If your child is thinking about playing sports this fall, the Lake Nona Youth Sports football and cheer programs might be the game changers for your young athlete! Registration for both programs is currently underway online, with practices starting soon.
Dan Riordan and BJ Jackson are the new co-directors of the Lake Nona Junior Lions football program for kids, ages 5-14, and are eager to kick off the season. They’ve both volunteered as assistant coaches for the past several seasons and are looking forward to leading the teams this fall.
“We have six teams available for kids of various ages, and we’ll be working on conditioning twice a week throughout the summer,” said Riordan. “All of us who serve as volunteer coaches are properly trained and certified to make sure we are teaching and coaching the safest techniques used in the game today.”
While Riordan and Jackson are committed to fostering and developing athletic skills on the field, they are also modeling critical life skills that will help young athletes succeed in the classroom, too.
“Kids learn what it means to be part of a team and have a positive attitude, whether they win or lose,” Riordan said. “It’s so inspiring for me to see them grow in confidence as the season goes along and watch them gain knowledge and try new skills.”
Lake Nona Youth Sports serves more than 300 children every year in southeast Orlando, and programs are supported through community volunteers, dedicated parents, and passionate coaches.
Brandy Sellers is the cheer director for Lake Nona Youth Sports, leading six cheer squads based on grade, age, and experience, from age 5 in the tiny-mite division to age 14 for the varsity squad.
“We’re a sideline and competitive cheer program, so all of our cheerleading squads will cheer for their respective Lake Nona football teams during regular and postseason games,” Sellers said. “Cheerleaders also have an opportunity to compete in several cheer competitions at the end of the season.”
This is Sellers’ second season leading the cheer teams, after spending her student days as a cheerleader and coaching her young daughters. After moving to Lake Nona from California, she volunteered for Lake Nona Youth Sports and urges parents with an interest in cheering to consider becoming a volunteer.
“The gift of helping coach our future generation in a sport they love is an unbelievable feeling for me,” she said. “It’s so rewarding for me to see the kids continue to love the sport and try out for high school cheer because our volunteers shared our passion and knowledge with them.”
The football and cheer season begins on Aug. 1 and continues through late October, with game days on Saturdays beginning at the end of August. Games are played either at Lake Nona High School or the opponent’s field, and the game schedule will be available at the start of the regular season.
To find more details about the programs, including the age and weight matrix for football, or to register for football and cheer, visit the Lake Nona Youth Sports website at https://leagues.bluesombrero.com/lakenonajrlions.