Thunder Update: Teams are currently having full practices without contact as well as flag football games on Sundays within their grade. We have given up hope on a return to tackle football for 2020 but will be back in 2021 better than ever.
Below are 2 paragraphs from a recent Newsday article about the success of Garden City HS Football and their Head Coach, Dave Ettinger.
Ettinger points to the Garden City Thunder's youth program as a key factor in the success of the program. The Thunder has provided a pivotal feeder system that fuels the Trojans' ability to reload instead of rebuilding every season.
"We have a fantastic relationship with our youth program," Ettinger said. "We mentor the young players with appearances by our coaches and players at Friday workouts and Sunday games. We want the younger players to get excited about our middle school and high school programs. They're fundamentally sound when our JV coach Bob DeFliese starts to mold them."
----- REGISTRATION QUESTIONS ----------
Q: When does Thunder Football start? What is the time commitment? When and Where are the games?
A: Thunder football practice begins in the first week of August. How often a team practices is left up to the coach but it is most common that teams practice 3x per week for 1-2hrs per session. Once the season starts in September games are on Sundays. This makes Thunder football a 4 day a week commitment during the season (Labor Day through Thanksgiving). Thunder football is a travel sport that plays home games at Community Park in Garden City and away games in towns throughout Nassau County.
Q: I sent in my child's application. When will I find out what team he is on?
A: Each year by mid-June, accepted applications by age are displayed on this website to confirm we have your application. A welcome letter and medical form for rostered players is sent by regular mail by the time school lets out in June. Coaches are decided between June and July. You will hear from your child's football coach by mid-July.
Q: How are teams picked when you have more than one team in an age division? What if I want my child to play for a specific coach?
A: All players are re-drafted each year in multi-team age divisions. We do NOT honor special requests unless a child has a specific need essential to his health and safety. The Directors' have final approval on all player placements.
Q: My son is very small for his age / My son is old for his grade. Can't he play down one age level? What if he only misses the cutoff by one day because he has a November 30th birthday?
A: No, there are NO exceptions to the age or weight limits for each division, except that a heavy player unable to make the weight in his proper age division may play up one (only one) age division. Remember the weights are MAXIMUM weights, not minimum weights - so players are eligible if they are UNDER the weight, but not over.
Q: What is the Thunder refund policy for registration fees?
A: refunds are only offered if we are informed your child is not playing BEFORE the season starts.
Q: What are acceptable proofs of birth for the NCYFL Weigh-in to make the roster at the beginning of the season?
A: ORIGINAL Passport, ORIGINAL Birth Certificate, or an ORIGINAL government document denoting proper birthdate (such as an immigration document). If your son played in the NCYFL before, the league will also accept official laminated player registration cards from prior years. You can check with your Head Coach to see if he has one for your son.
---------- EQUIPMENT QUESTIONS ----------
Note: Any alteration to the basic Thunder uniform by a coach or parent is prohibited by the Thunder and NCYFL Football League rules. Rules regarding permissible equipment are regularly checked at the weigh-in on game day and players found in violation are not allowed to play in the game.
Q: What Equipment do I need and where can I get it?
A: Each player will need a helmet, shoulder pads, mouthpiece, white football pants, cup with athletic supporter, cleats (molded plastic or rubber cleats only-no screw in or metal cleats), 2-thigh, 2-knee, 2-hip and 1-tailbone (butt) pads are required. Thunder will host an “Equipment Day” during the summer when a representative from Riddell will be on hand for the purchase of a helmet and shoulder pads. Specific times to be announced by email and on the www.gcthunder.com website. ONLY SCHUTT OR RIDDELL FOOTBALL HELMETS ARE PERMITTED IN THUNDER FOOTBALL.
Q: Why do I need to get my son a new football helmet every 2 years?
A: Most scholastic football programs recondition their helmets every 1-2 years. Because Thunder is run entirely by volunteers, we do not maintain a helmet reconditioning program. Also, it is not practical to have volunteers who may lack proper training and experience to be responsible to fit helmets on the players each year. Likewise, it is not practical to leave reconditioning up to the individual parents of 100+ players. Thus, we have instituted our practice of requiring that they be replaced with a newly purchased helmet every 2 years. To make this easier, we have a representative from Riddell come in person each summer to Garden City to fit new Riddell helmets on the players at a discount to the retail price and repurchase old Riddell helmets for cash. The representative usually comes multiple times and his arrival dates are posted on this site and by email. The Thunder program makes absolutely NO money off the use of Riddell or this replacement policy. It is done in the best interest of the safety of the players.
Q: What cleats should I buy for football?
A: NO screw-in "chock" style cleats or metal cleats of any kind are allowed. League rules require that cleats must be molded rubber or plastic. When this violation is caught at the game weigh in or during the game the player is suspended from the game.
Q: I bought colored (black, maroon, etc) football pants for my son. Can he wear these to his game instead of the white ones?
