How do I Find my Local Pop Warner Program:
To locate a Pop Warner program in your area, you can use the national League Finder. You can then contact that program for more information such as how/when to sign up, costs, etc. If no contact information is listed, please close this window and use the contact form and we can find the closest program for you.
How do I Sign Up to play:
To sign up for Pop Warner football, cheerleading or dance, you must first locate your local program. (Find Your Program). You can then contact that program to inquire about when and where sign ups are being offered for the upcoming season.
How much does it cost to play:
Registrations costs vary from program to program, and are determined by each individual Pop Warner member association. A typical registration fee for each participant usually ranges from about $75 to $200, however, some programs may include other fees such as mandatory fundraising, additional equipment, etc.
What are the Age & Weight Divisions:
For football players, you will play in an age-weight division with similar players of your age and weight range. Pop Warner is open to players ages 5-16, with your age being determined by your age on 7/31 of that year. Please review the Age-Weight Divisions to determine what level of play you fall into.
For cheerleaders and dancers, ages also range from 5-16. The spirit program is broken into seven age divisions ranging from Flag (ages 5-7) up to Unlimited (ages 11-15). Cheerleading squads are also broken down into Large (25-35). Medium (13-24) and Small (12 or fewer) Squads, and four different competition levels (PW1, PW2, PW3 and PW4). Please review the Spirit Age-Weight Divisions to determine what level of play you fall into.
What are the academic requirements for participation:
Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. (PWLS) is the only national youth sports organization in America that requires its participants to perform adequately in the classroom before permitting them to play. We believe that the standards we have set give these children a sense of responsibility and an appreciation for academics and athletics that will help them develop later on in life.
Proof of satisfactory progress in school is required. A 2.0/70% or the equivalent shall be the minimum grade point average acceptable to participate. Those who do not meet this requirement, or home-schooled students can still play if they follow the alternative eligibility process which is monitored by progress reports.
Are Tryouts Allowed in Pop Warner:
NO TRYOUTS! – Pop Warner programs are not permitted to hold tryouts or cutting of rosters.
Is Participation in Pop Warner Safe:
Pop Warner has a long history of providing a safe environment for all of our members. Kids compete with kids of similar age and size. Pop Warner is the ONLY youth football program (local, regional and national) that sets and enforces a strict Age & Weight Matrix that reduces the risk and reality of injuries. Datalys Institute’s research data show that Pop Warner Rules and Heads-Up Football Training result in injury rate that has 87% fewer injuries than non-Heads-Up/non Pop Warner programs.
How do I start a Pop Warner program in my area:
If there are currently no Pop Warner chartered program in your town/city (check here first), and you would like to start one, please contact the national office at (215) 752-2691. We can help answer any questions that you might have, give you details about start-up costs, get you some marketing materials to help publicize, and fill you in on grants/aide that are available for new programs.
How do volunteer to be a coach/administrator for my local program:
Volunteers are the most important part of Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., and our nearly 1 million volunteers have continued to drive our organization for over 79 years! First off, to volunteer for your local organization please use the national League Finder to find your program and contact them about helping out.
Pop Warner programs nationwide are required to annually conduct a background check of Coaches, Board of Directors members and any other persons, volunteers or hired workers, who provide regular service to the league and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players and/or spirit participants. The purpose of these background checks is, first and foremost, to protect the children. To learn more, visit the Background Check page.
BENEFITS OF POP WARNER
NO TRYOUTS! – Pop Warner programs have no tryouts or cutting of rosters!
Programs in Several States & Countries – Pop Warner has active programs in several states and countries around the world.
More than just athletes! – Pop Warner is the only national youth sports organization in America that requires its participants to perform adequately in the classroom before permitting them to play.
Little Scholars Program – Pop Warner is the only national youth sports organization in America that rewards its members for their outstanding performance in the classroom.
Stability – Pop Warner is the oldest national youth football and cheerleading organization in the world. Founded in 1929 by Joe Tomlin, we now have over 120 leagues and over 325,000 members.
It’s Inexpensive – Signing up for Pop Warner Football, Cheerleading or Dance is inexpensive. A typical registration fee for each participant ranges on average from about $175 to $200 for the season. *Registration fees are set by each local program.
Pop Warner National Championships – Each year, Pop Warner hosts the Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships. For the past 11 years, the event has taken place at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex™ at Disney World. More than 300 cheer and dance squads and 72 football teams compete for the right to be crowned Pop Warner National Champion.
National Scholar Banquet – Pop Warner hosts an awards program each year to celebrate the accomplishments of our participants. Nationally, we select First Team, Second Team and Honorable Mention All-American Scholars.
College Scholarships – Each year, we award scholarships for higher education to the most deserving students in our highest grade levels. Pop Warner is proud to have awarded over $1.35M in scholarships since 1993!
Mandatory Play Requirements – Everyone participates under mandatory rules of play, so every child is guaranteed to play.
