Inside Pop Warner Magazine (Spring 2018)

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Spring 2018





do this last.

26 Getting the Right Fit 4 Letter from Jon Butler Rebel Athletic 7 Pop Warner Adopts New Rookie 29 A Pink October Tackle Program Raising awareness for breast cancer research 8 American Development Model 34 The Fate of Youth Sports Changing Football

11 Play it Safe

Pop Warner’s dedication to safety

12 The Nation’s Best Football Teams

2017 Pop Warner Super Bowl National Champions

14 Braxton Berrios

2017 Pop Warner College Football Award Recipient

16 The Nation’s Best

Cheer & Dance Teams 2017 Pop Warner National Champions

21 Fun in the Sun Partner Activity at Disney

22 How Fast Can You Go? Dick’s Sporting Goods agility course

24 Q&A with Miss Massachusetts Whitney Sharpe

Why Sports Matter, by The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation

36 Panini Pop Warner Skills Clinic

39 All-American Scholar Weekend

41 How to Throw a Perfect Spiral Coach’s Corner

42 Why is Football Helmet

Reconditioning Important? A look at Riddell’s process

45 Minimizing Field Wear


Practice techniques from SportsTurf

46 Relive the Excitement Photos from Orlando

For Pop Warner info, visit:

48 Pop Warner Super Bowl Uniforms Throughout the Years

© 2018 Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.

LETTER FROM JON BUTLER Later this year we will embark upon our 90th season as a youth football organization. Over that time millions of young people have played Pop Warner football, learned life-long lessons, had fun with their friends and grew up to contribute to the community. In many cases, those young people eventually became coaches. As we prepare for the many great moments that lie ahead this year I wanted to take a moment to thank all of the coaches, volunteers and parents who have made Pop Warner Little Scholars such an integral part of so many communities across the country. Your sacrifice, loyalty and energy are appreciated. tackle football. Maryland recently rejected a bill but other proposals in New York, Illinois and California are just the start. We expect more will follow. We welcome any sincere effort to advance safer play in sports but we do not agree that banning tackle football is the answer. As we have long said, choosing which sport their child can play is a parent’s decision, not ours and not the government’s. Instead of legislation outlawing a sport we believe the answer can be seen in the series of heralded rule changes and safety protocols we have implemented since 2010, all of which were guided by an independent medical advisory committee of neurosurgeons, sports medicine professionals and medical researchers. Despite your great work and the many efforts we’ve undergone to make the game safer and better there are those who want to ban the sport for our young people. Proposals by legislators in several states aim to outlaw young people from playing

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Because we believe it’s up to the families and their children to decide what’s best for them, Pop Warner offers the option of tackle or flag football, and we are working closely with partners like USA Football on even more options aimed at improving safer play and opening doors to play

this wonderful sport. Millions of young people have played Pop Warner football for nearly 90 years and benefited from the experience. Outlawing that benefit for future generations would be misguided. Pop Warner football will continue to thrive because of people like you. We ask you to remind your elected officials that you are in a better position than they are to determine which sport your child will play, and you will continue to work with Pop Warner to ensure we do everything possible to make the game safer today than ever. Again, thank you for being part of our proud Pop Warner family.

Jon Butler

Executive Director Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.

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POP WARNER: A VETERAN IN ROOKIE TACKLE With a successful season under our belt, Pop Warner is ready to expand participation in USA Football’s Rookie Tackle approach this coming season. With fewer players on a smaller field, it is the bridge to help players transition from

Flag to regulation tackle football. It was first piloted by Hill Country Pop Warner in Austin, Texas last year. As a key element in the USA Football American Development Model, Rookie Tackle was created to introduce tackle football to younger players. With 6v6, 7v7 or 8v8, teams field smaller rosters and the players rotate through every position during the game. “The excitement of the experience was resounding, not just for the kids but for the entire team, the coaches, the parents and community,” said Hill Country Pop Warner, Janan Miller. “We know this is the future of football and we’re more than happy to be part of it.” “We were looking for a way to introduce kids to tackle football but we wanted something that was a little more

simplified, more streamlined and easier for parents and their kids to understand,” said Hill Country Vice President Cuatro Gross. “We wanted something where they could play the game the safest way possible and have as much fun as possible but not be overwhelmed by the size of the field.” All Pop Warner programs are encouraged to explore adopting a Rookie Tackle division. INSIDE Pop Warner / 7

