Pop Warner Football was founded in 1929 in Philadelphia, PA and named after the legendary college coach Glen Scobie "Pop" Warner. Today, over 300,000 youth now participate in Pop Warner Football nationwide. Locally, Pop Warner football began in 1995 with 10 teams from four counties. Presently, our Pop Warner league has over 60 teams, 2000 participants and is the second largest Pop Warner program in the Midwest. The Traverse City Youth Football Association is the largest association in this program, with more than 300 kids playing on 11 teams. Practices begin in August. Games begin in early September and are played on Saturdays until mid October.
Teams & Divisions
3rd and 4th graders play in the Junior PeeWee Division (a.k.a. “PeeWee”)
5th and 6th graders play in the Junior Varsity Division (a.k.a. “JV”)
Players can indicate if they prefer to be on a Trojan, Titan or Gladiator affiliated team (TCYFB makes final placement decisions to balance teams and ensure adequate playing time for each player). Youth players have enjoyed the connection between these teams and the high school coaches and players.
Offensively, players learn fundamental blocking skills, terminology, run play schemes and some pass plays. Players learn teamwork and how every position is important to the team’s success.
Defensively, all teams play a 4-3 defense. Players learn defensive fundamentals and alignment with a focus on SAFE tackling.
TC Youth Football continues to make a safe experience our main focus:
Special teams plays are have no contact
Pee Wee division players stay up in a 2pt stance including on the offensive and defensive lines (working on heads- up body position)
The league has used fundraising and grants to purchase $1000’s of safe tackling and drill equipment for practices
TCYFB provides each player the use of approximately $400+ of current equipment for the season (helmet, shoulder pads, practice pants and team game uniforms).Each player is required to attend a mandatory equipment fitting to ensure the proper fitting.
All players in the eligible grades can compete, but players over Pop Warner weight limits must play on the Offensive/Defensive lines and can not carry the ball as to limit excessive contact.
Coaches are trained to teach the ‘hawk’ tackle (safe tackling with the players head away from the contact). https://usafootball.com/programs/heads-up-football/middle-high-school/shouldertackling/
Coaches have resources through USA Football’s Heads Up Football and the NFL https://fdm.usafootball.com/
Practice time maximums are enforced and all players go through conditioning practices prior to practicing in full-contact equipment.
Teams play a 7 game schedule with 1 game per week on Saturdays.
Games are played on regulation fields and are facilitated by trained game officials (standard penalties are called)
1 coach from each team is always on the field during game play
Normal scoring rules apply including touchdowns and kicking field goals. Scores are no longer tallied if the point differential in the game is more than 20 points. Points for Point After Attempts are reversed; 2 points for a successful kick, and 1 point for scoring from scrimmage.
League schedules are facilitated by the Grand Traverse Bay YMCA. Home games are played at TC West Middle School, TC East Middle School, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton or Thirlby Field. Away games involve travel to other North or South Division Teams (examples include Petoskey, Boyne City, Cadillac, Kingsley, Indian River).
About TC Youth Football
YMCA Pop Warner Football is designed to develop leadership, teamwork, patience, determination, self-respect, respect for others, skill development, and fun in a safe environment. In this program, winning is not the objective; it is only the result of playing well.