Team Structure – Leagues have options with how to structure their program. While leagues can continue the current structure where a player is placed in a division based on his or her age and weight they may also instead choose to register players based on age only. Currently, an estimated 75-80% of youth football nationally follows an age-only structure.
Volunteers & Coaches – We have over 40,000 volunteers and coaches that are being trained every year to offer the best and safest programs for you and your children.
It all starts here – The National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) estimates that between 60% and 70% of all NFL players began their careers playing Pop Warner Football.
Background Checks – Pop Warner programs nationwide are required to annually conduct a background check of Coaches, Board of Directors members and any other persons, volunteers or hired workers, who provide regular service to the league and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players and/or spirit participants. The purpose of these background checks is, first and foremost, to protect the children.
Concussion Prevention & Awareness – In addition to its more stringent return to play concussion rules, Pop Warner took the lead in youth sports by creating a Medical Advisory Board. The Board was created to ensure Pop Warner remains proactive on all medical issues that affect youth sports, particularly football and cheerleading, with a primary focus on prevention and proper identification and treatment of concussions, hydration awareness, proper nutrition guidelines, and general health and safety issues.
Coaching Education Programs –The safety of our athletes is always the top priority and that is why we provide extensive training for all our football and cheer & dance coaches.
National Rule Book – Each Pop Warner Region, League and Association receive free National rule books for their organizations.
Administrative Manual – Each Pop Warner Region, League and Association receive free National Administrative Manuals, designed to keep each League and Association current on all administrative matters, as well as to facilitate the daily operational management of those local organizations.
Coaches and Adult Codes of Conduct – All coaches, football and spirit participants must abide by a Code of Conduct which includes several provisions. If any of these rules are broken, the League shall have the authority to impose a penalty.
Free Online Roster Program – Pop Warner offers a free online roster program to all of our members to roster their participants easily and effectively.
National Grants Program – For several years, Pop Warner and its national partners & sponsors have awarded thousands of dollars in national grants for teams and programs including start-up grants, national championship travel grants, equipment grants and more!
We surround ourselves with the best – Pop Warner is proud to have numerous outstanding sponsors, licensees, fundraiser’s and partners who offer several amazing opportunities to our programs.
FREE HELP and DISCOUNTS – Pop Warner sponsors and partners such as Under Armour, Team Cheer, Shock Doctor and Cutters offer free equipment and uniform merchandise as part of a grant program for new organizations as well as those in financial need. Pop Warner partners also offer Pop Warner only discounts and rebates on merchandise such as footballs, cheer and dance apparel, fundraising items.
Competitive and Affordable Insurance – Pop Warner offers low-cost, broad insurance coverage as a benefit to its members. The Plan is specifically written to meet the needs of Pop Warner Little Scholars. The Pop Warner Insurance Committee, in conjunction with its Broker, periodically reviews the cyclical insurance marketplace to obtain the broadest possible coverage at the most competitive price.
Find your local program and sign up today!
POP WARNER ON THE ISSUES
Pop Warner’s independent medical advisory committee of neurosurgeons, sports medicine physicians, pediatricians and scientists has led us to implement the most stringent player safety rules in the game. Our efforts to keep kids safer are driven by objective data. While opponents point to research that claims youth football can lead to CTE, the truth is no conclusive proof exists. Many of the nation’s leading medical researchers point out
that there is no proven connection between youth football and CTE.(1)(2) As parents, players, coaches and administrators, we need to know more and we encourage more advanced, unbiased research into this issue.
It’s a Different Game
Pop Warner football is safer today than at any point in our history, thanks to mandated coaching education, greater awareness of concussions, a changing culture inside the sport and the most stringent rules in the sport. As a nation we know more today than we did 10 years ago and that has led to a safer and better version of youth football. Tackle football is a physical game with inherent risk. We are working with great partners like USA Football on approaches to complement our own efforts to make it safer.
Legislation Banning Football
We do not agree that banning youth football is an appropriate response to concerns about player safety. Parents, not the government, should decide whether their child plays football or any other sport. For nearly 90 years millions of kids have played Pop Warner football. As adults, they point to valuable life lessons and great memories from their youth football experience. Pop Warner parents have the choice of tackle or flag football for their child. If they choose tackle they know that we have worked with our medical advisory committee and various partners to make the game safer than ever before through coaching education, stringent new rules and greater awareness around concussions.
(1) Does CTE call for an end to youth tackle football? Despite press about a recent study, a link between hits to the head and CTE isn’t clear-cut. More data and a risk-benefit analysis are needed. http://www.startribune.com/does-cte-call-for-an-end-to-youth-tacklefootball/473655913/
(2) Dr. Julian Bailes of the NorthShore University HealthSystem Neurological Institute and CTE researcher believes there’s “no scientific consensus” that 12 or 11 is a threshold age below which tackle football becomes more dangerous. http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/20180224/state-blows-whistle-on-tackle-football-bill-that-would-establish-minimum-age-to-play-draws-backlash-fromparents-and-coaches