Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
FAQ’s about Football Registration
How old does a player have to be to play?
FYFA & the WPRD has teams for players aged 8 to 15, from 3rd to 8th grade. Players must be 8 years of age, or turn 8 years of age, by September 1st in order to be eligible for participation. Players must be less than 15 years old by the start of the season to compete. Players may not turn 15 years of age before the end of the current football season.
What is the cost to participate in the FYFA Football Program?
The 2020 season registration fee is $150* for Wilbraham residents and $175 ($25 being waived by FYFA)* for Hampden residents or school choice players. In addition, families must leave 3 deposit checks at the time or registration; an Equipment deposit check for $75, a Volunteer deposit check for $125, and a Fundraising deposit check for $100. These checks are only cashed if equipment is damaged or not returned, or if families fail to complete their volunteer or fundraising requirements.
*Please note your registration fee covers only a portion of the total cost for your child to play football. FYFA solicits sponsors, grants, and holds additional fund raisers in order to minimize the cost each family pays.
How and when can I register for the upcoming season?
2020 registration runs from May 19 through June 8th through the Wilbraham Parks and Recreation Department: http://wilbrahamrec.com/info/activities/ No on-line registration is available, families must register in-person at the WPRD office ~ Mon-Fri, 8:30am-4pm. You might want to print out the 2017 Football Registration packet and fill it out ahead of time to save time.
What are my payment options?
Registration fees are paid to WPRD. All other payments should be made in the form of check or money order made payable to FYFA.
What does registration pay for?
Registration pays for the use of helmet, shoulder pads, game and practice jersey. Registration also covers all ancillary costs including but not limited to league insurance and fees, the cost of officials and medical personnel fees.
Will I get a registration confirmation?
Yes. At the end of your registration process, you will receive an e-mail confirmation that your child is registered for the program.
Can we sign up now and pay later?
No. Due to the nature of this sport, there are a large number of expenses that must be paid before the season even begins. We are not able to register any child without payment in full at registration time.
Our family cannot afford the registration fee. Is there financial assistance available?
Yes. Financial assistance is available to any family, if evidence is provided to WPRD and the FYFA Executive Board that clearly reflects a need for such assistance. Families interested in obtaining consideration for financial assistance must complete the Financial Assistance application and submit it to WPRD. The Financial Assistance Application is available in the WPRD office and on the Bylaws & Documents page on the FYFA website.
To maintain the confidentiality of personal information of those families of participants requesting financial assistance, all requests will be kept in strictest confidence and will be voted on/approved by the Executive Board in private session.
If my child does not like football or we are unhappy with our team, can we quit and get our money back?
NO. Due to the pre-season costs in this sport, all fees paid to the WPRD at registration are non-refundable for any reason once registration ends.
If my son/daughter gets hurt do you refund our money?
NO. Due to the pre-season costs in this sport, all fees paid at registration to the WPRD are not refundable for any reason.
What if the program is full or we have missed the registration deadline?
You are encouraged to register early for all programs. Participation for all programs is on a first come, first serve basis. Please check registration information on each individual program. Those wishing to register after the registration deadline will be placed on a team if there is room available. If there is no room, their name will be placed on a waiting list and added at a later date if possible. No player will be allowed to register after practices have already begun, except in extenuating circumstances.
We just moved to the area would like sign my child up to play football.
It is the policy of FYFA and WPRD that if any family moves into the school district after the registration period, that child will be allowed to join FYFA, even if the season has already begun.
Our child has never played football before, is that a requirement?
Absolutely not. FYFA football is a safe, friendly environment where your player can learn the fundamentals of the game. We provide players with skills needed to succeed in life also. We encourage life skills such as teamwork, discipline, responsibility, respect, family values, and, of course, hard work.
FAQ’s about Football Equipment
Do we have to buy all the equipment?
No. FYFA and WPRD provide each player with a helmet and chinstrap, shoulder pads, a game jersey, practice jersey, and mouth guard. All equipment, except the practice jersey and mouth guard, is required to be returned at the end of the season, in good condition, on time, in order to get your equipment security deposit back.
What do I need to purchase for the season?
Families are responsible for purchasing their player(s) football pants (White, Grades 3-6, Black, Grades 7 & 8), football cleats (molded, non-metal and non-removable) and an athletic supporter and cup. This equipment can be purchased at your local sports store, or through the internet. It should be purchased before the first practice and will not be sold at equipment pick up!
Some families also choose to purchase their player(s) a girdle, hip, knee, and thigh pads, arm and hand pads, rib pads, and an extra mouth guard – but these items are optional.
Why do I have an equipment deposit?
During the past several years, many players fail to return their equipment. Unfortunately, we have decided that an equipment deposit is necessary to help keep your registration fees low. At a cost of hundreds of dollars per player to provide equipment and uniforms, equipment losses are an expense that we wish to minimize.
