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Pop Warner Football Information

Updated on June 8, 2013

What is Pop Warner?

Pop Warner is the largest youth football, cheerleading and dance program in the nation. The philosophy of Pop Warner urges strong scholastic development with athletics. Pop Warner coaches boys in tackle or flag football and girls in cheerleading or dance. Participants must maintain academic standards in order to participate. Pop Warner's commitment to academics is what separates the program from other youth sports around the world.

Pop Warner Tackle Football


Pop Warner Mitey Mite Football


Pop Wanrer Cheer Competition

The Pop Warner Cheerleading squad competes onstage at Disney World in Orlando, Florida every year.
The Pop Warner Cheerleading squad competes onstage at Disney World in Orlando, Florida every year. | Source

Pop Warner History

In 1929, a factory owner in Philadelphia recruited Joseph J. Tomlin to figure out how to keep kids from vandalizing the factories. Joseph was an athlete, and gathered funds to create a youth sports program to keep kids busy. Joseph gathered enough youth to make four football teams and developed the Junior Football Conference.

In just four years, the Junior Football Conference expanded to 16 teams. In 1934, Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner spoke to 800 youth football players at a training clinic. By the end of the evening The Junior Football Conference was enthusiastically renamed to Pop Warner. The well known respected name Pop Warner drew in more youth. By 1938, there were 157 Pop Warner teams.

The Great Depression hit and a number of kids left school. Joseph Tomlin was a strong believer in education and organized tutors for his student athletes who were on the verge of leaving school.

In 1959, Pop Warner was renamed to Pop Warner Little Scholars and officially incorporated as a national non-profit organization. The name was chosen to emphasize the basic philosophy of Pop Warner, education is as important as athletics.

Cheerleading was initiated in the Pop Warner Little Scholars program in 1970. Flag football became a part of Pop Warner Little Scholars 1983 to support teams on a tight budget and to help them begin a foundation for tackle football leagues.

Pop Warner continues to grow and serves as the only youth football, cheerleading and dance organization that requires participants to maintain academic standards in order to participate. Currently there are over 425,000 boys and girls participating in Pop Warner programs.

Pop Warner Championship is Played at Disney Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Florida

Pop Warner Weight and Age Matrix Grid

Birth Dates
Older and Lighter
Tiny- Mite
35-75 lbs
5, 6 & 7
8/1/05 - 7/31/08
No older/lighter
45-90 lbs
7, 8, & 9
8/1/03 - 7/31/06
No older/lighter
Jr. Pee Wee
60-105 lbs
8, 9 & 10
8/1/02 - 7/31/05
Age 11 and between 60-85 lbs
Pee Wee
75-120 lbs
9, 10 & 11
8/1/01 - 7/31/04
Age 12 and between 75-100 lbs
Jr. Midget
90-145 lbs
10, 11 & 12
8/1/00 - 7/31/03
Age 13 and between 90-120 lbs
105-170 lbs
12 ,13, & 14
8/1/98 - 7/31/01
Age 15 and between 105-140 lbs
105+ lbs
11,12,13 & 14
8/1/98 - 7/31/02
No older/lighter
Information gathered from ~ Each division allows older but lighter players to qualify. All league age is determined by the actual age of your child on July 31 of the year in which he/she will participate.

A Pop Warner Mitey-Mite


What to Expect: Pop Warner Tackle Football

My son has participated in Pop Warner Little Scholars tackle football for the past 4 years. Here are some tips and suggestions for parents who are enrolling their son in the tackle football program.

Pop Warner is a big commitment.

  • Practices normally last 2 ½ hours for 3 to 4 times a week. If practice is delayed due to lightning and rain it may run longer than 2 ½ hours.
  • When it rains practice will continue unless lightening is spotted. If lightening is spotted, players will need to wait a building or car for the lightening to stop. Once the last lightening strikes players and coaches need to wait 30 minutes before practicing again.
  • Parents are expected to be at each practice and game for the full duration.
  • The regular season runs for 3 consecutive months, from August through the end of October. Jr. Pee Wee through Midgets can go longer depending on how they do in competition. There are usually eight games and one pre-season game.
  • On average Pop Warner costs $200 for tackle football.
  • Other costs include; travel, lodging, food expenses, additional football equipment including; cleats, practice pants and jerseys.

Pop Warner Equipment List

A helmet is usually fitted and provided by the league.
Facemask Shields
Pop Warner rules state that shields can be used but must be clear. They cannot be tinted in any way.
Shoulder Pads
There are different types of shoulder pads for different positions.
Game Pants
Provided by the league.
Game Jersey
Provided by the league.
7-Piece Pad Set for Pants
Usually, provided by the league or can be purchased at most sporting good stores.
Mouth Guard
All players must wear a mouth guard while playing. Clear mouth guards are not allowed.
Chin Strap for the Helmet
It is recommended to have a protective chinstrap, which has a plastic cup that fits under the player's chin.
Football cleats provide more support than soccer cleats.
Practice Pants
The pants should have a snug fit. I recommend pants with built in pads for practice.
Protective Cup
This is required by Pop Warner.
Practice Jersey
Make sure it is mesh so it can breath and big enough to fit over the shoulder pads.
The girdle is worn under both the practice pants and game pants.
Game socks are usually provided. Must purchase socks for practice.
Some positions might improve your child's performance with gloves.
Large Water Bottle
A must for practices.

Is Tackle Football Safer than Soccer?

Did you know that Pop Warner football is safer than soccer? Pop Warner football has 12% fewer injuries per capita among 5-15 year olds than organized soccer in the same age range! (U.S. NEISS)

See results

Pop Warner Football Coaches

All prospective head coaches are interviewed before the season starts and are selected based on several different criteria. Most coaches have some football experience and coaching experience. Coaches do not get paid, it is all volunteer work. Each head coach must attend a certification class and fill out a background check application.

Parents can volunteer to be an assistant coach. Parents who volunteer or become an assistant coach must also fill out a background check form.

Minimum Play

Pop Warner requires all players, regardless of skill level to play a minimum amount of football plays during each game. The actual number of plays is dictated by the number of players on a roster at the beginning of a game.

Education Requirements

All Pop Warner players must receive a 2.0 grade-point average, or 70 percent average in school to participate. That is equivalent to a 'C.' Exceptions can be made for struggling students. Parents must fill out a Scholastic Eligibility Forms with the child's school to determine eligibility.

© Copyright Carly Sullens 2013. All Rights Reserved.


Submit a Comment

  • hoov45 profile image

    Terry Hoover 

    5 years ago from Denham Springs, Louisiana

    Excellent information here Carly. I like that Pop Warner has a minimum GPA requirement. My son played in a youth league for four years and my daughter was on the cheer squad. You are right in saying that it is a big commitment. We made many good friends through our participation in our local youth league. Great Hub and voted up.

  • CarlySullens profile imageAUTHOR

    Carly Sullens 

    5 years ago from St. Louis, Missouri

    Thank you Marcy. I have also wondered who Pop Warner was and was happy to research him for this hub.

  • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

    Marcy Goodfleisch 

    5 years ago from Planet Earth

    What a neat hub! I have wondered who Pop Warner was for years - it's fun to see the heritage of that great program, and I am impressed that they also require academic standards. Good for them!!!


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