“Pop Warner Football is Not Just Sports”

Having grown up in a household full of women it is amazing that I became a football fanatic. My fatherHaving grown up in a household full of women it is amazing that I became a football fanatic. My father was born and raised in Pittsburgh and was a diehard Steeler fan, and I have fond memories of cheering on Franco Harris and Lynn Swann as a young girl. I am still a diehard Steeler fan to this day.

Growing up in a house dominated by females I was not exposed to football until college when I cheered on my husband, and later as I cheered on my son Jordan when he played Pop Warner football. Joseph J. Tomlin founded pop Warner football in 1929 in Philadelphia. Today over 250,000 youth participate in their football programs. It is the only program that has set requirements regarding the age and weight of the players in order to insure the safety of its players. Each year the players must be certified in order to play, and prior to each game players are weighed. For example a child who is the correct age but over the weight limit cannot play in that age group.

I watched my own son grow and develop physically and emotionally because of Pop Warner and today I am reliving that experience through my nephew “RJ”. Like RJ his father, Ronald Jones was a product of Pop Warner. Ron began playing when he was 11 years old and today he coaches Pop Warner football in the San Gabriel Valley. He coaches because he enjoys watching the kids grow, learn and overcome their fears.

Y ears later Ron, like many Pop Warner alumni went on to play in high school and college. Ron was the top recruit in the San Gabriel Valley, Defensive Player of the Year, All SS-CIF and played in the Hall of Fame Game. When he graduated from John Muir High School he was recruited by the likes of OSU, UNLV, Washington, Oklahoma, and Nebraska. He chose Oregon State and played the positions of Strong Safety and Linebacker. He credits Pop Warner with teaching him and his son the fundamentals of football, responsibility, a strong work ethic, teamwork, and skills that they will use throughout their lives.

Ron has passed the torch to his six year old son “RJ” who was his team’s Quarterback this season and while playing defense intercepted a pass and ran it back 80 yards for a touchdown as his mom ran with him down the sidelines. At this point he loves football because “he’s good at it” and “he loves practicing with his dad and little brother Sean”. Next season Sean will begin the program by playing flag football as “RJ”moves up to “Jr. Mighty Mite”. It is estimated that 60% of the NFL players played Pop Warner. Players like Deion Sanders, Marcus Allen, Cris Carter, Doug Flutie, Michael Irvin, Joe Montana and Phil Simms. All went on to have stellar careers and to give back to their communities.

So, if you have a youngster who has expressed interest in sports you should consider Pop Warner. Their mission is to use sports to reinforce the importance of teamwork, leadership and discipline. Your child may not be the next Deion Sanders, but may just learn to be a productive member of society.

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