Pop Warner to Implement

USA FOOTBALL AMERICAN DEVELOPMENT MODEL after Rookie Tackle Debut by Brent Glasgow, Pop Warner Little Scholars announced in March that it will implement USA Football's American Development Model (ADM), crafted to provide numerous entry points for young athletes into the sport. Supported by the U.S. Olympic Committee, the ADM for football includes flag; Rookie Tackle, a smallsided, modified version of the sport; and 11-player tackle. “The USA Football ADM will allow kids to experience the sport at their own pace and it will help us with the development of both players and coaches,” Pop Warner Executive Director Jon Butler said.

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Added USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck, “We strongly believe in football’s American Development Model to offer a smart progression, empowering parents and players with multiple entry points and options to choose from. I applaud Pop Warner’s decision to encourage its leagues to make this pathway part of their program.” Every Pop Warner organization nationwide may choose to put football’s ADM into practice this fall. The process will begin with messaging to parents, coaches and players about the philosophy of ADM and its role in improving the game.

"We will make all three game experiences available to every Pop Warner program, which is something we’re quite comfortable with since we already offer both flag and tackle,” Butler said. “In fact, this past season we piloted USA Football’s Rookie Tackle program at one of our leagues in Austin, Texas – Hill Country Pop Warner – and received a very favorable response.” Rookie Tackle is designed as a bridge between flag football and 11-on-11 tackle

Photo courtesy of Hill Country Pop Warner

The American football. Its modifications include a 40-yard field and having players rotate through several positions. Hill Country Pop Warner Vice President Cuatro Gross was pleased with how Rookie Tackle benefitted his program’s athletes last fall, advancing their physical literacy and adding to the fun of the sport. “The smaller field gives every child a greater opportunity to be involved on a play,” said Gross. “What I didn’t expect was just how much they improved with their blocking and tackling abilities. I realized with a full field, it’s just a race to the sideline, and there aren’t enough quality reps for every kid to really learn. My kids at the end of the season were probably more fundamentally sound than those playing in the level above them.”

“The feedback was just overwhelming. Rotating the players was vital to what the kids got out of it,” added Hill Country Pop Warner President Janan Miller. “It gives them a better understanding and appreciation for all positions. They learn what each job entails, how they work together and it’s a lot of fun.” The fun factor is why Miller and Gross anticipate significant growth in the league's ADM participation in Year 2. For Hill Country, there's no better advertising than word of mouth. "If you can make it so each kid loves it and wants to come back, they can’t help but tell their friends about it," Gross said.

Development Model, created by the United States Olympic Committee and first introduced by USA Hockey, serves as a framework for long-term athlete development. USA Football will use a similar

blueprint to develop a new pathway for youth players and coaches. The ADM joins Heads Up Football in USA Football’s ongoing commitment to advancing the sport for millions of young athletes across our nation.

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COACH RESOURCES Push your performance and enhance your organization YOUR PARTNER IN…  Practice Planning and Guidelines  Continuing Education  Drill Strategies

 Insurance and Certifications Become a better coach with the help of USA Football.

NEW FOR 2018… ROOKIE TACKLE! Rookie Tackle is a new initiative that adds more entry points into the game for young athletes. Working as a bridge between flag and 11-player-tackle, Rookie Tackle is now available for leagues to start offering in their programs. Learn more at 10 / INSIDE Visit Pop Warner

to learn more about the resources available.

PLAYING IT SAFE Pop Warner continues to be recognized for its dedication safety There’s no doubt that Pop Warner football is safer today than at any point in its nearly 90 year history, thanks to mandated coaching education, greater awareness of concussions, a changed culture inside the sport and the sport’s most stringent player safety rules.

Together with the thousands of coaches and players who have taken the call for enhanced safety seriously Pop Warner is improving the youth football experience, while retaining what makes our sport so special.

