Is Pop Warner too rough for my child?
- Only you and your child can answer this one. Please 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 Football Committee members prior to registering if you have specific concerns.
When does the season begin and end?
- The season starts the first week of August and with post season play, it is possible to carry into November and beyond.
How much time is involved?
- Pop Warner Football is a BIG time commitment on the part of both players and parents. It will be much different than recreational sports (soccer, basketball, baseball). The first 2 weeks of the season are considered "conditioning" weeks. Before school begins, players will practice four nights a week for up to 2.5 hours per night. Once school is in session, this will be scaled back to three night per week.
What time do teams practice?
Practices are up to 2 1/2 hours long - typically 2 hours - and commonly run anywhere from 6:00pm to 8:45pm with some variance depending on the coach’s schedule. Note: Temperatures are quite high during the beginning of the football season. 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 and bring plenty of water to practice!!!
Are the coaches paid employees of Matthews Athletic and Recreation Association (MARA)?
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. Please keep this in mind…our staff has the same professional and personal responsibilities as you with the added responsibility that comes along with volunteering. If you are interested in committing some time to the program, please contact the football committee via
Do we have to buy all the equipment?
NO. MARA provides helmets, shoulder pads, jersey and game pants. All this equipment must be returned at the end of each season.
What equipment do I need to buy?
Players will need a pair of football cleats, a cup and athletic supporter, practice pants (integrated pads), practice jersey, and game socks. 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. We also recommend that each player purchase a football girdle (integrated pads) that can be worn under practice/game pants. This makes the process of donning your uniform easier, especially for young/new players and it provides additional pad protection.
How much will my child play?
All team members 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). Like any sport, the more the player puts in, the more they will get out.
Why do football coaches yell so much?
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 would happen? 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.
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.