travel all together, more like a family thing, representing our colors Elgin Bears. I really believe that this had a big meaning for our kids and help them to build stronger relations with one another. Up to this moment we stay in touch with most of them.

My son Jose Gomez joined the Elgin Bears when he was in sixth grade (10 years old). He continued until eighth grade. I personally saw I huge growth on my son Jose’s discipline, not only as an athlete but also as a person. I think the Elgin Bears played a huge role getting him ready for his next step which was South Elgin High School's varsity team. The funny thing is that my family was always into soccer. Jose grew up playing soccer since he was four years old. One day one of his sixth graders friends invited him for football tryouts with the Elgin Bears. After that day we all became Football fans and he continued playing all the way to high school varsity.

Alfredo

Playing youth football for me was one of the best decisions of my life. Youth football and the Bears taught me plenty of life lessons and has shaped me who I am today. The responsibility and discipline that I learned from it has had a tremendous impact in my life from learning how take responsibility for my own actions, to learning discipline not only as a football player, but in the real world as well. My respect for authority also increased due to playing football since I got to see how people with authority don’t do it for power, but rather for your benefit and/or the benefit of everyone else, allowing me to avoid only thinking selfishly. Youth football most importantly has connected me with friends that I would have never met before which led to better social development and friendships that will last a lifetime. I played youth football for 3 years, from 6th grade until 8th grade years 2007-2010. One of the memories that still sticks with me today is how I met one of my friends. At first I had no relationship with him and he was not a kid with discipline so the first 3 weeks of the season were rough for him, leading him to quit the team because he wanted to be in charge and not listen to our coach. But as the next week progressed, he really started to miss the team and playing football in general so he would stick around and watch our practices from a distance, our coach realized this after a few days and invited him back on the team and from there he changed his attitude and became a great teammate, as well as a good friend. Football is a sport I am glad I took a part of because of how much fun I ended up having and how it is not a sport that is not dangerous like the media tends to portray.  

Isaiah

It was the summer of 2011 my son Isaiah was 7 years old and we didn't have a clue of what we were going to do that summer. Then my younger brother Noel said he was enrolling his 5 year old son in the Elgin Bears Youth Football League and that we should also try it. Noel had played on that field when he was young so I thought it would be a good idea. Isaiah is now 15 years old and has been playing foot for 8 years going on 9. He's in high school now. He played 5 years with the Elgin Bears and I coached for 4 of those years. From the day we started on that summer of 2011 we learn how to build not only a good conditioned body, but I also taught my son to be a team player and that their was no "I" in team so he learned how to work as a team, respect others as he wanted to be respected, not talk back or be disrespectful to his coach. His coaches became his friends and he became real close with his teammates learned that he could count on them on and off the field and that they could count on him. As he became better at his positions on the team, he built more self esteem, started doing his job better and feeling good about it. I definitely love how we as the coaches always have had the kids health and education in their best interest. My son quotes that he loved the sport the moment he stepped on the field and that was the start of his new life as a football player and a better person. His first year the team went to playoffs won division champs ended with 11-0. Every year after our team made it to playoffs with a 6-3 record. This Elgin Bears organization has always been like a second family we always feel welcome and have learned so much from it. I definitely recommend that if you think about doing something positive and productive with your child it should be giving him/her the opportunity at youth football you never know what skills they may have and how far they will succeed in this All American sport.

Elijah

My son Elijah played with the Bears from 2010 through 2016. During my seven years as a volunteer coach with the Bears my time was VERY enjoyable; so much so that I have missed it greatly. I loved the fact that other like-minded adults wanted what I wanted for my own son. Not only to teach them the game we all love, but to teach him that it takes discipline to achieve ANY goal. Whether it is to reach the playoffs and win a Championship or to master a simple skill such as a proper three point stance. In life, you have to have discipline to achieve your goals. The early lessons we coached and learned were valuable building blocks that the kids will be able to use for the rest of their lives as they move forward to conquer all that life throws at them.

