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New youth football and cheer organization in town
The Ceres Cardinals staged their first-ever practice on Monday, July 25 at Roeding Heights Park.

Anthony Estrada and Jesse Rivera founded the youth football and cheerleading organization after leaving the Ceres Saints.

"Everybody's real excited," said Estrada, who also serves as president. "We've been talking about starting a new program for two years. We started the process in November of 2010. I had to go to a lot of meetings. There was a lot of paperwork. It's like a second job."

The Cardinals started signing up players and cheerleaders for their inaugural season in June.

Registration dates were held on June 5, 11, 18 and 25, and July 9.

Ceres' membership consists of more than 70 players and 20 cheerleaders.

"We're trying to keep the kids busy and get them ready for high school," Estrada said.

The Cardinals are members of the Trans-Valley Youth Football League.

Ceres joined after considering other options.

"I went to all of the leagues' meetings," Estrada said. "TVYFL is the one I liked the most. They just don't let anybody in. You have to meet a lot of criteria. They're real strict and organized."

Ceres will take on the Hughson Huskies, Keyes Bees, Tri City Bulldogs, Hilmar Packers, Mariposa Bears, Gustine Redskins, Delhi Raiders, Calvary Temple Warriors, Winton Cowboys and Denair Lions.

The Cardinals practice four times a week, two hours per session.

Ceres will open the 2011 season on Aug. 20 at Blaker-Kinser Jr. High. The Cardinals will challenge the Huskies. Varsity, junior-varsity, novice and junior-novice game will be played at 10 a.m., 12 p.m., 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively.

The Cardinals' organization had a startup cost between $15,000-20,000.

A number of businesses agreed to sponsor players, distribute flyers and donate water, soda and energy drinks.

B&J's Cafe, Stop N Shop, Arco AM/PM, El Rosal and Modesto Tuneup received special recognition from Estrada for contributing.

"We've had a lot of support from the community," he said. "We're going to be here for a while."