How do I know which association to sign my son or daughter up with?
MFPW uses the same districts that correspond with the high schools in Orange, Osceola, Lake, Polk, and Seminole counties. There are a few high school districts which do not have Pop Warner programs in them which are considered ‘Open’ areas. For more information on which Mid-Florida Pop Warner programs are associated with which schools you can go to the ‘Boundaries’ link under the main menu.
When is registration and how much does it cost?
Each association manages their own registrations which can begin as early as March and conclude as late as July and August. If you know the association for which you are zoned you can visit the ‘Associations’ link which will take you to the web page of that program for more information. Additionally, registration fees vary between associations so please refer to your program’s website.
What documentation do I need to register my child?
To register with any Pop Warner program you will need the following documentation:
1) Birth certificate.
2) 2016 Pop Warner Participant Contract.
3) Copy of the child’s final 2015 – 2016 report card.
4) 2016 Pop Warner Physical Fitness & Medical History form.
Some associations require paperwork in addition to Pop Warner’s requirements. Examples include:
1) Copy of your most recent utility bill to verify residency
2) Registration application unique to your association
3) Proof of medical insurance
Does Mid-Florida Pop Warner coordinate the physicals?
No. Parents are responsible for getting their children’s physicals scheduled with the doctor of their choice, and some associations will coordinate group physicals. Participants must complete a 2016 Pop Warner Physical Fitness and Medical History form which must also be signed or stamped by a doctor on or after January 1st.
If my child doesn’t like it can I get my money back?
Refund policies are managed by each association. Please check with the website or management of your association for details.
When does the season start?
Teams can start practicing on or after August 1st in shorts and helmets for the first week. The first practice game of the season will be August 20th and the first regular game will be August 27th.
How many games are there in a season?
There are 8 regular season games, a jamboree or pre-season game prior to opening week and playoff games if the teams qualify. There are also bowl games and tournaments at the end of the season that some teams participate in. All games are held on Saturdays with a few exceptions.
What is the cutoff date for determining the age of my child?
How do I know what division my child will play or cheer for?
In football team assignments are determined by age first and weight second. Please refer to the ‘Ages & Weights’ link under the main menu to determine which team your child should be on. For football players 11 years and older there is a designation called ‘Older/Lighter’ where he/she can play one age level down from normal if his/her weight is at least 20 pounds lower than the established weight limit. A participant’s age is determined on how old he/she is on July 31st. There is no weight limits for cheerleaders and team assignments are determined by the Pop Warner 2016 Spirit Age Matrix.
What happens if my son is too heavy for his age group?
It is not uncommon each season for a few boys to play one weight class above what is normal for their age. Players may be moved up or down one level within the weight requirements at the association’s discretion.
How long and frequent are the practices?
The first week of practice is reserved for conditioning. No contact is permitted during the conditioning week and this time is used to exercise and begin evaluations on the kids. From the end of conditioning until Labor Day teams can practice in pads for 10 hours per week. After Labor Day teams are allowed to practice 6 hours per week. Cheerleading practices typically average the same hours per week as football.
Can I be a football coach?
Each association is responsible for the hiring and management of football and cheerleading coaches. Please contact the association for your district for more information. No matter which association you volunteer at you must submit a completed 2016 Pop Warner Volunteer Application to your association.
What is the minimum age for becoming a head coach?
The minimum age for football and cheerleading head coaches is 21. Assistant coaches must be at least 16 years of age. All coaches must pass a Pop Warner certification class at least every three years.
How many players are there per team?
Pop Warner rules mandate that no team may have more than 35 players (except Tiny Mites which can have no greater than 28) and no less than 17 on an active roster. Cheerleading teams cannot have more than 35 per team.
What equipment does my son get and what do I have to purchase?
Each association will supply a NOCSAE certified helmet and shoulder pads. Associations vary on the purchase of additional equipment such as mouthpieces, chin straps, cleats, practice & game pants and jerseys and socks. Uniforms for cheerleaders vary between associations so please check with the program in your district for more information.
Can my child participate with an association for which he/she is not zoned?