I will forever remember our very last play of the 2014 Season…It was a playoff game…We were marching down the field against Oak Park, had them on the ropes and I was sure we were going to win the game with only a couple of minutes left…We called our bread and butter play – a swing pass to the tail back out of the back field. The opposing linebacker saw it coming, jumped the route and intercepted the ball. He returned it to the one yard line and Oak Park scored on the next possession. Elijah is now the starting Quarterback for South Elgin High School’s Sophomore team hoping to make an impact in his first Varsity season in the Fall and four years later we STILL talk about that heart-breaking play. But not with rancor and sadness but rather with joy and awe at the great memories of that season that stir up in our minds. Elijah and I will never forget those awesome years we spent together as Coach and Player, but more importantly, as Father and Son

Justin

My son started playing tackle football in the summer of 2012 when he was 6 years old and played with the Elgin Bears organization for 6 years.  I was part of coaching him the last 4 years that he was with the program as I saw the other coaches and parents and knew that I too wanted to be involved.  At first, I did not know exactly how to teach football, but the Elgin Bears are part of TCYFL, which require all coaches to be USA Football Certified, with Heads Up Training as well as attending PCA classes to get certified.  So, I was still new at teaching football, but the Elgin Bears organization did everything possible to ensure that the coaches were educated enough so that they can teach the kids correctly and in a positive manner.  As important, we had a few coaches meetings throughout the year, which were designed so that the coaches could communicate with one another on X’s and O’s in regards to what works and what adjustments can be made in total.  Over the 6 years that my son played with the Elgin Bears he grew in many ways, but in particular he became more confident in social settings and also began to better understand how teamwork in practice translated to games.


My experience with the Elgin Bears football organization was fun because everyone works together.  I developed friendships with some players that I go to school with still today.  The games were a great way to end the week of practice as a reward for practicing hard.  I really enjoyed playing quarterback, a position I started to really understand the last few years.


Besides just the games and overall experience, Homecoming week was my favorite memory with the Elgin Bears.  It is very exciting to have participated in Homecoming for the Elgin Bears.  The level of participation from those giving parents and team mom’s, provide a great setting for the kids to truly have fun and experience all the different activities during homecoming.  
Justin’s unique memory was getting his first ever nickname “bulldog” which was a positive way that the coaches encouraged him to be aggressive.

Ryan

I played for the Elgin Bears in 2009 when I was in 8th Grade before moving on and playing 4 years at Elgin High School. I had already played football for several years and for several different programs. The Elgin Bears program was unique in that it had a family atmosphere across all the age levels. I felt connected to the entire program, not just to the team I was on and it was a cool feeling. I was lucky to be on a team that was loaded with talent, with almost all of us going on to excel at the local high schools. However, we only had 14 kids on the team. This meant that all of us had to be in excellent physical condition and extremely well disciplined as we didn't have any room for error because of fatigue or error in assignment. We had a great group of coaches that set the tone with us from day 1, demanding a lot from us but also rewarding our hard work each step of the way. All the hard work eventually paid off with an undefeated season and a championship trophy. To this day, a decade later, I still talk to most of the kids and coaches from that team. We kept up with each others successes throughout our high school careers and those coaches routinely came out to see all of us play. Playing for the Elgin Bears you will receive top notch coaching and a connection to the game and program that will last long after your playing days are over.

Tyler

Sometimes a picture is all that is needed!

Christopher

My son Christopher has played with the Elgin Bears from 2009-2013. He started playing when he was 8 years old. Playing with the Elgin Bears has taught Christopher to be responsible. He has learned that he is a part of a team, and know that his teammates depends on him. Even in his home life the same rules applies he’s responsible and a great role model for his younger siblings. He knows the value of commitment and sticking with something even if you don’t feel like it. Like going to practice when he didn’t feel like it, but he did because his team depends on him. I remembered before his first game he was so excited. After the game he loved it he couldn’t wait to play his next game.

Contact

Elgin Youth Football & Cheer
We are proud to play our home games at Drake Field, 701 Hastings
Elgin, Illinois 60120

Phone: 224-249-8377
Email: [email protected]
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