Hopkinton Ashland AYF: FAQ


Fightin' Irish Football

American Youth Football Program 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is American Youth Football Like Pop Warner? American Youth Football (AYF) is the largest youth football organization in the U.S.  A National Youth Partner of the NFL, AYF provides support services, academic scholarships, grants, "Giving Back" programs and tournaments to more than 500,000 youth members. AYF is the only youth football program with members in all 50 states and several countries worldwide. AYF is committed to Giving Back and has donated more than $14 million dollars in grants and product to communities that support youth football. 

Although AYF and PW share many similarities like national & regional rules to ensure safety and proper conduct, awards to recognize academic achievement and extensive program information through www.myayf.com, AYF offers all-inclusive football and cheer divisions to every team and league.  This enables every child a place to play and because you’re playing with your grade and not with athletes as much as three years older, it’s a much more level playing field.

Who is eligible to participate? All children are welcome to participate in our football program, provided they meet the following basic criteria:

·         Are a resident of Hopkinton , Ashland or unaffilated town and are in 2nd through 8th grade for the 2014/2015 School Year.

What is required for a child to participate? Each player must provide by July 1st the following information to participate for the 2014 season:

·         Payment

·         Completed Registration Form

·         Birth Certificate with raised seal (no copies or Hospital certificates)

·         Signed Liability Release/Parental Consent Form (available at the registration & fitting night)

·         Doctor’s Consent form or a physical exam dated between 1/1/2014 and 6/2/2014. Those who have exams scheduled after June 2 MUST use the Doctor's Consent form.  You do not need to make an appointment to get this form signed.

·         Football Player code of Conduct

·         Parent Code of Conduct

·         Copy of Year end 2013-2014 Report Card (to be turned in by July 1st)   

Why do you hold registration events in March and June? Registration begins in February so, that we are able to get an idea of how many teams we should plan on.  When people register at this time, we have a commitment that we can work with.  Having a March registration also helps communicate to parents that they should begin collecting their paperwork for the June equipment fitting.  We hold the June registration event primarily to collect the paperwork needed to certify a participant, measure for equipment and provide an opportunity for participants to order practice apparel.   

Why do you ask for all this paperwork and have strict deadlines?  The paperwork requirements are determined by American Youth Football.  The general form in which it is requested comes from their definition.  We ask that paperwork be turned in by the deadlines because the task of organizing all of this paperwork takes an enormous amount of time.  Also, it lessens the time available to ensure players are eligible to receive equipment, begin practice and meet the Central Mass deadline for certification.  Ideally, it should be completed the first week in July if everyone adheres to the deadlines set.

What team will my child be assigned to? Football players are placed on teams according to age, grade and needs of the program. Team placement is not determined until registration has been completed.  Number of players registered dictates number of teams.  Unfortunately, we cannot entertain any request for specific team or coach placements.  

What are the registration fees? The registration fee for the 2013 season is $250.00 per player, with an early registration discount of $25 per family.  Scholarships and payment plans are available to those who present a hardship case to the Director of Parks and Recreation.     

Early Sign Up Discount: Registrations before the 1st May will receive a discount of $25 per player.

What are the volunteer opportunities? Football is an expensive and volunteer intensive program.   We need every parent to contribute if we are going to continue to provide a quality program and keep registration fees affordable.   Every parent will be given assignments for sideline duties and/or the concession stand.  You will see board members as well as coach’s families helping out on these days as well.  We cannot fill every position needed during games without everyone's participation. PLEASE help us out when asked.  The Parks and Recreation Department and HAAYF advisory group work all year round to bring you a quality program.  They are volunteering hundreds of hours of their time for your kids – we are asking for a little of your valuable time in return.  It is also a great way to get to know the parents of your child's teammates.  We have a great community.  Additionally, you do your children a great service by making sure they get to practices and games on time, and with the right equipment/uniform.  

When does the Youth Football season begin and end? For the 2014 season, practice will begin on August 4th. The regular season will begin either the last weekend in August or Labor Day weekend running through the last Sunday in October or first Sunday in November. If a football team qualifies for post season activities, the football games at the Conference and Region level are held in late October through November. Practice in August is traditionally Monday-Thursday from 5:30 – 8:00 PM and when school starts it drops to two days a week from 5:30 to 7:00 PM.

What if we plan to be away in August? Unfortunately, this could be a challenge for your participant! Pre-season practice is extremely important. If your child will be unable to attend these practices, we expect the parent to make their player aware that they could potentially be behind. Football is a complex game requiring solid fundamental skills as well as a high degree of teamwork and conditioning.  Players who do not attend these sessions may find it a challenge to catch up both mentally and physically. In the past, football families have had to reconsider their summer vacation plans, so please think about this before you register your child.  

What is the Registration Fee Refund Policy? As a general policy, 100 % of the registration fee (less the $7.35 transaction fee) will be returned prior to July 1st, 75% of the registration fee (less the $7.35 transaction fee) will be returned prior to the league Jamboree and 50% of the fee (less the $7.35 transaction fee) will be returned prior to the season's start.   Registration fees will be returned if we are unable to roster a child on a team. Situations where this may occur may include but are not limited to: Child being on a waitlist or age guidelines are not met. Any request to deviate from this policy will need to be considered and approved by the Director of Parks and Recreation.

What Equipment is issued by Hopkinton Parks & Recreation? Unlike nearly every other sport and even football leagues from several other towns, Hopkinton Ashland AYF, at great cost, provide the bulk of the protective equipment for our athletes.  As a football player you will be loaned the following: 

·         Football Helmet with chin strap

·         Shoulder pads

·         Home and Away Game Jersey’s

·         Game pants

·         Knee pad pair set   

What will need to be purchased by the athlete? As a football player you will need to purchase the following personal items:  Girdle shell (3, 5, or 6 pockets depending on your preference),    Protective cup, Athletic supporter if necessary,  Football specific cleats,  Football  practice jersey and pants