Where and when is equipment distributed?
The 2020 equipment distribution dates are August 4th and 5th at Spec Pond. Families will also be notified of equipment distribution information via email, and the information will be posted on the FYFA website.
What if we don't think the equipment fits correctly?
Experienced FYFA coaches will fit your child correctly during equipment handout. The equipment is fitted to each child at the time it was issued. Helmets are supposed to be tight to prevent injuries. If you feel your child wasn't properly fitted, please discuss it with your head coach and he will get it resolved. There is additional information about equipment in the Football Safety Information page on the left hand toolbar of the FYFA website
FAQ’s about Teams, Practices and Playing Time
How do you select teams?
In FYFA there are six teams; these teams are determined by enrollment, age, grade and ability.
When do practices start and how long is the season?
Practice for the fall season begins on August 1, a date established by the SAFL, and generally continues until the end of November. Practice in the summer is usually four days a week, Mon-Thurs, sometime between 5-8pm, until school begins.
Once school is in session, practices are generally held three-four days per week with a game day either Saturday or Sunday. The practice schedule is determined by each coach and FYFA to accommodate each levels particular needs and field availability. Every week practices are different. New skills are learned, problem areas are corrected and new plays are taught. Your child will be at a disadvantage by not making practice on time and regularly. Your head coach will provide you with days/times that they will conduct practice.
*Practices are at the discretion of the coaches and the times mentioned above are only a guide, and most likely will change depending on the age of your child, the team the player makes, and the coach.
Where will my child have practices and games?
The practice and the home game site will be Spec Pond. Away games can be in any of the following towns: Holyoke, Longmeadow, Northampton, Springfield, Agawam, Chicopee, East Longmeadow, Westfield or West Springfield. Directions to fields will be posted as soon as the season schedule is finalized.
What if our family is on vacation during summer practices?
Although we encourage family time together, the elements of practice that your player will be missing out on do have a huge impact on your player and the team. We ask that you arrange family vacations around the football season. Because every player will be developing important fundamentals during this time and because each player's role on the team is so important, attendance for all football practices is imperative.
Is pre-season training in August necessary?
A solid pre-season training regimen can give youth athletes an edge and help prevent injuries when the traditional season begins.
How much will my child play?
Playing time is determined by merit, ability, and safety. Players who do not practice during the week may not be eligible to play in the game. Playing time will be in accordance with the FYFA Coaching Philosophy, SAFL Bylaws and the WPRD’s Hampden/Wilbraham Falcon Youth Football guidelines. Coaches make every attempt to provide all children “meaningful minutes”.
How am I notified if a practice or game is cancelled?
Remember, FYFA teams do practice in the rain! If there is a sign of lightning, practice will be cancelled. Parents must stay during inclement weather in case the practice is called because of lightning. This will be discussed at the pre-season parent/coaches meeting. Each coach has a specific plan for notifying parents of cancellations via e-mail, phone calls, etc.
What if I want my child to play a certain position?
During the first few weeks of practice, the coaches will decide the best position for each player. Vince Lombardi once said, "A good offense will win you games, but a good defense will win you championships." The coaches have put in hours of research in order to find and develop the most effective plays for this level. A player’s attitude plays a large role in the position they play. The player who has a bad attitude, who is oversensitive or who demonstrates any sort of problem with the position will be passed over. A negative attitude is costly.
When selecting starting players, attitude and desire win over ability every time. “Can't” has no place on this football team. If you wish to play a particular position, then make an effort to know that positions’ responsibilities. We may give you the chance to earn any position on the team. Make certain you do not neglect your assigned position while you are learning the new one!
FAQ’s about Coaching
Why do football coaches yell so much?
Let us answer this way. Imagine if you invited 35 boys over to your home, put pads and a helmet on them and told them to hit each other as hard as they can, knock each other down and then do it again, again, again, and again. What do you think would happen? More likely than not it would be complete chaos, mayhem, arguing, eventual name-calling, fist fighting and perhaps even a call from your neighbors asking you to move. I’m not sure a polite “lets calm down now, boys” would cut it. The answer to this question is: Coaches will demand complete attention and sometimes they demand it loudly. This is a contact sport and coaches are responsible for teaching the kids not only how to play football, but to do it properly so no one gets hurt. This requires a lot of cooperation, teamwork and the respect for each other and to this end; coaches will make sure they are heard.
Can I coach or help with the team?
Yes! FYFA is staffed by volunteers. There are many ways that you can participate. While the coaches have already been selected for the 2017 season, all families will be notified of the 2018 application period sometime late fall.
Each team has a Team Parent who assists the coach in communicating team schedules, league activities, and developing team spirit. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, please email the FYFA Board of Directors at email@example.com
If you can't commit to either of these roles, there are still lots of ways to help. Please consider attending FYFA monthly meetings to learn more about ways to get involved.