A: No. The Thunder purposely wears white football pants as part of the uniform because we do not maintain an equipment replacement program beyond the annual Riddell visit, and replacement white football pants can be purchased at any sporting goods store. Players are free to use colored football pants for practice.
Q: What are the rules about mouthpieces?
A: Mouthpieces must be colored (i.e. not clear) so they are easily visible for the referees, and they must be attached to the face mask of the helmet. If an unattached mouthpiece is noticed by the referee in the game it is a penalty. There is one exception: if a child needs a special orthodontic mouthpiece because he wears braces AND he has a prescription from his dentist (of which we would need a copy), he can wear a mouthpiece which is not attached. Also, the dentist must write in the prescription that the child may play football.
Q: Can a player wear a helmet color other than plain white? Can a player wear a plastic visor on his helmet facemask?
A: All Thunder helmets must be manufactured by Schutt or Riddell and be PLAIN WHITE with "Thunder" graphic decals only. There should be no "reward" or other stickers of any kind. Visors are allowed only with a doctor's note from the player's doctor and must be CLEAR, NOT TINTED. See the Helmet Policy on this site for further questions.
Q: Can I have my son's name put on the back of his jersey?
A: No. The Thunder program believes in the long football tradition of "team before player" and has kept its own tradition of having no player identified by name on their game jerseys. The Thunder promotes the idea that no extra attention should be paid to an individual for their play on the field. Hundreds of high school (like Garden City) and college (like Penn State) football teams follow this tradition, and there is even a pro baseball team in the Bronx that follows this tradition.
Q: Can my son wear extra elbow, hand or knee pads in the games without violating the uniform rules?
A: Yes, but if he is in danger of exceeding the max weight at the gameday weigh-in because of the extra pads, be aware that he is allowed to weigh-in without the extra pads, then put them on so long as it is done at the weigh-in area in the presence of the opposing coaching staff.
Q: Can I modify my son's equipment to help him make game weight, like cut down his knee or hip pads, have him wear lacrosse shoulder pads, etc?
A: No. Any illegal modification to equipment for any reason compromises the players safety and will result in the player being ejected from the game and the players Head Coach being suspended for the season even if the Head Coach was not aware of the situation. So please, don't put your son's safety or your Head Coach at risk.
PLEASE NOTE THE FOLLOWING REMINDERS:
REMINDER: NO SCREW-IN CLEATS IN THUNDER FOOTBALL. ONLY MOLDED PLASTIC OR RUBBER CLEATS ARE ALLOWED.
If a player weighs in wearing screw-in cleats he is NOT allowed to play in the game. If he is caught wearing screw-in cleats during a game he is thrown out of that game and suspended for the next game.
REMINDER: GCAA SPECTATOR CODE OF CONDUCT APPLIES AT ALL THUNDER GAMES, HOME AND AWAY
1 - Support and contribute to the coach's and organization's effort to create an environment in which children and adults have fun with sports.
Encourage all players on the team and the opposition team. Engage in only positive cheering and cheer effort as much as outcome.
2 - Cooperate with efforts to teach the basic skills, rules and strategies of the sport.
Insure that your child is able to attend the majority of practices and games. Become familiar with the basic rules and strategies of the sport and the coach's plan of instruction. Inform the coach of any ongoing scheduling conflicts in advance. Refrain from sideline coaching. Practice with your child and help them identify how they can contribute to their team as well as setting personal goals.
3 - Model appropriate fan behavior and good sportsmanship.
Encourage through positive cheering competitiveness within the bounds of good sportsmanship. Show respect for the officials all the time, especially when you disagree. Acknowledge good plays of the opposition. Treat players of the other teams as members of our community first and as opponents secondarily. Refrain from actions or words that undercut the self-esteem of players on the other teams. Don't make negative comments about the other team as a means of encouraging or cheering for you child's team.
*** SPECIFIC RULES FOR GCAA THUNDER FOOTBALL ***
1) All spectators (even parents with cameras) are required to stay behind the fence or ropes at all times, home and away. Only tagged coaches, chain gang operators or league officials are permitted inside the fence or ropes. THIS IS A SAFETY MATTER - YOUR TEAM WILL BE FINED IF YOU VIOLATE THIS RULE.
2) All spectators are expected to conduct themselves in the appropriate manner at all times and show respect for your Garden City team and its coaches, the opposing teams and coaches, and most of all the referees.
It is a new league rule instituted in 2008 that any spectator (including parents, relatives, etc.) ejected from a field for inappropriate behavior by a referee or a Field Director MUST ALSO REMOVE THE PLAYER THEY ARE SUPPORTING FROM THE FIELD. That player is then punished for their parent's behavior by being suspended for the following game also. If a team does not give the player's name, the league will look into the matter and force the team to forfeit each succeeding game until the player is properly suspended for the following game. This rule may seem unfair, but the rule exists as a result of the negative trend in parent behavior at youth sports events.
Be sure to check this site or your head coaches "Bulletin Board" periodically. Have a Question? Check the "Thunder FAQs"