Tucker Football League (TFL): Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

TFL Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) 

Welcome to the Tucker Football League website. In 2012, TFL celebrates their  58th year of providing the "wonderful world of football to boys and girls".  We congratulate you on your choice of the TFL for your child's participation.  We often take for granted that all parents know all about the TFL, but we are obviously incorrect.  Therefore, we have put together this information package, in the form of the most often asked questions, to help guide you this season.

 What is the TFL? 

The Tucker Football League is a nonprofit Georgia corporation with the official name of Tucker Midget Football Conference, Inc.  The TFL was founded on Christian/Judean ethics to teach our children the wonderful game of football.  The TFL is private and owns all of the fields at Fitzgerald Field.  The league began in 1955 and has progressed to the point we are at today.  The TFL is generally recognized by other similar programs as one of the most successful, if not the most successful, youth football programs in America.  The league is operated by a Board of Trustees, who are appointed each year by the life members.  The life members serve in an advisory role to maintain the continuity of our philosophy and direction.  The Board of Trustees elects the four constitutional officers.  The 2012 officers are President - Roger Grimmett; Vice President of Athletics – Rod Jones; Secretary – Nikki Hayes; and Treasurer - Darlene Copeland.  All of the Board members, Life members, officers, coaches, cheerleading sponsors and other volunteers serve with no compensation.  In fact, most of these volunteers donate not only their time, but their money out of love for the children. 

What does it cost to participate?

 The registration fee for the first child playing football is $185.  This fee includes a mouthpiece, the costs of acquiring insurance, the game jerseys, the post-season trophy, the helmet decals, 30 raffle tickets, and the general operating budget of the league.  The registration fee for cheerleading is $125.  This fee includes camp/practice shirt and shorts, a week long cheerleading camp, costs of acquiring insurance, the post season trophy and the general operating budget of the league. There is a discount for additional children of $20 per child.  So if a family had two football players and one cheerleader, the registration cost would be $185 and $165 for the football players and $105 for the cheerleader.  In addition to the registration fees, the TFL makes available, but does not mandate, pants and pants pads purchases.  The cost to purchase a pair of pants is $15 and to purchase the seven-piece pad set is $12.    

Are there any other costs involved? 

Each parent is required to do his or her share of work in the concession stand.  The concession stand accounts for approximately 25% of our operating budget and is extremely important to the TFL.  Further, you will be asked to assist in other areas such as holding chains or announcing games.  Remember, the TFL gets no government assistance and requires the work of all its participants and families in order to be a success.  This is not a spectator program. 

How do these fees compare to those of other youth football associations? 

The fees charged by the TFL are among the lowest in metro Atlanta.  Many of the Gwinnett County leagues charge a comparable amount for registration, but require the child to provide all the equipment, and this can easily run in excess of an additional $150.  We struggle each year to keep our costs down, but we are not like other parks that can call the County when a water line breaks, a light goes out or a tree falls.  All such expenses must be met from our operating budget. 

Where is the money spent? 

All money raised goes into the general operating budget.  This year it will be necessary to collect in excess of $110,000 to break even. 

What  are tryouts? 

This term misleads and concerns the new parent.  "Tryouts" is a term used by the league officials for the evaluation process of the numerous players.  Most of the children will participate in the intra-league, and there is a need for each child's physical skills to be evaluated.  These skills are evaluated not to embarrass the young child but to allow the league to assure that teams are divided as equally as possible.  

No child is turned away or told that he or she will not have a place in our program on the basis of physical skills.  

All such evaluations are kept confidential between league officials.  Players are not allowed to be told their placement order. 

When are tryouts and what does my child need? 

Tryouts begin the week of July 16, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. and generally last till 8:00 p.m. for three or more days.  Late tryouts are the week of July 23, 2012 at 6:00 p.m. The cheerleaders have different schedules and should carefully read the information handed out by the cheerleading representative at sign-ups.  The peewee, instructional and prep leagues will have tryouts on the 100-yard field (main field with stadium).  The 12u Lions, 13u Lions and Junior league players will have tryouts on the 1st field past main field.  Your child should wear all of his or her equipment as a safety precaution.  Most of the children participating will be first year players and care is taken to teach fundamentals of the game. 