Pop Warner Safety Initiatives since 2010 • Starting this year Pop Warner will offer USA Football’s American Development Model (ADM) to our leagues nationwide. USA Football’s ADM offers a variety of entry points and options, empowering parents and young athletes to choose the best version of the sport for them: flag, Rookie Tackle or 11 player tackle. Last year, Hill Country Pop Warner in Texas participated in USA Football’s Rookie Tackle pilot, a small-sided, modified version of the sport designed to bridge flag and tackle • In 2016, Pop Warner became the first national football organization to eliminate kickoffs. The ban was aimed at significantly reducing the amount of fullspeed, head-on impact in games. Instead of kicking it off, the ball will be placed at the 35-yard line to start each half and after each score in all Tiny Mite (5- to 7-years-old), Mitey Mite (7-9) and Junior Pee Wee (8-10) games.

• In 2016, Pop Warner reduced contact to 25% of practice across all divisions. It had previously limited it to 33% of practice time in 2012. • In an effort to help change the culture and deliver an important message of safety to parents, coaches and the public, Pop Warner produced a PSA in 2016, featuring actor Alec Baldwin. • Pop Warner coaches are mandated to train in USA Football’s Heads Up Football program, where safer approaches to tackling and blocking are taught. Pop Warner started its partnership with Heads Up Football in 2013. • In 2012, Pop Warner banned fullspeed head-on, blocking or tackling drills where players lined up more than 3 yards apart.

• In 2010, Pop Warner implemented the first youth sport concussion policy. Under the policy, any participant removed from practice, play or competition due to a head injury or suspected concussion may not return to Pop Warner activities until he or she is evaluated – and receives written clearance – by a licensed medical professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions. • To ensure that Pop Warner stays on the forefront of health and safety issues and any medical developments that may affect our young athletes, Pop Warner formed an independent Medical Advisory Committee in 2010. Led by neurosurgeons, researchers, pediatricians and sports medicine professionals, the committee is focused on the prevention, proper identification and treatment of concussions; hydration awareness and proper nutrition guidelines; and general health and safety issues. INSIDE Pop Warner / 11

The nation’s best youth football, cheer and dance teams

once again descended upon Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex™ in December to compete for national championships during the 61st annual Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships. The Pop Warner Super Bowl is divided into 64 teams competing for National Championships in two divisions. The teams that advanced to the Pop Warner Super Bowl won their respective League Championship and their Regional Championship. Each team was guaranteed to play two games at the Super Bowl, with a National Champion being crowned in each age-weight division and competition level.

2017 Pop Warner Super Bowl National Champions: Division 2 Jr. Pee Wee: Waianae Tigers (HI) Waianae Tigers 16, Creeks Outlaws 8 Division 2 Pee Wee: Palm Beach Gardens Gators (FL) Palm Beach Gardens Gators 20, Point Loma Pointers 14 Division 2 Jr. Varsity: Westchase Colts (FL) Westchase Colts 28, West Haven Seahawks 0 Unlimited Division: Co-Champions Ocoee Bulldogs (FL) & Bergen County Stars (NJ) Division 1 Jr. Pee Wee: Virginia Beach Mustangs (VA) Virginia Beach Mustangs 25, Florida City Razorbacks 14 Division 1 Pee Wee: Palmetto Raiders (FL) Palmetto Raiders 20, Virginia Beach Mustangs 14 Division 1 Jr. Varsity: North Philly Aztecs (PA) North Philly Aztecs 28, North Raleigh Bulldogs 0 Division 1 Varsity: Northwest Raiders (PA) Northwest Raiders 33, Pompano Beach Chiefs 12

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OTHER FOOTBALL HIGHLIGHTS DURING THE WEEK INCLUDE: •E xhibition of USA Football’s 2017 Rookie Tackle pilot program, featuring teams from Hill Country Pop Warner in Austin, Texas. A bridge game between flag football and 11-player tackle, Rookie Tackle is designed to introduce young athletes to tackle football. •W e presented the 7th Annual Pop Warner Little Scholars College Football Award to a college player who excels on the field, in the classroom and in the community. This year’s winner was Braxton Berrios from University of Miami. •D ivision III teams and International teams played in exhibition games. •M itey-Mite Bowl games, featuring 16 teams whose players are 7-9 years old / 45-100 lbs. INSIDE Pop Warner / 13


