The season starts the first week of August and could go into the third week of November. Check the calendar as exact dates will vary from year to year.
Pop Warner Football is a BIG time commitment on the part of both players and parents. It will be much different than other recreational sports (soccer, basketball, baseball). The first 2 weeks of the season are considered "conditioning" weeks. Practice can run a maximum of 2 1/2 hours per day and 10 hours per week. In most cases that works out to 5 nights of 2 hour practices per week but coaches are free to be creative within those parameters. After the first 2 weeks, coaches have the option to continue with 10 hours of practice per week but most generally drop down to 2 or 3 2-hour practices per week.
NFL Flag does not require the 10 hours of conditioning but it is still a large commitment compared to other local flag leagues. We will practice two times a week 1 ½ - 2 hours each practice.
What time do the kids practice?
Practices are up to 2 1/2 hours long - typically 2 hours - and commonly run from 6:00pm to 8:00pm with some variance depending on the coach’s schedule
Isn’t it really hot out then?
It sure is! It is imperative that your child drink plenty of water during the football season. This includes the night before practice and during the day before practice. We cannot stress this enough. DRINK WATER!
Where will my child have practices and games?
Practice sites will be located in and around Apex as space permits. We will try to accommodate most practices at Norris Park (910 S. Hughes St., Apex) but that will not always be possible as the program expands. Home games are played at West Lake Middle School and away games could be as close as Cary or as far away as South Johnson County, Sanford, N. Durham, and Wake Forest etc. Parents are responsible for all transportation of their children to and from practices and games.
Is Pop Warner too rough for my child?
Only you and your child can answer this one. Apex Sports Authority makes arrangements to insure that coaches are knowledgeable, well trained individuals with the abilities to teach proper technique and skills and that all equipment is inspected and in condition to provide proper 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.
We also offer fNFL Flag Football to the same age range which often is used to introduce players and parents to the game of football and our organization. Flag practices alongside the tackle teams often and will be around the coaches which can help parents and players make decisions if tackle is right for them.
Are the coaches paid employees of Apex Sports Authority?
NO. They are volunteers who donate their time to help our kids. This entire program, in fact, is run by volunteers who put in a great deal of personal time to make this program available to your children.
Can we sign up now and pay later?
You may register now and pay later. However, due to the nature of this sport, there are a large number of expenses that must be paid before the season even begins. No player will receive equipment or be allowed to practice until payment is made and all necessary forms have been provided.
After I pay my registration fees are there any other fees involved?
Yes. Each ASA member has a commitment to support fund raising activities as established by the ASA Board. Registration fees take care of administrative costs and help in offsetting equipment costs, but they do not begin to cover some of the other expenses associated with this sport. Some of the additional expenses fund raising pays for are:
- Field costs - we do not get the use of the school facilities for free.
- ASA works with the Town of Apex to maintain the fields at all Wake County Schools that we use during the season. This means whatever they need from grass seed to striping, we provide.
- Insurance on each and every player.
- Referee fees for home games
- Year round storage rental fees for equipment. This includes not only the thousands of pieces of football and cheer equipment, but all field equipment as well.
- And, of course, re-certification of equipment and replacement of equipment due to loss, theft and non-return of equipment from players and parents, and normal wear and tear costs. This alone runs thousands of dollars each year.
Fund raising commitments are met by ASA fund raisers, company sponsorships, and/or parent and corporate donations. All families are expected to participate in fund raising and finding sponsors to help donate to your team.
Do we have to buy all the equipment?
NO. ASA provides helmets, shoulder pads, an initial mouthpiece, practice pants, game pants and game jerseys. All equipment must be returned at the end of each season.
ASA provides NFL Flag Jersey’s, shorts, and flags for Flag participants.
What equipment do I need to buy?
Your child will need to get a pair of football cleats and a cup and athletic supporter. We also recommend purchase of practice jersey(s) and a chin strap. Chin straps will be provided but our stock is limited to those that come with the helmets and these are often not as comfortable as others on the market. NFL Flag Football only requires mouth piece and cleats.
How do you select your teams?
In tackle football there are several divisions. These divisions are determined by age and weight. The divisions are Tiny Mite, Might Mite, Jr. Pee Wee, Pee Wee, Jr. Midget and Midget. Details on divisions provided at registration and available on ASA web-site. In the event that ASA is unable to sponsor a team in a given division, ASA will work with players and families to find alternative. In past, we have directed many Midget level players to other Associations as Apex does not traditionally field a Midget team.
NFL Flag Football uses age ranges 5,6 – 7,8,9 – 10,11,12 – 13,14 subject to # of registrations in each group.
Who decides what team my son/daughter will play on?
The ultimate authority rests with the Football Commissioner. Within ASA we have established a Football Committee and that responsibility is sometimes shared with one or more committee members. Our roster formation guidelines are available online here
When will I know what team my child is on?
You will be contacted by your coach after all registration session are completed.
Can I play for the middle school and ASA?
No. Pop Warner rules do not allow for kids to play football on their school team as well as a Pop Warner team.
Do players ever get cut?
No. If a player signs up and comes to practice they will be placed on a team and play in weekly games.
How much will my child play?
All children will play. Coaches will determine what positions each child is best suited for and as a result some will play more plays than others. Every division has a minimum number of plays that each child must play. This is frequently referenced as "the MPR rule". (MPR = Minimum Play Rule)
Why do football coaches yell so much?
Let us answer this way... Imagine if you invited 25 boys over to your home, put pads and helmets on them and told them to hit each other as hard as they can, knock each other down and then do it again, and again... and again, what do you think would happen?
It would be 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 “Let’s 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 how to do it properly so no one gets hurt. This requires a lot of cooperation, teamwork and respect for each other and to this end; coaches will make sure they are heard.
What is Certification Day? Does my child have to be there?
Certification Day will take place shortly before the first game of the season. It is the day that all players are placed on a certified roster for their team. YES.........ALL PLAYERS MUST ATTEND!! On this day, all players have their final weigh-in by Conference or Federation officials to make certain they qualify to play in the division they have been placed in. All paperwork must be presented to league officials to verify each child’s age, weight and identification. This is done to comply with safety regulations. All participants must be checked at Certification.
What if we can’t make it to Certification Day?
Certification is mandatory and at the discretion of our governing Pop Warner body, the Consolidated Football Federation (CFF). It is VERY, VERY IMPORTANT!! If your child does not certify, their name will not appear on the teams’ roster and your child will be ineligible to participate. This is NOT an ASA rule. We have no control over this ruling. If you don’t certify....you don’t play! With that said, the CFF has held make up dates at their convenience, we cannot guarantee that this process will continue.
Can we vacation once practice starts in August?
Attendance is mandatory for all practices. The first two weeks are Pop Warner mandatory conditioning sessions and required before a player can practice with full equipment. When players miss practice it can affect the whole team. Also Pop Warner rules do not allow players to participate in games if they do not meet the minimum number of required practice hours. The short answer is "yes" but there are consequences to missed practice time that should be discussed with your coach prior to your departure. Don't let it be a surprise that your child misses a game if s/he can't get in the required number of practices beforehand.