When will my child be placed on a team? 

Your child will be placed on a team, and you will be notified at team announcements, Saturday, August 11, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. in the football stadium.  At this time, you will meet your coach and other members of your team.  If for some reason you will not be able to attend the assignment, please call the commissioner of the respective league as listed below. 

What about cheerleading? 

The TFL has a deep and proud tradition in cheerleading.  Our Lions' teams are always competitive and learn the spirited, gymnastic type cheers seen on ESPN cheerleading competitions.  Our cheerleading program is divided into two areas: Intra-league and Inter-league.  The Intra-league program includes the girls cheering for our instructional and prep teams.  These girls cheer every game, all game and have their own cheerleading competition each year in October.  At this competition, teamwork and team spirit are promoted with each participant being provided a medal and cheerleading sweatshirt.  The Inter-league program is comprised of the Lions and Metro teams.  These teams will follow their teams and cheer every game, all game and have their own cheerleading competition each year in October.  These competitions feature some of the top youth cheerleading in the nation.  Most girls who compete at this level are very successful in high school cheerleading programs.  Our girls program is headed up by Coach Tami

How expensive is cheerleading? 

The TFL Board is very sensitive to the costs for girls participating in cheerleading.  Other leagues charge a higher registration fee and then require the child to purchase a uniform in excess of $200.  We, as an association, have placed limits on expenses for the intra-league uniforms.  This year our coordinators believe that we can keep these expenses to approximately $50. This discount has been obtained through competitive shopping and bulk purchase.  

What does the reference to "Intra-league" and "Inter-league" mean? 

Intra-league teams are the teams participating in our Peewee, Instructional, Prep, and Junior Leagues.  These teams are referred to as Intra-league teams because all or most of their games will be against other Tucker teams.  This allows our association to have more control over safety and participation rules.  The Peewee League will be comprised of 5 and 6-year-old players with limited emphasis on winning and maximum emphasis on fun and fundamentals.  At this level we play 9 man rather than 11-man football.  There are generally no more than 13 to 15 players on each team, which increases player participation and requires the coaches to coach all the players.  The Instructional league is comprised mainly of 7 and 8-year-old players with some lighter 9 year olds.  The Prep league is comprised mainly of 10 and 11-year-old players with some lighter 12 year olds and some big 9 year olds.  The Prep league is generally comprised of no more than 16 players.  The Junior league is comprised of 11, 12, and 13 year olds with some big 10 year olds.  Inter-league teams include the players that make one of the Lions teams. These teams, by their definition, play other parks.   Our 10u Lions team was United Youth Football Conference champions. 

When are the practices? 

The practices for all intra-league teams for the first week after team assignment are restricted to four days, two-hour length, one of which must be on Saturday.  Beginning the second week after team assignments and continuing for the remainder of the year, Instructional, Prep, and Junior teams are limited to two practices per week, two-hour time limits; the Lions teams are allowed three practices per week.  

Under no circumstances are teams allowed to practice on Sunday. When are games? 

Almost all Peewee, Instructional and Prep League games are on Saturday mornings.  It is occasionally necessary to play one or two weeknight games in order to fit the number of games required into the number of weeks for the season.  The Junior  teams will play most of their games on Saturday with an occasional Thursday game.  The Lions teams play all of their regular season games on Saturday. 

Will my child have to travel? 

The TFL is divided into Lions, commonly referred to as "traveling teams", and intra-league teams.  The Lions teams are generally comprised of the more experienced and more physically gifted children.  Prior to any selection to a Lions team, the parents are consulted and informed of all requirements.  It is our goal not to have our intra-league teams travel at all.  However, the TFL is viewed as the leader of the United Youth Football Conference, which is comprised of five football associations in Metro Atlanta.  In such a role, the TFL has allowed, for some of our intra-league teams, a limited amount of inter-league competition with other parks in close proximity of Fitzgerald Field.   Our intentions are not to play outside the park; but, if it is necessary to assist these smaller leagues and our ages and weights are compatible, we may play a game or two against other parks.  