BRAXTON BERRIOS WINS 2017 POP WARNER COLLEGE FOOTBALL AWARD Not only was Braxton Berrios the Hurricanes’ team captain and leading receiver, he also excelled academically with a double major and 3.96 GPA. His excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community is why he was honored with the 2017 Pop Warner Little Scholars College Football Award during the 61st Annual Pop Warner Super Bowl at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. For Berrios, returning to Disney to accept the award was a welcomed reminder of one of his favorite memories as a football player - when he won the Pop Warner Super Bowl with Capital City Steelers as a fifth grader. While he excelled with the ‘Canes on the field, he was even more impressive in the classroom. He was a two-time Academic All-District, an Academic All-ACC selection, and he even graduated early. He also won ACC’s 2017 Jim Tatum Award, which goes to the conference’s top scholar athlete, 14 / INSIDE Pop Warner

and was a finalist for the Campbell Trophy, which is considered the academic Heisman. A Dean’s List member every semester of his college career, Berrios earned President’s List honors three times and was named to the Provost’s Honor Roll seven times. An active participant in his community, Berrios participated in the football team’s annual bone marrow drive and has visited patients in a number of hospitals. “We’re proud to honor Braxton, a former Pop Warner champion, who has exhibited excellence on the field, in the classroom and in the community,” said Jon Butler, Executive Director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “As the only national youth sports organization that requires its athletes to also perform in the classroom, we value studentathletes at the collegiate level who continue to represent those ideals. Braxton is an exceptional model for our young people on how to balance sports, school and citizenship.”

“This is full-circle for me because I grew up playing Pop Warner football. My team, the Capital City Steelers, won a national championship and then came in second place nationally the year after.” said Berrios. “This organization helped me set my WINS 2017 POP WARNER COLLEGE FOOTBALL AWARD foundation of football that I have been building on ever since. I’m extremely thankful for Pop Warner, and for this award.” The Pop Warner College Football Award, established in 2010, recognizes a senior who has made a difference on the field, in the classroom and in his community, and who serves as a role model to Pop Warner’s young student athletes. Last year’s winner was former Ole Miss and current New York Giants TE Evan Engram. Last year’s finalists included Stanford OL David Bright, Auburn K Daniel Carlson, Wake Forest DE Wendell Dunn, Virginia LB Micah Kiser and Notre Dame LB Drue Tranquill.

When your family is protected, we all win. At Nationwide®, our number one goal is being there for our members. That’s why we have your back when it comes to protecting what’s most important, like: The car you drive your athletes in to every practice The RV you use for that weekend tournament Join us as we team up with Pop Warner to promote youth safety, especially the importance of concussion awareness and teen driving.

To learn more about a special discount for Pop Warner members and to get information about youth safety, visit or call 1-888-231-3614.

Nationwide Insurance has made a financial contribution to this organization in return for the opportunity to market products and services to its members or customers. Products underwritten by Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Affiliated Companies. Home Office: Columbus, OH 43215. Subject to underwriting guidelines, review, and approval. Products and discounts not available to all persons in all states. Nationwide and the Nationwide N and Eagle are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company. © 2018 Nationwide AFR-0261AO.2 (02/16) 7143287


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Pop Warner Celebrated 30th Anniversary National Cheer & Dance Championships What was once comprised of just a few hours and a handful of national champions has blossomed into a six-day, 450+ team event showcasing the best-of-the-best in youth cheerleading and dance. Teams have traveled from all over the world to compete in the nation’s premier youth cheer & dance championship. Pop Warner teams from Hawaii also routinely make the annual trip for the opportunity to be crowned a Pop Warner National Champion. What will it look like in another 30 years? The possibilities are endless.

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CELEBRATING 30 YEARS More than 400 teams from across the nation competed in the 30th Pop Warner National Cheer & Dance Championships inside the HP Field House at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The teams competed across seven YCADA Divisions (PW 1, PW 2, PW 3, PW4, Pom Performance and Theme Dance), and five age divisions: Jr. Peewee, Peewee, Jr. Varsity, Varsity and Bantam. They are further divided by team size: • Small Teams: 6-12 cheerleaders • Medium Teams: 13-24 cheerleaders • Large Teams: 25-35 cheerleaders Like their football counterparts playing in the Super Bowl, the road isn’t easy for a cheerleading or dance team looking to make it to the national championships. Getting to Disney World for a spirit team means going up against some stiff competition at the league championship. The top two teams in each 18 / INSIDE Pop Warner

division advance to the regional championships where the competition gets even tougher. Only the region’s top two teams in their respective divisions are invited to perform at Disney.

