Area Businessmen Promote Amateur Football League
Clyde Warehime and Randy Mehl are picking up steam in their drive to establish the Amateur Developmental Football League for men 18 and older by July of 1991.
The two local businessmen, who began dreaming and designing a year ago, kicked off their venture in earnest this week with a breakfast meeting in Kent. More than 40 invitations had been issued, and while less than half that many people showed up to hear about the project, Warehime and Mehl were pleased with the turnout, and the response.
Among those on hand were Jack Thompson, better known as the ``Throwin' Samoan'' quarterback out of Evergreen High School and Washington State University, and former WSU linebacker Tom Poe. Both were teammates of Warehime at Washington State.
Warehime, a Kent-Meridian High School graduate who played linebacker in the World Football League, will coach the Kent Sharks in what is proposed as a four-team league that would also include teams from Auburn, Federal Way and Renton.
Warehime and Mehl are looking for coaches and administrators for the other three teams. Mehl, who owns Wealth Management Associates in Renton, has contacted all three school districts as well as a variety of business persons and is confident those teams will develop, using Kent's blueprints.
He said he hopes to establish one team per month over the next three months. Player turnouts are scheduled to begin next April with league play starting in July.
Warehime, who owns Mom's Country Kitchen in Kent, stressed that the ADFL will not resemble semipro football, currently offered in the Northwest Football League (NWFL).
``I don't want to throw darts, but in my mind, that's just not a role model for kids,'' he said, ``and kids are No. 1 . . . We're not semipro. I only know one way to play the game, and that's the way we played in high school and college and in the pros.
``We'll practice five nights a week, play on the sixth and have one day off. It's a very emotional game. It deserves more than, `Let's throw on the pads and play on Saturday.' ''
Profits from the ADFL are earmarked for charities aimed at youth at risk.
Warehime and Mehl got a taste of the NWFL last summer. Originally, they put together a team known as the Puget Sound Sharks to compete in the NWFL last summer.
Mehl was elected president of the league. But disagreements over adequate insurance coverage prompted Warehime and Mehl to pull out of the league two weeks before the season opened.
They immediately began to devise plans for their own league.
The ADFL hopes to draw players out of high school who do not have the opportunity to go on and play in college.
``In the past, they might have gone on to play community college football,'' Warehime said, noting that most community colleges in the state have dropped their football programs.
``There are a lot of athletes out there looking for something to get involved with.''
There will not be an age cap on player eligibility.
``I think it will just fall into place,'' Warehime said. ``I think we'll have players from 18 to 23 or 24.''
Players will be asked to pay a one-time initiation fee of $300 to cover the costs of uniforms and insurance. However, they can earn that $300 by selling game tickets and thus create their own fan base, according to Mehl.
Ultimately, plans are for the ADFL to expand to four, four-team leagues throughout the Puget Sound area.
Anyone interested in developing a team or in Auburn, Federal Way or Renton, or in coaching, should contact Mehl at 226-7280 or Warehime at 852-7792.
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