BRADENTON, Fla. – Friday is "Futures Day” at IMG Academy, where there will be three all-star football games for 6th, 7th and 8th graders.
The Future Stars middle school championships feature Team Florida vs. Team Georgia. The only Suncoast representative on the 7th grade team is offensive lineman Zak Peters. "When I got the call, everybody was flipping out. It was like winning the lottery. It was huge excitement for my family."
Zak attends McIntosh Middle School and plays for the Sarasota Lightning. At age 13, he is already over 6 feet tall, and he is training so he can better sculpt that body for football. “It feels great, and as long as I work hard, and keep on working hard, I'll be able to make it to the top."
"When he shows his drive and competitiveness, he's fun to work with. Very strong kid, but like most kids, he needs a little extra stability in his core and lower body. He is going to be pushing some people around," says trainer Mike Via of Via Therapy.
There are four players from the Suncoast on the 6th grade Team Florida, and Robby Goecker, like Zak, is in training so he can put his best foot forward in this IMG showcase. "I'll be working with medicine balls, and weights…the ladder for my footwork. Just doing everything about speed and agility, and getting fit."
Robby is a running back and is training at T3 Prep in Lakewood Ranch. Even for 12 and 13 year olds, football is a full-time job.
"Robby came to me. He is a football player, he is a wide receiver. We worked on a lot of hand stuff out on the field. When we are out there we work on a lot of speed and out strength with just movement. We do a lot of ladders just to strengthen him up," says trainer James Abelson at T3 Prep.
"I can't wait to work with a lot of the coaches so that they can teach me more about the game and the fundamentals," says Goecker.
The 6th graders play at IMG at 2pm Friday, and the 7th graders play at 4:30pm.