Jersey City Gators: FAQ's

Wednesday, May 1


When does practice start?
Pop Warner practices begin the first week of August. This is needed to allow teams roughly four weeks of practice before their first game. The first practices will consist of conditioning drills. For these practices, players wear shorts, t-shirts, helmets, and cleats. Contact practices in full pads will begin shortly after. Cheerleaders will attend practice in the required practice attire.

Is practice mandatory in August? Yes, practice is mandatory in August. Please notify the coach if you will be away on vacation so they can plan appropriately. Attendance is CRUCIAL to a successful and FUN season.

Where will practice be held and how many practices are there per week?
In August teams will practice 5 times weekly for 2 hours daily. Once school starts and games begin, practices reduce to 4 times per week. Practices will be held at Lincoln Park monday-friday from 6pm-8pm for football and cheerleading.

I have heard that Pop Warner football is safer than many other tackle football programs because Pop Warner has weight limits. Is that true?
Yes. Per national Pop Warner rules, players must be under a certain weight. If they are over the designated weight limit for their age, they must “play up” and be on a team of older players. This is a safety issue and is strictly enforced. Players are weighed at the beginning of the season and also before every game. Players who are under the designated weight for their age likewise may “play down” and be on a team of younger players. See the
age/weight chart on this website for further details regarding the appropriate team level for your child.

Are there many injuries in Pop Warner football? I am worried that my son will get hurt.
Although they certainly can occur, injuries at the Pop Warner level are rare. Prior to middle school, boys and girls are generally not yet big and strong enough to hurt each other. Interestingly, a national study conducted several years ago found that there are a higher percentage of injuries in soccer than in Pop Warner football. Perhaps more importantly, playing Pop Warner football likely will decrease your child’s chances of getting injured while playing middle school football because he or she will already know the fundamentals of tackle football, including how to properly tackle, and how to protect themselves when tackled.

Shouldn’t my child wait until middle school to begin playing tackle football?
No. If your child waits until middle school to begin playing tackle football, he or she will be at a huge disadvantage. Most successful middle school players learned to play to football at the younger Pop Warner level. Middle school children without any tackle football experience have a difficult time competing with their peers who have prior Pop Warner experience.

Why does it say "Pop Warner Little Scholars" on the uniform patch?
Pop Warner believes that academics count. Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. (PWLS) is the only national youth sports organization in America that requires its participants to perform adequately in the classroom before permitting them to play. We believe that the standards we have set give these children a sense of responsibility and an appreciation for academics and athletics that will help them develop later on in life.

Q. What training do coaches receive and how are they selected?
All on-field personnel must complete a mandatory certification program offered by the parent Pop Warner organization.  Head Coaches are recommended by the Althetic Director and then approved by the JCGAA Board.  Assistant coaches are then recommended by each Head Coach and approved by the JCGAA Board.  Anyone with an interest in coaching should submit a coach application.

Q. Are any background or reference checks done on the coaches?
Yes, full background checks are done on any volunteer who will have involvement with the children as mandated by the National Pop Warner organization.

Q. How much playing time will my child get on game day?
There are strict rules within the Pop Warner organization that mandate the minimum number of plays that each player on the roster must be involved in during every game, based on the size of each team.

Q. Who determines what team my child is on and which position my child will play?
While we understand you may have a preference for your child, team assignments will be determined at the discretion of JCGAA based on age, grade level, weight, experience, and size of teams.