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SC Vikings are purple from an early age

Posted: August 7, 2013 9:52 p.m.
Updated: August 7, 2013 9:52 p.m.

The Santa Clarita Vikings, the valley's newest youth program, are the areas only Pop Warner football team.

 

The Santa Clarita Vikings dared to be different.

As the newest youth football program in town, the Vikings are also the only one to compete within the Pop Warner organization.

The five other programs in this valley either compete in the Gold Coast Youth Football League or the Pacific Youth Football League.

For the Vikings, the advantage to competing in Pop Warner is it allows them to accept participants from anywhere in town.

On top of that, Pop Warner holds competitions that reach across the country, which is unlike other local leagues.

“We have something a little different to offer to the community, so we’re in a good position and we’re growing pretty fast,” said Vikings vice president and co-founder Rett Hicks.

Entering just its second year of existence, the Vikings already have around 200 kids spread out among eight teams.

That number is up from about 150 last year when the program sprung up as a re-branding of the former Castaic Cougars, according to the program’s website.

Many of the old administrators and members of the Cougars shifted to the Vikings with a new vision in mind.

“Where a lot of teams are just looking to have fun and not take it as seriously, a lot of people want to take football really seriously and train year-round. Not because their parents want them to but because they are driven,” Hicks said. “And what Santa Clarita Vikings does is it gives those kids a chance to train year-round.”

The Vikings offer teams in six different age groups ranging from 5-14 years old, with 15-year-olds eligible if they meet weight requirements.

What separates the Vikings from other youth football options in the SCV is the potential to earn their way to the Pop Warner Super Bowl games, which take place in December.

The Super Bowls, held at the Division I and Division II level in each age group, have been held at Lake Buena Vista, Fla., every year since 1997. The games are featured on ESPN and ESPN2.

To get to the Super Bowls, teams will first have to make it through Los Angeles County and regional playoffs first.

Creators of the Vikings program are hoping that, along with quality coaching, keeps kids attracted.

In addition, the program’s intrinsic connection to Valencia High School — with the sharing of colors, logos and playing fields — keeps potential Valencia High School players close to home.

“You grow up wearing a color, you get attached to that color,” Hicks said. “That was the whole thought process. If you’ve been wearing a Valencia (High) uniform since you were 6 years old, you’re going to stay with that high school.”

Though the program wasn’t originally created with the sole intention of keeping kids in the high school’s area at home, that’s become a by-product of SC Vikings.

Considering around 80 percent of the kids in the Vikings’ program live in the Valencia High area, according to Hicks, keeping those players in Valencia Viking purple is a major benefit.

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