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Higley Youth Sports League offers opportunities to students

 Kids playing soccer
Ready to try flag football? Want to know how to play volleyball? Considering cheerleading?
Higley Youth Sports League offers elementary students of the district opportunities to get involved with sports, while having fun and making memories.
The league is made up of four quarters: first quarter offers flag football and volleyball, second quarter offers soccer, third quarter offers basketball and fourth offers baseball and softball. Cheerleading covers two quarters.  
The program is designed primarily for students in fifth- and sixth-grade. Those who participate are introduced to what it is like to play a sport and be part of a team.
“The great thing about this program is that it introduces the kids to what it takes to be a part of team in not only sports, but other endeavors,” Community Education Recreation Specialist Michael Blea said. “They learn about accountability, technique and how to work with each other.”
The teams are coached by staff members and volunteers. There are no referees at the games as the sports are recreational, not competitive. 
The program costs $50 per sport. Boys and Girls Basketball cost $75. Cheerleading, which is open to all elementary grade levels, costs $50 to participate.
Cooley Middle School P.E. teacher Brandon Montoya coached several HYSL teams including flag  football, two co-educational basketball teams, one boys basketball team and a girls basketball team. Montoya said the league breaks the barrier for students who don’t feel they have the opportunity or skill to be on an athletic team.
“HYSL has a wonderful impact on not just the district, but the whole community in general,” Montoya said. “I have students who I coached in HYSL that are still in sports because of the experience they had.”
HYSL cheerleading teams practice during the second quarter and perform during the third quarter. They cheer for both boys’ and girls’ teams.
At the end of the year, the cheerleaders participate in a competition for both teams and individuals. Awards are given for first, second and third place.
The Centennial Elementary Cheerleading Program is comprised of 23 students from kindergarten through fourth grade. 
Cheerleading instructor Carolyn Flora said the main goal is learning to work together and having fun while doing so. The team will be cheering on Centennial’s basketball team in the spring.
“I think the cheerleading program has had a really positive impact,” Flora said. “It has allowed the kids to have more confidence and really cheer on their school.” 
“I have never done cheerleading before and I wanted to try it and have fun,” third-grader Chloe Hendrickson said.
So far, the cheerleaders have learned one dance routine and seven cheer routines. The girls have two practices per week and will have about one to two games per week once the basketball season starts.
“I joined because it sounded like fun and I wanted to be with all of my friends,” third-grader Riley Close said. “I like that I can learn different cheering skills too.”
A districtwide cheer competition will be held in March.
Fourth-quarter registration is now open.