Small Business Saturday, Featuring Under Armour Under the Lights Youth Flag Football League
UNDER THE LIGHTS powered by UNDER ARMOUR is a national youth flag football league for kids in 1st-8th grade, with the emphasis on promoting competition. Open to kids (boys and girls) in grades K-8th, the league offers a non-contact, fun and competitive experience. We got to chat with John Cao, Commissioner of the league in Katy, about this awesome organization for kids!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in the Katy area?
I am Vietnamese – American and I was born and raised in the Houston, TX area and I have been living in the Katy area around 8 years.
Are you a Dad? How old are your kids?
Yes, I have 2 active boys Dylan – 10 years old and James – 6 years old
When did you become the commissioner of Under the Lights Flag Football here in Katy?
I started this Katy league back in Spring 2018 and look forward to growing the league within in the Katy community and Houston surrounding areas.
What was the inspiration behind starting this league?
With so many leagues out there, I wanted to introduce another option to the community. Also, seeing more young kids starting to do tackle football with the concern of concussions and bodily injury was the motivation to start a league like this with the support of Under Armour.
Do you have a history of coaching and playing football? What did you do before starting the league?
Yes, I have a history of coaching my oldest son Dylan in all of the sports he has played. I am a sports junkie and love following all of my Houston local sports teams. Before starting the league, I have worked in Fortune 500 companies as an IT professional.
What are the ages and skill levels you work with?
The league works with boys and girls in K – 8th grade level. We promote this as a competitive league and we work with kids at all different skill levels while providing a fun and rewarding environment.
What makes Under the Lights Flag Football unique in comparison to other local football leagues?
- Games are played on turf field with under the lights environment
- Opportunity for teams to play in state and national tournaments year round
- Registration fee includes Under Armour game shirt and shorts for each player
- Each team is provided a Under Armour 495 Youth football
- Flag belts are provided and worn at each Under the Light league
- NO team sponsors are required in our Under the Lights flag league
- League Commissioner always on-site to assist in Game Day operations and Customer Service
- Certified Officials enforcing the rules of the Under the Lights flag games
- Safety is a focus for Under the Lights flag leagues by mandating players to wear mouthguards and pocketless shorts for games
- Shopping for Under Armour apparel is provided to our parents through underarmour.com discount codes.
- Community fun with Food and Music present at our games.
We hear conversations regarding the safety of contact football at a young age, was it important for you to have your league be non-contact?
Yes, most definitely! With less contact and a focus on teaching proper tackling techniques later on in a child’s football career, the quality and safety of the sport will increase which will ultimately revive falling participation rates. Risk of serious injury would be minimized, and fundamentals would be prioritized for youth participants, which would have a positive impact on the future of the sport and help ease the public concern regarding football participation. The spread of flag football would additionally allow the sport to teach the values and character traits instilled in traditional sports to more children as a result of expanded participation.
What do you think are the benefits of being a part of a sports league as a child?
The benefits of joining the Under Armour Under the Lights Youth Flag Football League are the following:
- Develops Self-Esteem
- A high-five, pat on the back, thumbs up, or even a nod of approval – these are simple gestures that can help build confidence in kids.
- Regular Exercise
- They are building stamina and endurance. Their hearts are getting healthier thanks to all the aerobic activity, and they’re maintaining a healthy body weight which will help them ward off diseases associated with obesity.
- Teaches Leadership Skills
- They learn about responsibility as they recognize the vital roles they play on their team
- Stronger Relationships
- Because of the social aspect of team sports, kids learn how to handle themselves better in social situations. They develop a sense of camaraderie and community, allowing them to maintain and nurture stronger relationships.
- Teaches Respect
- Sports don’t just teach kids the fundamentals of playing, but it also instills respect for authority and rules.
- They are taught to respect their coaches who guide them and the officials who work to ensure the games are fair. They also learn good sportsmanship and to treat their opponents respectfully, win or lose.
What is your favorite part about running this league and working with youth?
My favorite part about running this league is to see everyone have a good time. I love meeting new people and to be able to serve the community. Working with the youth is always rewarding when you get to see their happy faces while working with the coaches to promote a fun environment.
You are gearing up for your Fall season – What dates and information do interested parents need to know?
Fall 2019 Registration is going on now!
Register now and save money! End of registration is on August 31st.
Late registration fee starts on Sept 1st.
Games to be played at the following location:
British International School of Houston
2203 N. Westgreen Blvd
Katy, TX 77449
SATURDAY NIGHT GAMES 5PM – 9PM
September 21, 28
October 5, 12, 19, 26
November 9, 16 (Playoffs and Championship Games)
Future plans for your business?
I would like to have this league to grow all over the Houston, TX area and offer other sports under the Under Armour Sports League such as 3:3 Coast to Coast Basketball and Speed Lacrosse. I believe that all boys and girls should have the opportunity to learn the game in a non-contact, co-ed, family-friendly and in a community-focused league.
Any specials, sales, or deals our Katy Moms can look out for?
Katy Moms promo code of “UAFLAG20” for $20 off registration fee.
Siblings discount of $25 off registration fee of the sibling.
For more information be sure to follow along on social and visit their website!