Registration of a player/cheerleader can only be made at the association they are zoned for (see Boundaries page) unless they live in a high school district which does not have a Pop Warner program. However, there are exceptions made for some circumstances which may include their home association’s roster being full or a sibling already participating at another program. Exceptions can also be made for unique/extenuating circumstances beyond full rosters or siblings, but in any case it is necessary to complete a MFPW waiver form. All waivers must be approved and signed by the commissioner of the releasing association as well as the receiving association. MFPW waivers can be found on the ‘Forms’ page of the website and parents are strongly encouraged to communicate with the releasing and receiving commissioners prior to completing any waiver applications.
Is the emphasis on winning?
Since Pop Warner is a scholastic organization first the emphasis is on academics. On the football field the emphasis is on hard work, discipline, team work and commitment with the understanding that winning is a by-product of those attributes.
What type of assistance can I provide if I’m not a coach?
Team Parents are highly encouraged to assist the head coaches in the management of supplies, communication and most importantly, paper work. Team Parents are essentially the ‘back office’ administrators of each team and are essential to successful seasons. If you are interested in becoming a Team Parent then please contact the association management for your district. Please note that these positions require a substantial time and energy commitment. Make sure that you can commit to being at most practices and all games if you are serious about volunteering for these duties. Volunteers are always needed to work in the concession stands, work in the press box, the chain crews and minimum play counters.
Does my child’s scholastic performance affect his ability to play?
Absolutely. Pop Warner is first and foremost an academic institution built on advancing young men and women through football. Pop Warner closely monitors the academic performance of all its participants and for those who fall too far behind they will be required to provide a bi-weekly progress report signed by their school administrators in order to play each week. For exceptional students there are scholarships available to those who qualify and recognition at MFPW’s annual scholastics banquet held in late January. Each association has a designated Scholastic Coordinator whose responsibility it is to monitor and report on the academic progress of all participants.
How far are the away games?
The Mid-Florida Pop Warner conference includes teams from Lake, Orange, Seminole, Polk and Osceola Counties. You can expect to travel to any city in these counties for away games. For teams that make the playoffs regional games can be as far as Jacksonville, Miami and Tampa.
Are the games properly officiated?
Yes. Referees from the Central Florida Officials Association (CFOA) oversee all games. These are the same officials who do the high school football games.
Are the rules different between weight classes?
For the most part the general rules of football apply to all age divisions. Mid-Florida Pop Warner adheres to the same rule book that governs state of Florida high school play which is the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS). The youngest weight class (Tiny-Mites) is a purely instructional level and teams play in 25 minute halves with a running clock. Two coaches are on the field at all times and can directly instruct players before, during and after plays. All players dressed to play are required to participate a minimum amount of plays depending on the roster size. Teams from the Mitey-Mite to Unlimited (oldest) levels play 10 minute quarters and also adhere to minimum play rules.
If I don’t have a son that is playing in the program can I have a daughter that cheerleads?
Absolutely! Mid-Florida Pop Warner has one of the strongest performing cheerleading leagues in the United States. Cheerleading is an integral part of successful football and is a great way for the girls to exercise, compete and socialize.
Is there a competition for cheerleaders?
Yes, in October all cheerleaders from Mid-Florida Pop Warner compete in the annual MFPW cheerleading competition where winning squads can qualify to compete in regional and even national competitions. There is also the Chancey Cheer-off held in November.
Are the backgrounds of your coaches checked?
Yes. Any volunteer, whether a coach or board member must pass a criminal background check each year.
What separates Mid-Florida Pop Warner from other youth football leagues?
MFPW takes great pride in maintaining a highly organized management structure to coordinate a collection of 30 associations, with 6 teams each, in five Central Florida counties. The MFPW league feeds into the Southeast region of Pop Warner which is an organization of national presence. We are one of the largest leagues within Pop Warner in the United States and have a rich history of quality football and cheerleading in Central Florida for over 35 years, but our emphasis includes academics as well as football and cheerleading. All competitive teams can qualify for the Pop Warner Super Bowl which is held at Disney’s Wide World of Sports each December where teams from all fifty states come to our backyard to participate in this spectacular event which is also broadcast on ESPN. Pop Warner is arguably the most recognized and respected of all national youth sports programs in the United States.
If you have any additional questions please visit our ‘MFPW Board’ link under the main menu to direct your inquiry to the appropriate board member.