LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It was in the Nevada Youth Football League that UNLV sophomores Farrell Hester and Alex Perry learned to love the game.
"I was in the same position these kids were in just trying to love the game, play the game and make it somewhere," said Hester, who plays middle linebacker.
"I just met so many of my friends now to this day in this league. And so many connections and so many people and it's just humbling to come back and say this is where it all started," said Perry, one of UNLV's cornerbacks.
The long-running nonprofit league has alums who have made it to high levels of the sport but the league's owners understand success comes in many forms.
"Not everyone is going to make it to the NFL or college, but they are going to grow up," said Steve Grammas, co-owner of the league and president of the Las Vegas Police Protective Association. "Our hope is that they grow up with a good background, they had good mentors as coaches to lead them and to say, 'hey, you're going to be a good productive person in life, not just in sports.'"
Grammas said the goal of the league is to provide a family-friendly, discipline-oriented experience for players, both boys and girls. As the president of the police union, he said many of the skills players learn on the field will help them off field too.
"If you're not paying attention, you gotta hope the guy or female next to you is doing it, trust in each other, trust in your leaders is important. Those are life skills they're going to get they'll use as they grow up," said Grammas.
And in many ways, this league is where young players grow up. UNLV player Alex Perry started putting in the work when he was just five. Now, Perry has some advice for kids just starting out.
"Let this be your way of just having fun and meeting new people because this could essentially get you a scholarship and change your life."