What makes the TFL different from other leagues? 

First and foremost, the TFL has fifty-four years of experience in meeting the needs of the children.  During this period of time, the TFL has formulated what we believe to be an excellent set of rules.  One of the rules formulated by Tucker is called the "full participation rule."  The rule requires that all intra-league players play the entire game, either on offense, defense or both.  This is accomplished by creating more teams with fewer players.  This is a rule started at Tucker and mimicked by some other leagues.  The TFL differs greatly from the Gwinnett County leagues as the Gwinnett County teams are based on age only (regardless of an average child's weight).  They place approximately 35 players on each team; they have so many cheerleaders that they only cheer one-half the game; and they do not have minimum participation rules.  We are proud of our differences and believe participation should be for all the children, not just the best athletes.  This is not to say that the TFL does not want or does not have Gwinnett residents participating.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Most of our key officers reside in Gwinnett and pass many Gwinnett parks to come to the TFL.  Each year many of the Gwinnett High School teams feature former Tucker Football League players.  Last year, some of our former players were star players for Shiloh, Parkview, Brookwood, Meadowcreek, Grayson, South Gwinnett, North Gwinnett and other Gwinnett High Schools. 

If my child plays at Tucker instead of the Gwinnett Football League, won't it be held against him? 

Our experience has been just the opposite.  It is natural for the high school coaches to desire the children to play together.  Pressure is placed upon the coach to develop a community atmosphere.  But the truth is: the high school coach is going to play the best athlete.  We are convinced that your child will receive more playing time, under safer conditions and with equal or better coaching than received by the Gwinnett Football League.  It is a fundamental difference in philosophy regarding age/weight schematics, minimum participation rules and size of squads.  Besides, we all know that the best chance for a strong future in any endeavor lies in a strong foundation being developed today. 

What should I do in the event I do experience a problem? 

We are all human and will all make mistakes, and any program that involves humans will have problems.  Although we endeavor to provide a perfect environment for your child, this is not possible.  If you should have a problem with where or how your child is playing, first address the issue with the coach.  Most of these coaches have in excess of five years experience and will listen to your problem.  If the problem is still not resolved, please contact the commissioner of your league.  The commissioners are:  Peewee – Danny Logan - 6) 683-3432; Instructional – ; Prep – Irving Seabrook - 4) 379-6809; Junior –  Cheerleading – Coach Tami and Athletic Director – Rod Jones - 6) 437-8913.  Please remember that all of the commissioners and coaches are volunteers, spending their time and money for your child. 

What are my obligations? 

We want quality families who happen to have quality children.  The TFL is a family program, and we strive to teach good moral principles that apply to life in general.  Therefore, it is necessary to have your cooperation.  Be pro-active, and volunteer to help in areas.  One day you and your child may look back on the years in youth sports as the happiest days of your life.  The memory is still clear of a loving father and caring mother hauling us to practice and sacrificing much to assure our participation in the TFL.  You and your child will make life-long friends and share memorable moments together.  Be positive and allow the children to play the game, and above all, remember it is still just a kid's game. 

Why am I asked to sign the Parents Code of Ethics? 

This is a form established by the National Youth Sports Coaches Association in cooperation with the Drug Enforcement Agency of the federal government.  It is a form developed to remind parents of their commitment.  Some parents and coaches can allow the "will to win" to override the best interest of the children.  If this were to happen, we wish to have something to remind parents and coaches of the true purpose of the game. 

How can I get involved? 

Regardless of our experience in the TFL, new energy and thought is always appreciated.  The TFL puts together a yearbook each year.  From a financial standpoint, this yearbook is a source of income for the program.  Most parents know some business that would be willing to place an ad in our yearbook.  If for instance, each family could sell one ad per year, the costs to participate could be greatly reduced.  If you wish to sell an ad, please contact our President, Roger Grimmett at 7) 982-6681.  If you wish to assist on the facilities, as a coach or in any other capacity, please call Rod Jones at 6) 437-8913, and a place will be found for your efforts. We hope this information proves helpful.  Please do not hesitate to call one of our officers if any additional questions arise.