Congratulations to all who made it this far and a special SHOUT OUT to the 2017 National Champions: PW 1 Bantam • Kensington Raiders (Small) • Riviera Beach Chargers (Medium) Varsity • Franklin Warriors (Small) • Rensselaer Rams (Medium) • North Philadelphia Aztecs (Large) Jr Varsity • Everett Crimson Tide (Small) • Temecula Valley Bears (Medium) • Piscataway Braves (Large) Pee Wee • Montgomery Wildcats (Small) • Derby Red Raiders (Medium) • North Port Mustangs (Large) Jr Pee Wee • Derby Red Raiders 88.84 (Small) • Dracut Middies (Medium) • Plainfield Lady Cardinals (Large)

Jr Varsity • Taunton Tigers (Small) • Kekaha Titans (Medium) • Flemington Falcons (Large) Pee Wee • Estero Mustangs (Small) • Monroe Wolverines (Medium) • North Rockland Red Raiders (Large) Jr Pee Wee • Metuchen Bulldogs (Small) • Burlington Patriots (Medium)

PW 4 Bantam • Metuchen Bulldogs (Medium) Varsity • Palm Harbor Panthers (Small) • Roger Bacon Academy Vikings (Large) Jr Varsity • Derby Red Raiders (Small) • Burlington Patriots (Large)

Pee Wee COED • South Pasco Predators (Medium)

Jr Pee Wee • R oger Bacon Academy Vikings Silver Flame (Medium)

PW 2


Bantam • Deltona Panthers (Small) •R oger Bacon Academy Vikings White Lightning (Medium) • Edgewood Eagles (Large)

Varsity • Ft. Myers Blaze

Varsity • Arlington Spy Ponders (Small) • Valrico Rams (Medium) • Attleboro White Hawks (Large)

Pee Wee • Monmouth Falcons

Junior Varsity COED • Topsail Jr. Pirates (Medium)

Jr Varsity • Monmouth Falcons

Jr Pee Wee • Monmouth Falcons


Jr Varsity • Hoffman Estates Redhawks (Small) • Woodbridge North Broncos 91.68 (Medium) • Naples Bears (Large) Pee Wee • Taunton Tigers (Small) • Monroe Wolverines (Medium) • Orangetown Patriots (Large)

Bantam • East Orange Jr. Jaguars

Pee Wee COED • New Britain Raiders (Medium)

Pee Wee • Grand Park Vikings

Jr Pee Wee • Saddleback Valley Bears (Small) • Twin Cities Wolverines 89.76 (Medium) • Bridgewater Raritan Panthers (Large)

Jr Pee Wee • Liberty City Warriors

PW 3 Bantam • West Elmwood Intruders (Small) • Palm Harbor Panthers (Medium) Varsity • North Rockland Red Raiders (Small) • Sayreville Jr. Bombers (Medium) •B ridgewater Raritan Panthers – 92.12 (Large)

Varsity • Richmond Perrine Giants Jr Varsity • Rochester Rams

Hip hop Varsity • Ft. Myers Blaze Jr Varsity • East Orange Jr. Jaguars Pee Wee • South Central Tigers Jr Pee Wee • Rochester Rams INSIDE Pop Warner / 19

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Thanks to our partners, the Pop Warner family was able to have some fun at Disney World for the 2017 Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships. Rebel Athletic, Panini, Gatorade, and Riddell, as well as Dick's Sporting Goods, were among our partners with engagement and experiences during the week.

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Dick's Sporting Goods brought an agility course to this year's Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer & Dance Championships. After you hustle through this football-inspired course you get see your elapsed time. That stopwatch kept kids coming back again and again to try and beat their best time. 22 / INSIDE Pop Warner

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How did you get involved with Pop Warner? In the third grade, all of my friends were on the E team in Burlington where we grew up. I remember being at recess and feeling so left out because they were always practicing their tumbling and cheers. I even wanted the same cheer sneakers they wore to school! I knew I would be a great flier because of my flexibility and size, but I just couldn’t make my mom sign me up. But after a year of begging my mom (and the other moms convincing her too) she let me sign up for D team the following year! Those girls who taught me their cheers and stunts during recess are still my best friends to this day.



