Jesse Jones

When their football season fell apart, these middle schoolers took matters into their own hands

Seattle, WA — Nearly every Wednesday at a park in north Seattle, you’ll find a group of middle schoolers engrossed in flag football.

They don’t have uniforms.

No refs either.

And a coin for the toss? Forget about it! Just ask Siri.

But what they do have is each other.

They were supposed to have all those things, as part of a youth football league called Pick 6 that their parents paid $1300 to join.

The problem? On day one, kids and their parents say they weren’t on the schedule.

“It’s really a shame because we put in our time, we practice every week for a month and a half. And then we just get there, we don’t have a team. We don’t have flags. We don’t have a jersey. We don’t have anything. It’s devastating,” says middle-school football fanatic Buckley Schofield.

His coach, Nick Barrett, says the group was excited to play after months of pandemic closures. He says they had submitted their roster, and had corresponded with the league.

“And at some point, just, all communication just absolutely stopped,” says Nick.

In the run-up to the season, the local league was bought out by a national group.

And nobody seemed to have an answer.

“Just trying to get a hold of someone. Calling the organization down in Texas that was part of the merger. They’re pointing their fingers back to the local contacts in Seattle. All the local contacts in Seattle pointing back in Texas,” says Nick.

So the coach asked for a refund. He says he couldn’t get that either.

“And what are you doing about all these disappointed families and kids that have not gotten what they paid for the last three months?” says Nick.

Nick’s son, Preston, was excited to turn his fledgling football career around.

“I was really bummed. I was so excited. And I hadn’t really even, hadn’t really done really well in flag football in the past. I’ve been playing since I was in 3rd grade. And I only went to the playoffs once,” says Preston Barrett.

So what happened next? The company punted, and the kids returned it for a score.

“And my son came home and told me about it. I said what are we doing Friday? And he said oh we’re all going to play football. And I said oh a couple of the guys? And he’s like no, you know we organized 20 people that are going to play flag,” says football mom Suzie Schofield.

Aided and abetted by Coach Nick.

“Yeah. We have been using ladders so that we can scale fences appropriately. And we won’t disclose the location that we’ve been playing at so that we don’t get in trouble,” he says.

After we reached out, the team got their refund. They sent this statement:

“On behalf of Pick 6 Sports, I apologize for this not being resolved right away. I have provided a full refund to this team. In Fall 2020 we merged with 50+ flag football leagues across the country and ran into a number of Technology issues as leagues to a single platform. We are looking forward to the upcoming Fall Flag Football season as these challenges have been resolved.”

The kids? They’re sticking to their own game.

“I like it better like this. We can organize it whenever the heck we want. And yeah - so we don’t have to wait a week,” says Preston.

They’ve found a reliable spot now - no ladders necessary. And players say it’s just good to be back.

“Back? It feels great. You know getting on the field I love to suit up, make some nice catches and all that,” says Buckley.

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