Signing your child up for Pop Warner football is exciting and overwhelming at the same time.
Like any new adventure, playing Pop Warner football will come with lots of questions. Will my child be safe? How big are the kids playing on my child's team? When can I register? What league will my child play in?
Here are some frequently asked questions first-time Pop Warner parents ask, and some answers to get you started as your child embarks on a great experience.
Is there a league in my area?
Pop Warner has football leagues in 42 states from coast to coast, so chances are there's one in your area. Visit Pop Warner's league finder web page to find information--including contact information and web addresses--of the Pop Warner league near you.
When are sign-ups?
It depends on the league, but usually are in the spring and summer months. Check the website of your local league for more information.
What are the different age groups?
Pop Warner has opportunities for players ages 5-15, and they are separated into nine divisions. The youngest, the Tiny-Mite division, features children ages 5-7. The Bantam division features 13-15 year olds with 16-year olds welcome if they are light enough.
My child has a birthday during the season. How does that affect age placement?
With Pop Warner games being played in the fall, the organization has set up a specific guideline: A child's age on July 31st is his/her age for the entire season. So if your son turns 10 on August 1st, he will still be considered a 9-year old for registration purposes.
Does my child's weight matter?
Yes, it does. Pop Warner combines age restrictions with weight restrictions to make an age/weight scale. It is as follows:
- Tiny-Mite: Ages 5-7. Must be between 35 and 75 pounds.
- Mitey-Mite: Ages 7-9. Must be between 45-90 pounds.
- Junior PeeWee: Ages 8-10 must be between 60-105 pounds. 11-year olds are accepted if they weigh between 60-85 pounds.
- PeeWee: Ages 9-11 must be between 75-120 pounds. 12-year olds are accepted if they weigh between 75-100 pounds.
- Junior Midget: Ages 10-12 must be between 85-135 pounds. 13-year olds are accepted if they weigh between 85-115 pounds.
- Midget: Ages 11-14 must be between 105-160 pounds. 15-year olds are accepted if they weigh between 105-140 pounds.
- Junior Bantam: Ages 12-14 must be between 120-170 pounds. 15-year olds are accepted if they weigh 120-150 pounds.
- Unlimited: For 12-15 year olds who weigh more than 170 pounds.
- Bantam: Ages 13-15 year olds who weight 135-185 pounds. 16-year olds can play if they are between 135-165 pounds.
For more information, check out Pop Warner's Age/Weight structure web page.
Are there any other requirements?
Pop Warner demands academic excellence among its participants. Players must receive a 2.0 grade-point average (or 70 percent average) in school to participate. Exceptions are made through Scholastic Eligibility Forms, which are filled out by that child's school to determine whether Pop Warner football would be beneficial to that child.
Are there tryouts?
No. Everyone is allowed to participate and play. All you have to do is sign up.
Is my child safe playing organized football?
Though injury is always possible in any sport, Pop Warner is quick to point out that injury rates are significantly lower in youth football than in high school or college football. That's partly because of Pop Warner's strict age/weight scale that makes sure all the children are playing against players their own size.
Studies have shown that organized football among children produces fewer injuries than soccer.
How many games will my child play?
The regular season schedule is usually between seven and nine games, between late August and late October. Playoffs will follow in certain divisions, and the best teams will play in the Pop Warner Super Bowl in Florida in early December.
If my child isn't the best player on the team, will he/she just sit the bench all season?
Not at all. Pop Warner has mandatory rules of play that requires everyone be able to participate. That means that every player will get in for several plays every game.