What was your most memorable experience? In 2006, my D team won Nationals! There was no better feeling than that moment. I remember walking around Disney with our Gold Medals feeling so proud to be Burlington cheerleaders. We were fortunate to make it to Nationals every year I cheered in Pop Warner, but the 2006 trip was the sweetest coming home with the big trophy. I remember my brother Chris who is only a year behind me always being so jealous because his Pop Warner Football teams never made it!

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top left: Burlington, Massachusetts Pop Warner middle right (opposite page): 2006 Champions lower right (opposite page): Helping the next generation

Did your cheer background help at all with your pageant training? Pop Warner taught me discipline from the very first practice running up and down the hills at the field. It’s something that I learned very early on because of this organization and I still carry it with me in life today. Training for Miss USA was a lot like preparing for Nationals, with it all coming down to about three minutes in front of the judges. Pop Warner taught me that everyone is going to have a bad day now and then, but it’s how you bounce back and remain positive that will make you succeed. Coming in 5th place my first year at Nationals made us work that much harder to come back and win the following year. I’m now an Account Manager with the third largest staffing services organization, Insight Global, and could not have been promoted to my current role without the discipline and determination that was instilled in me through Burlington Pop Warner. Do you still remember any of the cheers you learned? I think I could recite all of the cheers (with motions and all)! I went on to cheer competitively at East Celebrity Elite, but was a junior coach for BPW on the days I could. Last year I got to visit all of the BPW teams while I was Miss Massachusetts USA, and it was just like being tossed back in to those incredible childhood memories. A close family friend of mine is still a Burlington Pop Warner cheerleader, and I’m always getting pictures and videos of the latest cheers and tumbling moves!

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Getting the

RIGHT FIT The Science Behind Pop Warner’s Official Cheer and Dance Uniform Supplier’s Superior Youth Fit.

by Joanna Boucher, Rebel Athletic Tech Coordinator

Children have different fit needs than teens and adults. As any parent can attest, their bodies grow at different rates and proportions. Because of this, Rebel Athletic’s youth sizes are not scaled-down from adult patterns, but redesigned specifically for children’s bodies.

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Modern, Luxury Fabrics AthleticFlex™ and Silhouette Stretch Poly™, the two proprietary fabrics Rebel uses in the creation of their uniforms, are among the greatest assets of their youth fabrications. Together, these soft, comfortable fabrics provide great longevity and durability, without the scratchy feeling of the school uniforms of the past! Their natural four-way-stretch fits close to the body for ease of movement and a flattering line, but allows room for growth and breathability.

Style I was a fussy kid when it came to how clothes felt, so when I test new styles I’m always considerate of the sensory needs of children. Rebel tests all new styles on live models; I ask them to tell me how it feels, and whether it’s easy to pull on and off – especially for tops and anything that goes over their heads. Children also have different shapes than adults, so we ensure that our styles fit to cover their bodies when they’re tumbling, stunting and spiriting.

Scaled Sizing The Rebel youth line is unique because of how small the jumps are between sizes, meaning Rebel can fit more kids into uniforms that are as close to their size as possible – while allowing room for growth. The AthleticFlex™ backs – standard on every school uniform – also provide greater fit options with their flexibility and comfort. This scientific approach to superior fit is just one way Rebel provides a “#RebelLevel” experience to all those they touch in the Pop Warner organization. Visit for more information.

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A PINK OCTOBER Each October, Pop Warner teams nationwide participate in a Pop Warner Pink Games Team of the Week contest. This special program is a great way for local organizations to raise awareness for breast cancer research. You can see all the photos across social media using the hashtag #PopWarnerPink. For more information on the contest, please check out PinkGamesPhotoContest.

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youth sports


WRONG DIRECTION Billions of dollars in funding have been cut from youth sports programs in recent years, leaving millions of students unable to play (source: Up2UsSports). The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation created the Sports Matter program because they believe that sports make people better. Sports build character, increase confidence, and motivate kids to stay in school and aim for higher

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education. Since 2014, The Foundation, together with DICK’S Sporting Goods, has pledged over $50 million to give children the opportunity to play and to raise awareness of the issue. In 2017, over 15,000 teams were supported through The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation, DICK’S Sporting Goods’ Community Marketing efforts, DonorsChoose and Monday Night Football grants.

