Venetia Athletic Club kicks off football season

Venetia Athletic Club kicks off football season
William Green, Thomas Green, Jack Pruden, Mathew Cherry, Will Riggs

Beginning its fifth season of play, the Venetia Athletic Club embraces boys – and thus far, one girl – from many Jacksonville communities. The club was formed in 2011 by Brad Walters, Todd Froats, John and Deana Green, and Jason and Sara Brackin to provide a focus on developing the player.

Hands on helmet, this youngster is in perfect lunge form.

Hands on helmet, this youngster is in perfect lunge form.

“We’re teaching the players to learn how to play the sport and follow rules,” said Ortega Forest resident Ian Mayo, an assistant coach.

The club is run in a controlled environment – all practices and games are played at Venetia Elementary School so parents with more than one player can keep an eye on them all.

Walters, of Avondale, said the teams in each of three divisions play six games, a playoff and a championship. Practices are held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays leading up to the first game on Sept. 12.

“Each coach addresses specific aspects of the game,” said Walters, whose son Mac plays in the Seniors Division. “The focus is on developing their skills to help them be the best players they can be, without overemphasizing winning. It’s about the kids.”

The club has three age divisions and each division has up to four teams. They all play on Saturday mornings on two fields, so everything is finished by noon.

Helmets on, these boys are ready for the first day of practice for the Venetia Athletic Club football season.J.T. Williamson began as a volunteer in 2012, joined the board in 2013 and then took the position of executive director in 2014; this year he is league president.

“I never intended to ‘take over the reins’ when I started with VAC but it just worked out that with my experience in athletics and dedication to improving youth sports they (the board) decided I was most fit for the job for the long term,” said Williamson. “I plan to be at VAC for a long time, and we have tons of ideas for how we are going to grow and improve the league.”

For more information, contact J.T. Williamson, executive director, at (904) 382-6639 or [email protected]

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