Tyke Tussle Kicks Off Season For Barrhaven’s Boys Of Fall

Barrhaven’s boys of fall kicked off their football season in a special way this month.

On Sunday, August 6, the “Tyke Tussle” took place at TD Place Stadium. The following week, “Mosquito Madness” took over the field at Carleton University.

Tyke (U10) and Mosquito (U12) are the youngest age groups in the National Capital Amateur Football Association. For many of the children playing football, the two events are their first chance to play in a game situation against another team with referees on the field. And what better way to have your first taste of football than to play in a CFL stadium.

The Tyke Tussle replaced the old Friday Night Tykes event that ran for a generation. A few years ago, it was moved to TD Place and held on a weekend.

The Nepean Eagles Tyke defence huddles up to get ready to take the field.

“One of the challenges we had with Friday Night Tykes was that we had to begin the event at 6 p.m., and for a lot of families, getting home from work and then getting to the park where it was held was a challenge,” said Steve Dean, the Nepean Eagles President and NCAFA Past President. “The Tykes play 6-on-6, and we can divide the field into four mini-fields. Having the use of the stadium is great for the parents and fans, and it’s exciting for the kids to play in a stadium.”

This year, the Eagles are one of 13 teams competing at the Tyke level. The teams are from all over Ottawa, with teams in Cornwall, Kemptville and two in Gatineau. While registration did dip in previous seasons, the number of teams is up, as is participation.

The South Gloucester Raiders defends puts the pressure on the West Carleton Wolverines quarterback during the Tyke Tussle at TD Place.

“One of the big reasons for that is that the game is taught and played differently than it was for many years,” Dean said. “The focus is on safe tackle technique, and there are more rules in place to protect players. We are seeing more interest with girls wanting to play – we have five girls registered now with the Eagles – and the flag football program has really taken off. It has grown from being a recreational program in Barrhaven into a program where teams play against other clubs. Flag football is growing everywhere, and it is a good program to be introduced into football.”