DICK’S Sporting Goods has a longstanding commitment to supporting sports within the communities they serve. DICK’S has never wavered from the belief that sports make people better. Unfortunately, billions in funding have been cut in youth sports budgets and many kids can’t afford to play. DICK’S is committed to changing that trajectory. DICK’S and The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation are working together to combat the funding crisis and raise public awareness to highlight the positive impact school and community sports programs have on kids. Since 2014, they have collectively committed over $50 million to keep kids playing sports and to raise awareness of the issue through their Sports Matter initiative. To date, they have helped save thousands of youth sports teams and have given hundreds of thousands of youth athletes the chance to play.

DICK’S has produced two documentaries in the past three years focused on this subject, We Could Be King and Keepers of the Game. We Could Be King won a Sports Emmy in 2015 and Keepers of the Game won a Bronze Lion at Cannes Lions International Festival in 2017. They strongly encourage all sport stakeholders to watch these documentaries. DICK’S believes in the power these documentaries have to show the impact sports have on kids’ lives and hope they inspire others to help save youth sports. In addition to the commitment to youth sports through the Sports Matter initiative, the Company has also created a new division in DICK’S Team Sports HQ to further their mission of inspiring, supporting and equipping the youth sports communities and partners with youth sports organizations like Pop

Warner Little Scholars. DICK’S Team Sports HQ offers a comprehensive range of services including technology solutions like online registration, league websites, data management, risk management, and mobile apps for scheduling, communication, and live scorekeeping; team gear such as uniforms and equipment, fan wear, and financial support through access to donations, sponsorships, and sports leagues discount programs. The services are designed to make youth sports easy and available for as many players and parents as possible. All because DICK’S believes that sports make people better. Learn more at DICKS.COM/TSHQ For more information about The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation, visit SportsMatter.Org

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Juju Smith-Schuster

Pop Warner Kids Meet Top NFL Stars, Future Stars at 2018 Panini Pop Warner Skills Clinic Panini hosted its 11th Annual Panini Pop Warner Skills Clinic as part of the NFL Super Bowl LII festivities in Minneapolis this year. More than 100 players from area Pop Warner programs were treated to expert coaching — and memories of a lifetime — thanks to NFL stars David Johnson of the Arizona

Patrick Mahomes II 36 / INSIDE Pop Warner

Cardinals, JuJu Smith-Schuster of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Patrick Mahomes II of the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as Cleveland Browns 2018 No. 1 NFL Draft pick Baker Mayfield and Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2018 draft pick Ronald Jones II.

David Johnson

Baker Mayfield


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Memorial Day Weekend at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.


AROUND THE CORNER Nearly 6,000 scholar-athletes are being recognized for their hard work in the classroom and the community this year. Being named an All-America Scholar means you’re among the top 2% of all Pop Warner participants across the country. All of these scholar-athletes are invited to attend the annual All-American Scholar gala Memorial Day Weekend at Disney World in Orlando, Fla. Pop Warner is the only national youth sports organization in America that requires its participants to perform adequately in the classroom before permitting them to play. That’s because we believe the standards we set give our young people a sense of responsibility and an appreciation for academics and athletics that will help them develop later on in life. Since 1993, over $1.5 million in college scholarships have been awarded.

Click here for more information on Pop Warner’s Scholastics program.

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proper grip. Grip Everything starts with the r knuckles arched it wit h you r fingers, wit h you bal l. Depend ing slightly off the sur face of the ce you r ring finger and on the size of you r hands, pla mb should be on the pin kie on the laces. You r thu opposite side of the bal l.


Step toward your target, bringing your weight onto your lead foot. As you step, pivot yo ur hips and shou so th at your ches lders t open s towards the ta rget .


