Semi-pro football is making its way to Maricopa, with the help of local resident JD Young, in the form of the Copa Storm.
Young, who played three years of semi-pro football in Texas, has set his sights on creating a program that offers men 18 years and older a way to make a difference on the field. Young said he wants to provide an athletic outlet for those who do not have the resources otherwise.
“Sometimes, young men don’t have the scout coverage,” he said.
For those who think their playing years are behind them, Young said the Copa Storm will give former athletes a chance to play competitively again.
A combine is scheduled for July 25 at 7:30 p.m. at Copper Sky Recreational Center’s multi-purpose fields and will test potential players using various drills. Young is asking for a $10 tryout fee and a non-perishable food item for donation, or $15 fee without a food donation. Paperwork required for the combine can be found on the team’s website.
The season officially begins in February and runs through June, when playoffs take place.
“We’re hoping to start with practices two or three times a week,” Young said. “That could potentially go to four times a week.”
While practice will be held in Maricopa, there will be some light travel required for away games. “Away games may include travel to Casa Grande, Mesa or Phoenix,” Young said.
In addition to forming a roster, Young said there will be a governing board as well.
“We are currently looking for volunteers,” he said. “Along with myself as head coach, and the head of the cheer squad, we also need a players’ representative along with a few other members.”
April Middleton signed on to lead the Copa Divas, who will likely appear at all home games to root on the Storm. Members of the board, as well as players through their representative, will have a say in the functions of the team.
Young added he is thrilled to have the assistance of Wayne Block, who will handle public relation concerns for the Copa Storm. “He’s a vault of knowledge,” Young said.
Block brings 38 years of experience as a college sports information director, and will be able to apply that to his position with the Storm.
“The team needs public relations to get the word out,” he said.
Block plans to attract sponsors in order to assist with the financial aspects related to forming the team, and keeping it going. “The board will be volunteer-based, as will every member of the organization,” Block said.
Young added that an athletic organization such as the Copa Storm could potentially help younger players receive recognition. “This is why we’re not going to pay players,” Young said. “It would make them ineligible for the NCAA.”
In addition to league fees, football certainly requires a large amount of equipment. Block hopes a sense of hometown sportsmanship will bring in sponsors. Uniforms, however, will need to be purchased by the players.
“We hope to build tiered packages for potential sponsors,” Young said. “Hanging a company’s banner at home games and advertising on the team’s website are a couple of things we’d like to offer.”
Young said he has high hopes for a positive reception in Maricopa.
“We have the potential to bring in business to our city,” he said. “Local businesses can certainly benefit from our home games.”
Financial benefits aside, Block envisions Maricopa coming together to cheer on one team.
“There was a time when each small town would have their own sports team,” Block said. “We want to create that sense of pride for Maricopa.”
For more information regarding the team, governing board, sponsorships or cheer squad visit Copa Storm Football on Facebook, or the team’s website LeagueLineup.com/copastormfootball.