While Bantle-5 foot 6 with a youthful smile-can still pass for a Community High student, AAFC has outgrown its adolescence.
"We have four sanctioned outdoor men's and women's teams, and year round we have men's, women's, and coed indoor teams," says Bantle. AAFC's squads consist mostly of former college players - roughly 170 in total - and some current college players during the spring and summer.
"All of our teams are competitive in nature and are all competing in the top divisions of their respective leagues," notes Bantle. But though AAFC Elite has now won the state championship two of the last three years, to make it to the next level Bantle believes the club needs to add younger squads. Most top amateur clubs - including Elite's nemesis, Bavarian SC - stand atop a pyramid of development academies and youth teams.
So the next steps in Bantle's vision are to create a twelve-and-under youth academy plus premier male and female amateur squads in every age group. The Ann Arbor Football Club will hold its first tryouts for youths age 5 through 18 on June 15 (see annarborfootballclub.com for details). Eventually, he also envisions professional squads.
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