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Youth football players living on Hill Air Force Base told they must play in Layton

Posted at 10:00 PM, Sep 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 00:00:37-04

CLEARFIELD, Utah — The 2021 youth football season is over for three boys who live on Hill Air Force Base.

For years, the teens played on teams in Clearfield in the Wasatch Front Football League.

Last season, the Clearfield team ceased operations in the WFFL after the city’s recreation league stopped sponsoring youth football.

READ: Clearfield City drops youth football

With nowhere to play in 2020, the boys were welcomed to play in Ogden.

“None of the other communities -- surrounding communities -- could accept all the kids together,” said Kenneth McDaniel, the father of one of the boys. “There was no issue with the kids playing in Ogden.”

This summer, the boys signed up to wear the Ogden uniform once again.

They completed training camp and played in the team’s season-opening game in August.

While they were preparing for week two, they were ruled ineligible.

“I am upset. I do think and dream about it all the time,” 13-year-old football player Azavier McDaniel said. “It’s kind of like -- I don’t know how to explain it -- it hurts, a lot.”

WFFL bylaws finalized on June 30, 2021 indicate children living on Hill Air Force Base are now in the Layton boundary and required to play for one of two teams in that city.

In a phone conversation, Dave Stireman, president of the WFFL, told FOX 13 he is bound to enforce the league’s bylaws.

He says the director of the Ogden organization, who has since resigned over matters unrelated to this, should have noticed and reported the address issue before the season began.

Even though the boys weren’t at fault for that violation, an exception can’t be made because the rules of the league require the teens to play in Layton.

He adds that the league is willing to cover the registration fees for the boys and allow one of their fathers to join the coaching staff of the team in Layton.

About a dozen children who live on the base currently play in Layton without an issue.

They boys and their families are declining the invitation because they want to stick by their original teammates in Ogden.

“Dependent kids have been told that all their lives by their parents, 'Don’t worry, we are going to move, you’ll find new friends. Don’t worry, it will be OK the next place that you go. Suck up your feelings,'” Kenneth said.

“Taking away from their friends and everybody else, it’s not right,” Azavier said. “I am only 13 and I just want to play football and do my dreams.”

Three weeks of this football season are now complete.