NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WVEC) -- Parents in Newport News say it's getting harder to keep their kids in youth football.

That's because with a city league gone, expensive private leagues are the only option, but it's not something everyone can afford.

Now parents with one travel league that has kids who play little league football over the last several years, are asking the public to help sponsor them or make donations.

According to the media relations manager for Newport News Kim Lee, they do not have a youth football rec league this year because there were not enough kids or teams to participate.

Numbers have been dwindling over the past few years and have gone from more than 1,000 kids several years ago, to less than 500 across the city in all age groups last year.

Groups have left the city’s league to join private/travel organizations and this year Hampton opened their youth football program to non-Hampton residents.

Vanessa Hernandez’s two boys now play for the Young American Men Raptors Youth football league. She says parents are having a hard time affording the registration, uniform costs and travel fees.

“Our kids look at these leagues as a positive influence outside of home,” Hernandez says. “We are asking for anyone who will be willing to come out and sponsor our league or to give any kinds of donations because we are trying to make it possible for these kids.”

For more information on how you can help the Young American Men Raptors Youth football league you can call league president Milton Wardrett at 757-349-0372.