FORNEY Texas — Forney High school alum and former NFL quarterback Caleb Hanie is bringing his passion for football back home to Forney in an innovative new youth Flex Football™ league debuting this spring.
Flex Football™ gameplay was created by a group of former NFL players and is designed to give kids the thrill of football without all of the risks of impacts. Intended to bridge the gap between flag football and tackle play, it is a 9v9, limited-contact game in which there is no head or shoulder contact and tackling is not allowed. Players are introduced to hands-only blocking and the basics of team-oriented football.
Playing Flex Football™ requires the use of soft-shell “Flex Gear”. This is the same gear utilized by the NFL and college teams during their “flex practices”; run at high-tempo with low-impact and no head or shoulder contact. The equipment is designed to provide limited-impact protection, facilitate proper technique and designated blocking "zones" to maximize skills. Flex rules implement zero tolerance policy for overly aggressive play.
"Flex Football is not only a great way for tackle players to sharpen their skills in the off-season, it is a new entry point for those considering the sport. With the controlled contact environment, it's a win-win for players and parents,” says Hanie.
Hanie says kids want to experience "real" football that aren't physically and/or mentally ready for tackle and Flex allows this demographic to get a taste and feel for the game. Hanie says players and parents are able to gain confidence in a limited contact environment that enables them to be more confident and safely transition into tackle. Both boys and girls ages 8-14 are welcome with no tryouts.
Hanie is a 2004 graduate of Forney High School where he help lead his team to consecutive top 3 finishes in class 3A in 2002 and 2003. He played college football at Colorado State and was signed by the Chicago Bears as an undrafted free agent in 2008. He also played for the Denver Broncos, Cleveland Browns, and New England Patriots. Hanie finished his NFL career with the Dallas Cowboys in 2014.
Hanie says he was anxious to bring a league to his hometown, because he says he selfishly wants to see Forney football flourish again.
“Forney is near and dear to my heart, and I truly believe the fundamentals of great players starts at the youth level,” Hanie tells inForney.com. “Building and growing this league will ensure that Forney continues to produce amazing athletes for generations.”
Forney’s spring league will include an 8-week season with practices and games being held at Forney ISD facilities. The season culminates with a tournament hosted at the Star, world headquarters of the Dallas Cowboys in Frisco.
“What I love about Flex Football is the fact that it truly unites all types of football players of all shapes, sizes and experience levels. Whether you play flag, 7on7, or tackle football, you’ll get the thrill and development of football while parents get peace of mind about their player’s health,” Hanie said.