Keep the ba ll and your elbow abov shoulder. B e your eside protec ti ng the foo from gett in tb a ll g sw iped or sw defen sive p atted by a layer, a h igh elbow a lso c st ra in on yo reates less u r a rm .

g a perfect e key to throwin Snap the ball. Th wrist re to snap your spiral is to be su At the end of lease the ball. down as you re pointi ng dow n um b shou ld be th ur yo , w ro th follow th rough. your su ri ng a proper en p, hi ur yo ds towar


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IMPORTANT? By Brent Glasgow, USA Football

On the gridiron, safety is paramount, and football helmets need proper reconditioning for optimal performance. While teams must recondition their helmets every other year, industry leader Riddell recommends annual service. “Throughout the course of a season, helmets endure the rigors of football – practice, games, heat, sweat, scratches, lockers and damage to decals. To ensure proper safety, it’s important that helmets are inspected and tested in multiple ways, multiple 42 / INSIDE Pop Warner

times, including air liner tests and meticulous shell inspections,” Riddell Vice President of Sales Kyle Borland said. “Annual maintenance prolongs the effective life of the equipment, advances player protection, stabilizes budgets and can reduce athletic program costs in the long run. Annual reconditioning ensures that every athlete is issued clean, sanitized, inspected, repaired and recertified equipment.”

Fees vary, based on the condition of each helmet. “Reconditioning costs are determined based on individual helmet assessment by Riddell staff to determine need for replacement parts, painting, cleaning, and re-certifying,” Borland said. “Typically for individuals reconditioning their helmets, they’re anywhere from $60 to $100. Whole team

reconditioning can differ, but average cost per helmet is around $40 to $50 and can be less for entry-level youth helmets.” Whether in person or via mail, Riddell strives to make the process easy for teams and leagues. “Riddell representatives will work directly with customers on drop-off and pickups,”

Borland said. “However, some customers, based on location, make it difficult for direct pickups. In those cases, equipment can also be sent directly to their designated reconditioning location.” For more information on helmet reconditioning, visit Riddell’s website.

So how are helmets reconditioned? Here’s a look at Riddell’s process: CLICK TO WATCH VIDEOS

STEP ONE After helmets are received, interior parts are tested and face masks removed.

STEP TWO Next, decals are removed and paint sanded off. Interior parts are checked and tested, then helmets are cleaned and sanitized by hot pressurized water and detergent, rinsed and dried.

STEP THREE Helmets are then hand-inspected for hairline cracks and other defects.

STEP FOUR For painted helmets, new paint is applied. Paint color changes can also be made at this time.

STEP FIVE Lastly, warnings, other labels and the recertification seal are applied; face masks and hardware are reattached; and helmets are returned reconditioned and re-certified - ready for next season!

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*This statement has not been not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent andy disease.

Football Practice Techniques that Help to Minimize Field Wear Two conditions that cause the most hazardous and unsafe playing conditions on your football field are wear and overuse. As leaders in field maintenance, the Sports Turf Managers Association provide some basic techniques to help move player activity around the field for more even wear as well as some techniques on improving playing conditions.

Practice Tips

• • • • • • • •

Change daily the location of practices on the field. Use a rotation pattern laid out inAREA 4 quadrants. HEAVILY WORN Use a portable goal and move it around the field, thus limiting wear in the area of the mounted goal posts. Have players do their individual warm-ups off the field. Execute team drills outside of the painted numbers. Move off of the 20-yard line and start practice plays on the 25- or 30-yard line. Create two practice fields perpendicular to each other, outlining each in a brightly-colored field paint. Alternate positions for repetitive, high traffic drills, allowing heavily worn areas of the field to recover.

To produce safe, playable conditions throughout the football season, a field maintenance program must be implemented all year long.

Following are a few strategies to help keep conditions playable as the season progresses:

• Spread seed in wear areas before games and practices.

• As the season goes on, let the grass grow longer. The longer grass will help protect the crowns of the plants from the player’s cleats and allow for more grass mass for the players’ safety

• If you only have funds to fertilize your field once or twice, then fertilize the field in July/August and September/October. It is wise to fertilize the fields leading up to and in the first month of the playing season to help promote new growth during the activity period.

• When making plant protectant applications of any type, be sure to explicitly follow the label instructions on the application rates, timing, efficacy period, etc. The Sports Turf Managers Associations is a great resource for safer fields and can help youth sports associations create customized sports turf maintenance programs. For more information, please visit INSIDE Pop Warner / 45

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Each year at the Pop Warner Super Bowl, the Junior Varsity division wears custom Pop Warner uniforms for its championship game, aired live on an ESPN network. Here we take a look back at the last five years of uniforms.

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Your Team, Your Tumbler.

Show your team spirit with custom drinkware! Great for:

Concession Stands Gifts Fundraising Team Parties Promotions

Preferred fundraiser of

Get a free design at:

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Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.