Team sports provide opportunities for kids to learn about sportsmanship and working cooperatively while promoting an active, healthy lifestyle. For some kids, being part of a sports team makes a big difference in their lives. Football is a sport that boys and girls of all ages can participate in. If your child shows an interest in playing team sports, consider signing him up for a football team.
The National Football League sponsors a number of flag football teams for kids in cities all around the country. The NFL FLAG program is open to boys and girls between the ages of 5 and 17. Along with instruction on football fundamentals, FLAG players receive official NFL team-branded jerseys and flag football belts. The FLAG program is active all year, not just during football season. Leagues can be organized or joined any time of the year. Registered players also receive a membership to USA Football, an organization that partners with the NFL in the development and maintenance of youth football programs. The USA Football membership gives kids and parents access to a number of online tools and resources including teaching videos and health and fitness tips.
The Pop Warner youth football program has been around for over 80 years. Established in Philadelphia in 1929, Pop Warner football teams now span 42 states across the country and serve over 250,000 kids. Pop Warner programs are available to kids between 5 and 15 years of age. With safety in mind, Pop Warner football uses a strict age and weight matrix that ensures that kids are only competing with other kids of similar age and size. Pop Warner football players receive extensive coaching and training, and are engaged in experiences that help build leadership skills, teamwork and discipline. While there are no tryouts for Pop Warner football, participants are required to exhibit and maintain adequate academic success in order to play.
American Youth Football
The American Youth Football program gives kids ages 8 to 15 opportunities to play competitive football in a positive environment. Players are divided into teams based on age, grade and weight. AYF teams can be found throughout the country, and teams are grouped by geographic region for the purpose of regional and national tournaments and competitions. The American Youth Football program also sponsors local membership teams that follow the same general governing principles, but do not participate in inter-league competitions. All AYF football teams have a focus on safety, sportsmanship, and full participation for all members.
The USA Football program sponsors national teams for the best youth players in the country. Players can be nominated for the teams by coaches and fellow athletes, or can apply for teams by submitting an application along with video highlights of their football abilities. USA Football currently has three national teams for kids who are under 15, under 17, and under 19 years of age. Team USA members participate in a one-week development camp in their geographic region where they are evaluated for a spot on the national team while receiving training from qualified coaches.