Football in the spring -- it's not a new concept.
Famously, the USFL tried to create a professional league that would compete with the NFL, playing games in the spring. The league was initially successful, but eventually flopped.
However, spring football is once again rising throughout the country, and specifically in Utah, as more and more athletes dedicate their entire sporting lives to the gridiron.
One of the leagues serving the Wasatch Front is the Utah Youth Indoor Football League, which has teams that stretch from Utah County to Cache County, and as far east as Wasatch County, and continues to grow in popularity.
Initially started for football-specific athletes who wanted to play in the offseason, the program has now morphed into occupying its own niche, giving participating players a heads-up in preparing for high school competition.
"Our opinion is, if you love football, play spring and fall ball," said league commissioner Michael Curran, who is a former high school coach. "Then, you're in a better position to start at the high school level."
Monte Markos, who recently coached Roy's Northern Extreme team to a championship, got involved with the league early on as an administrator, and said player development is one of the most enjoyable aspects of the experience.
"It's really surprising to see how much more talent the kids develop over the years," Markos said. "It's a big difference, when they go back to their fall teams, over the kids who didn't play."
Curran openly stated one of the program's goals is to develop more high-level talent for college recruiting in the state of Utah, but also noted the league has a variety of other benefits, like providing an active physical activity for athletes who don't play a spring sport.
"It's definitely a health and wellness initiative," Curran said. "There's just not enough outdoor activity for kids, so we hope to change that."
The league has traditionally played its games in the Eccles Fieldhouse at the University of Utah, but the growth of spring football, specifically north of Salt Lake County, has created the need for a second indoor facility.
This spring, Curran was able to establish an agreement with Weber State University, to allow the league future use of the Wildcats' new indoor practice facility, in large part due to the cooperation of athletic director Jerry Bovee.
"We have outgrown the hours we can rent at the University of Utah, so Jerry said 'We'd love to have you bring the program up north,' " Curran said.
Curran also noted the use of two facilities will allow the program to accommodate new interested parties. Due to a lack of usable facilities, the league turned away 15 teams this past season.
Overall, the league's administration is hopeful the new facility will allow the program to continue to flourish, as more and more teams try to experience the benefits of spring football.
"It's a really neat league," said Eric Conley, a league parent, and assistant coach to Markos. "It's been the best experience. My son has grown so much in football, because of this league."
With the growth and wellness of the athletes in mind, Curran ultimately hopes participation in spring football will create a winning culture for teams across northern Utah.
"These young men are better prepared," Curran said. "They've experienced winning, and we're hoping to see some bright stars in the near future."