Are the coaches paid employees of Falcon Youth Football?
No. They are volunteers who donate a substantial amount of their time to help our kids.
What do you have to do to become a youth coach?
Our coaches are volunteers and a valuable part of our organization. FYFA and the WPRD are responsible for the recruitment and assignment of coaches for all age groups. All coaches must pass a background screening and be certified by national coaching and football organizations before being allowed to coach. For more information about coaching please contact the FYFA Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org
FAQ’s about Football Safety
Is Football safe?
Football is a contact sport and there are dangers associated with any physical activity. FYFA and the SAFL take every measure to ensure the safety of all its players. FYFA and the SAFL has adopted the National Youth Sports Coaches Association (NYSCA) Coaches Code of Ethics and the Coaches Accountability and Enforcement policies created by the National Alliance for Youth Sports (NAYS). All FYFA coaches are subject to a back ground screening, receive training and evaluation. Medical personnel attend every game to assist with any minor medical issues and ensure proper techniques are used.
Through football your child will learn many life skills including sportsmanship, teamwork, determination, listening, respect, winning and losing with dignity, value of good grades, self-esteem and discipline.
If you are interested in learning more about football safety, there is a Football Safety page on the left hand toolbar on the FYFA website.
Is Football too rough for my child?
Only you and your child can answer this one. The WPRD and FYFA take great strides to insure that coaches are knowledgeable, well trained individuals with the abilities to teach proper technique and skills and all the equipment is inspected and in proper condition to provide safety for all players. But, keep in mind this is tackle football. It is NOT a sport for every child. Please discuss this with your child and any of our board members prior to registering if you have specific concerns.
What if my child is injured during practice and a game?
FYFA believes that the player’s safety is the highest priority. In an effort to improve safety and limit injury, FYFA will ensure that proper equipment is provided to each player and that this equipment is worn during all practices where contact is planned, as well as for all games. Helmets are evaluated by an outside vendor to ensure quality and safety. The coaches inspect all other equipment prior to and during the season. Careful attention is paid to conditioning prior to initiation of contact and throughout the season.
Football is a challenging sport and injuries sometimes occur. Please keep in mind that the football coaches are not trained medical professionals, however, they all have been certified in CPR. If your child has any type of injury please contact your coach immediately to let them know the nature of the injury. Any injured player that requires any medical attention will be required to present a physician’s release when returning to practice or games.
Any participant which a coach suspects may have incurred a concussion must be seen by a physician or other qualified medical personnel, and cannot return to practice or game play until he/she has a written release from the physician or other qualified medical personnel specifically stating that the player may participate in full contact football.
The FYFA Safety Officer will be responsible for overseeing, recommending, and implementing measures to ensure the safety of all the players in the FYFA. The Football Safety page on the left hand toolbar FYFA web site, includes literature, videos and apps for your smart phones.
Isn’t it really hot out in August?
It sure is! It is imperative that your child drinks plenty of water during the football season. It is the player’s responsibility to bring adequate water to practice. The coaches have scheduled water breaks throughout the practices.
FAQ’s about Other FYFA Issues
Why do have to participate in FYFA Fundraisers?
Fundraising is a key source of revenue vital to covering our major expenses such as equipment and uniforms, officials, EMT fees, and insurance. FYFA needs your support to continue our mission of providing excellence in youth football. While registration fees may seem substantial, keep in mind the cost of outfitting each player is hundreds of dollars. We will have a number of fundraisers this season to help offset expenses. Information about fundraising efforts will be communicated via email, on the web site and through parent liaisons for your child’s team.
Due to the success we have had in the past, we are continuing with the Calendar Raffle as a mandatory fundraiser this year. We are dependent on every team player’s participation to meet this year’s goal. Each player will be required to sell a minimum of 10 calendars at $10 each for a total of $100 raised or a total of 15 calendars at $10 each for a total of $150.00 raised for multiple player families.
To ensure family participation in the fundraising efforts, each family signs the Fundraising and Volunteering Policy Agreement Form during the registration period. Families are also required to leave a $100 deposit check. If your family is unable to sell all 10/15 calendars, your check will be cashed on October 1st.
This year, there will be a prize for the player that sells the most calendars. If you have any more questions, feel free to contact the Fundraising Committee Chair at email@example.com
Why do you require family members to volunteer?
FYFA is a 100% volunteer, non-profit organization, and parent and family involvement is imperative in it’s success. The program is very expensive to operate and the participant registration fees cover only a fraction of the funds needed to operate annually. Volunteers play an instrumental role in keeping registration fees at an affordable level.
How do I contact FYFA?
Any general questions can be sent to the FYFA Board of Directors at firstname.lastname@example.org Specific questions related to coaches, player safety, etc., can be directed to the appropriate FYFA committee. For a list of committee chairs and their contact information, please see the Board of Directors page on the left hand toolbar of the FYFA website.
