There are five youth football teams in the city of Joliet, but none of them have a dedicated place to practice.
The Ravens practice on a field adjacent to Marycrest School, but team members have no access to rest rooms, Bermudez said. With team members as young as 5, it has been a challenge, he said.
About 1,500 kids play football with the five youth football teams -- about the same number as play soccer through the park district -- but while there are plenty of soccer fields, there is only one for football.
The problem is that the district does not offer any football programs.
“We don’t sponsor football through the park district, but we do sponsor soccer, so we use those fields for our own program,” park board President Brett Gould said.
In fact, the district has never had a football program because it did not want to compete with the private football leagues, Gould said.
Board members said they support the Ravens and want to help, but they're limited by space.
“I don’t have the answer where we can put them right now,” park district Executive Director Dominic Egizio said.