7v7 Football Tournament provides Fairbanks youth players with opportunities and exposure
FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - It will soon be August, and football players across the nation will begin reporting to training camps. In Fairbanks, the seasons are short and the time to develop skills during the summer can feel even shorter.
That is why a large number of youth football players in the community got together at the Davis Turf Fields Complex Saturday for the 2nd annual 7v7, noncontact tournament hosted by Prince Cooks of DonzOnly Training.
As a former West Valley football player who was recruited to Newberry College in South Carolina, Cooks understands that the combination of low exposure and short seasons in Fairbanks can create difficulties for those looking to get noticed by coaches at the next level.
“They see Fairbanks, Alaska on your roster and they look the other way,” Cooks said ahead of the tournament. “I am trying to separate our great athletes from the rest and give them some better exposure to get them some good scholarship offers from schools.”
Saturday featured highlight plays, champions crowned, committed coaching and an appearance from NFL Draft hopeful and prospect David Vereen of Newberry College, who is considered one of the top defensive backs in program history.
Numbers in youth football have dwindled in recent years, and Fairbanks is no exception. With players of all skillsets ages 9-16 coming out Saturday, it gave Cooks reassurance on his commitment to youth football in the community.
“It means a lot man, at times it seems like football is losing hope in town, but this right here let me know there is still hope football,” Cooks said at the end of the tournament. “I am showing everybody you can still play football in a safe, energetic, fun way.
“I see the hunger still here, that is good, that is what we need. We are going to keep it going, we are going to hope for more success, more people to show up for football and we are going to keep it going, I love it.”
Many of the players participating Saturday hope to suit up for their respective high schools when the time comes. Until then, expect Cooks and DonzOnly Training to continue to providing opportunities of development and exposure for youth football players in Fairbanks.
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