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California HS Football Players Join New League Against COVID Restrictions

February 8, 2021 / Athletic AdministrationCoachingFootball
High school football has been pushed back, postponed, rescheduled, and once again placed on hold in California since the outbreak of COVID-19.

Following a summer in which Golden State high school programs prepped in hopes of having some semblance of a season in August, or September, or even October. But the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) delayed the season to January.

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Photo: Wesley Sykes / Great American Media Services

But even that announcement has yet to come to fruition. In December, the CIF said games could not start in the following month as the pandemic worsened — and on January 19 stated the CIF postseason would not happen.

With high school student-athletes in California growing frustrating with the kick-the-can-down-road approach of their football season, another option has sprouted: The Winner Circle Champions League (WCCL).

A recent story in the Desert Sun highlighted the high school-adjacent league, saying it gives players a chance to compete in full-contact, 11-on-11 football.

Below is an excerpt from that Desert Sun story.

Even though state and county public health guidelines say youth sports competitions are prohibited because of the coronavirus pandemic, the WCCL is finishing a winter season that includes 36 teams and about 1,550 players in Southern California.

Jordan Campbell, who founded the league, said that 18 games have been played weekly on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays on private property, near Prado Regional Park and Mike Raahauge Shooting Enterprises, a location bordered by chain-link fences in San Bernardino County. The games are not open to the public.

Over the summer, Riverside County sent Campbell a cease-and-desist letter after his Corona-based Winner Circle Athletics LLC held football activities in Riverside. The company later signed an agreement with Riverside County agreeing to halt activities in the county.

When contacted, officials from San Bernardino and Riverside counties could not agree on whose jurisdiction the WCCL games being played fell under.

San Bernardino County spokesperson David Wert said he “thinks the county line runs through the middle of the field.”

Wert later added that the county’s “understanding is that some youth sports activities are allowed by the state while others are not” and it depends on the activity.

The WCCL plans an even larger season beginning next month. Currently, 64 teams from across Southern California as well as a few teams from Northern California, Arizona, and Hawaii are expected to participate.

A few teams will represent the Coachella Valley and Victor Valley, including Wallace’s Desert Diablos, which is comprised of players from Palm Springs to Coachella and everywhere in between.

On the morning of Jan. 30, more than 60 players showed up for a Diablos tryout at La Quinta Park, across from La Quinta High in Riverside County. They ran routes, threw passes, and ran through a series of drills that tested a player’s speed, skill, and knowledge of the game. The team planned a second tryout Saturday, Feb. 6, for those who could not make the first.

Because these tryouts are not actual games, the Diablos do not believe that they are in violation of any Riverside County pandemic ordinance.

To read the full story from The Desert Sun on the new, upstart high school football league in Southern California, click here