Raiders Host Regional Flag Football Tourney

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The Oakland Raiders hosted a 2010 NFL Flag Regional Tournament at the team's Alameda facility. Photo by Allan Yuan.

The Oakland Raiders hosted a 2010 NFL Flag Regional Tournament at the team's Alameda facility. Forty-three teams from all over California and Nevada participated in the tournament for the opportunity to travel to Florida for the National Tournament. Teams competed in three divisions (Co-ed 9-11, Boys 12-14, and Girls12-14) for their chance to travel across the country.

Friends and family lined the edges of the Raiders practice fields to watch the young athletes play throughout the day. According to Brittney Brothers of the NFL League Office, having the tournament at the Raiders headquarters is a big part of the event's success.

All of the teams that participate in the tournament are official NFL Flag members and play in league games and tournaments throughout the season. "A lot of leagues put together an all-star team to come here so it's the best of the best from that league that come play here," said Brothers.

The CYFF Raiders out of San Jose, Calif., brought their league's three most successful teams to the tournament. The 9-11 division, coached by Eric Jackson, practiced hard on the sidelines in between their games. "We have play schemes, we run off 22 different plays," said Jackson. "Their memory is 23 different plays. I'm on the sideline. I'll throw it out to them. They record it and intake it with the rest of the team."

The kids were serious about their football and were excited to play on the Raiders practice fields. "They love it," said Jackson. "We're all Raiders fans out here so it's a good experience for them. It's something for them to always remember. They go to come here to the tournament and hopefully see some players out here and are just having fun."

In between games, participants and their families had the opportunity to meet Raiders Legends Raymond Chester and Charlie Smith. The two Legends happily signed autographs and posed for photos with the kids. "It's football weather," said Chester. "We've got all these kids and fans that are out here and parents. We love the Raiders and they love the Raiders and we love kids."

The Legends enjoyed watching the young people's passion for football at the Raiders practice facility. "It is absolutely awesome to see young kids playing," said Chester. "The flag football format is perfect for them. The parents are involved, it gives the Raiders a chance to get involved and it gives us ex-players a chance to get involved...absolutely perfect situation."

Smith was equally excited to be a part of the tournament. "It reminds me of myself when I was younger," said Smith. "I think as long as they stay in it and do the best they can...no telling where it might take them. It's great for any other thing they get into, the learning."

All of the teams had an exciting day at the 2010 NFL Flag Tournament. One champion from each division earned the all-expenses-paid trip to the National Championship at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on February 24, 2011 in Florida.

Champions:

Co-ed 9-11: Watsonville Saints 
Girls 12-14: WASUP Raiders from Henderson, Nev.
Boys 12-14: Southgate Raiders from Sacramento, Calif.

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