How can I get more involved with FYFA?
There are endless opportunities to participate in the FYFA association. We welcome your skills and energy. Committees are a good way to get introduced to the FYFA family. Learn about different committees and what they do on the Committee page on the left hand toolbar on the FYFA website. Committee meetings are held once a month and every FYFA member is invited to attend. Feel free to reach out to the committee chair or co-chair, or simply show up. Committee meetings times, dates and locations will be posted on the Meetings and Minutes page on the left hand toolbar of the FYFA website.
If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, you can look at some of the volunteer opportunities on the Volunteer page of the FYFA web page. You are welcome to email the FYFA Board of Directors at email@example.com to let them know you are willing and able to volunteer in some capacity.
As always, members are encouraged to attend the monthly FYFA board meetings to learn more about how to get involved.
When and where are FYFA meetings held?
General membership meetings of the FYFA are held once a month, usually at 7pm. Dates and times of monthly meetings will be distributed via email and will be posted on the FYFA website. These meetings are open to the membership and the Board of Directors welcomes your attendance and participation. Unless otherwise noted, meetings will be held in the Multimedia room at Kids Village, 35 Post Office Park. The entrance to the Multimedia room is directly facing the YMCA in the center of the building. There is a small sign above the entrance! All members are welcome and encouraged to attend.
How do I express a concern about a coach, official, parent or staff member?
The goal of FYFA is to provide a positive experience to all members of our association. However, we realize that from time to time an issue may arise within our organization that requires attention. We have designed our “Grievance Policy” to provide a process in which an individual can present an issue for review. Grievances will be based on the conduct of members of the FYFA during FYFA related activities.
In an effort to resolve grievances in a reasonable and effective manner, we request your cooperation in complying with the Grievance Policy. The Grievance Policy outlined in the handbook and on the FYFA website. The Grievance Policy describes detailed steps an individual must take in order to file a formal complaint. In general, however, if you have a complaint related to your child’s team or coach, or an FYFA member or participant, your first step is to directly contact the individual coach, or the head coach of the team or player in question, or the individual member and try to work out any issues directly with this individual. FYFA asks members to abide by the 24 hour rule (wait 24 hours to allow for emotions and tempers to subside). All contact about grievances should be arranged with discretion and never be arranged during practice or game time.
If there is no satisfactory resolution of an issue after direct communication with the individual or head coach of the team, you can then issue a formal complaint to the FYFA Executive Board. The formal complaint must be submitted in writing using the Complaint Form found on the Bylaws & Documents page on the FYFA website. The written complaint must be signed and dated but you can request that the complaint remain anonymous by writing that request on the form.
The FYFA Executive Board will attempt to resolve the issue in a timely fashion. If the conflict remains unresolved, the FYFA Executive Board will make the final decision on how to deal with the grievance.
I need directions to a field, how do I get there?
Directions to all fields are posted on the SAFL web site: http://www.saflfootball.com and on the FYFA website. You should also receive emails from your Team Parent each week about times, dates and locations of upcoming games.
What is FYFA?
FYFA stands for the Falcon Youth Football Association. FYFA is Westerm Massachusetts premier youth football program located in Wilbraham, MA. Our tackle football program begins with 3rd grade and culminates with 8th grade football. Many of our players have grown into high school stars and collegiate athletes. Our volunteers and coaches share a passion for kids, fun and football.
Our program is designed to introduce families to the sport of football in a fun and instructive environment. We recognize that there is greatness in each of our student athletes and emphasize individual growth in a team atmosphere. Besides teaching football fundamentals, our focus is to simply promote athletic and academic excellence in all of our players. In addition to creating a lifelong love of sports, our goal is to create outstanding citizens and future leaders in school, sports and our community.
What is the SAFL?
endorses the concept of maximum athlete participation at all levels of play in the league. The SAFL encourages and enables youth to benefit from participating in football in a safe and structured environment. Throughout the league, SAFL teaches sportsmanship, fundamentals, teamwork, skills and knowledge that youth will use throughout their lives. For additional information regarding the SAFL, please visit their website at http://www.saflfootball.com
What is WPRD?
WPRD stands for Wilbraham Parks and Recreation Department. The mission of the WPRD is to serve the community with a wide variety of wholesome and affordable activities. You can learn more about the WPRD from their web site: https://www.wilbrahamrec.com
How much time is involved in football?
It is a huge time commitment on the part of both players and parents. From the beginning of August thru the end of the season, practice is 3 - 5 times per week for 2 hours, plus games on weekends.
Please note that the above is meant as a guide and is subject to change without notice.
Submit a Question
If you do not see the answer to your question below, please send an email to the FYFA Board of Directors at: firstname.lastname@example.org