Many parents have found that sports teams are a great way to not only get their kids physically and socially active, but to help them learn the importance of cooperation, good sportsmanship and discipline. Getting involved in a youth sports organization is a rewarding way to help influence countless kids for the better. If you feel called to help kids this way, you might consider starting a team with the largest youth football organization in the country, Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.
Originally known as the Junior Football Conference, the league was started in 1929 by Joe Tomlin in Philadelphia to help reduce the problem of youth vandalism. Five years later, Tomlin invited famed coach Glenn "Pop" Warner to speak at a spring clinic. Warner is now considered one of the most influential coaches in football history, having introduced the screen pass and other important aspects of the game. The speech he gave in 1934 was such a hit that the Conference was renamed after Warner. By 1959, it had grown into a national organization.
Today, the league has about 400,000 players. Because Pop Warner has leagues in most states, it also has national championships. The organization even claims that approximately 70 percent of the players in the NFL played in a Pop Warner league as children [source: Scholl]. This may make you think that the league is ultra-competitive. To the contrary, the league has rules against tryouts and requires coaches to play every team member in all the games. There's even a rule preventing a team's starting players from taking the field when they're enjoying a significant lead [source: McCarthy].
To help prevent injuries as well as keep the teams as even as possible, Pop Warner places youth into age divisions that account for weight, too. And players must meet academic requirements in order to qualify -- at least a 2.0 or 70 percent grade point average. Pop Warner claims to be the only national youth sports league to have scholastic requirements.
If you're intrigued and interested in what it would take to start your own team, read on to the next page.