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After a meeting with clubs from around the region, it was agreed that there were not enough opportunities of Basketball for players at a junior level to play 'ball, unless it was for a National League team. So, we decided to do something about it!
In May of 2014, the YBL was formed. Officially known as the Youth Basketball League. The YBL's main purpose is to offer youth basketball to everyone and spread the game far and wide. The YBL offers competitive Basketball to different age groups within a league structure. The first season of the newly formed YBL was the 2014/2015 season.
With a committee set up of volunteers from clubs at the meeting, in which we set in motion a chain of events that would change the shape of Basketball within the region. These volunteers used their passion and vision to shape the game into a new direction, giving more opportunities to those who love the game.
The 2014/2015 YBL season offered Under 12, Under 14, Under 16 and Under 19 leagues accumulating in the first YBL Championship Finals held at UCB Perry Barr in Birmingham, in June of 2015. Across the four leagues we had an impressive 26 teams and 10 clubs our first season.
For the 2015/2016 season, the YBL committee decided to expand on the previous season and go with a slightly different format; offering Under 11, Under 13, Under 15, Under 17 and Under 19s. The YBL held a weekend of the YBL Championships, calling it 'The Big Weekend' at the Wellbeing Centre (Nechells), in Birmingham in the May of 2016.
The 2016/2017 season was another success for the YBL, with an increase on team participation in most of the age groups, as well as new clubs joining an ever-expanding YBL Family. The Big Weekend 2 was a monumental end of the season, with a superb Semi-Final and Final. We amalgamated with the West Midlands Women's League, where we incorporated the teams and made a promise of increasing participation of women and girls into the sport.
Going from strength to strength and looking forward into the fourth season, the YBL have made two more steps in the right direction. The first; adding two more leagues for the 20172018 seasons. Under 15 Girls and the WM/YBL (West Midlands/Youth Basketball League) Development League, which has already seen a great interest. The second was making the YBL into a non-profit organisation. The YBL, going forward will be called; Youth Basketball League C.I.C (Community Interest Company), but to its closest friends and clubs; we're still the YBL!
The 2018/2019 was another year of 'steps' for the YBL. We increased the women's league; adding a second division, our Development Men's league increased by three teams and all our mini- and junior-YBL teams increased. Making us expand into three divisions at some of those age groups. Great success for all involved, with a great YBL Championship Semi-Finals and Finals, this time held at Worcester University. With great attendance and with some superb game play, it was one of the highlights of the YBL so far.
After a great start to the 2019/2020 season, we introduce and Under 9s league and well as a Wheelchair Development League. The YBL had a great number of teams enter for our sixth season. Games had been closer than ever, as all the grassroots teams gain strength as they play together for season seasons. However, the Covid-19 pandemic put a stop to our season, as league were voided, and remaining games were cancelled. Keeping everyone safe was our main reason for the decision that the Board of Directors made. Now we prepare for the next season.
As we prepare for the 2020/2021 season, we look once again at the growth of the sport and of the YBL, as we head into our seventh season. The membership of players looks to increase once again, as we predict around 1,400 players for the the season. We have had a record number of teams and clubs return and an impressive nine brand new clubs play in the YBL Family for the first time. We have gone from 26 teams in the first season to 135 teams this year. All while the teams improve and develop.