Yesterday we highlighted reasons why kids need to play youth football. In the article we included surprising juvenile obesity and crime statistics in the United States.
Today, we examine how youth football teams with no league fees work. We researched and contacted two youth football organizations in New Jersey- Piscataway and Newark. Both teams pick 35 kids out of a potential 70 kids that line up on sign-up day. It’s first come, first serve with no tryouts. Piscataway and Newark both fight to keep funding in tact for their youth sports teams.
Piscataway Youth Football
Piscataway, NJ is a college town (Rutgers University) shared with thriving tech companies. In 2010, Piscataway was named as one of the best places to live by CNN Money, ranking #57 out of 100. They take youth athletics very seriously in this town; providing youth sports for free confirms that they understand the benefits of playing team sports.
Piscataway youth football asks parents to bring their kids and a pair of cleats to the first day of practice. If it weren’t free, a portion of the kids wouldn’t be able to participate. With solid coaching and a large talent pool of kids, Piscataway teams are perennial winners on the football field.
Newark Youth Football
Newark is New Jersey’s largest city. According to NeighborhoodScout.com, per capita income in Newark was $13,000 in year 2000, which is considered low compared to the rest of the United States. Crime statistics are very high in Newark. Making youth football free is essential for a city like Newark.
Newark offers a free 1 month camp to help kids get acclimated to the sport. In the past, they have charged reduced league fees of $50 but the turnout wasn’t as expected so they went back to free registration. One point mentioned during our chat with a director at Newark youth athletics was that all the kids have a good experience. They leave the program with renewed confidence – just another benefit of playing the sport. In 2011, the Newark Pee Wee Pop Warner played in the state finals- a great team accomplishment for a bunch of kids that may never have played football had it not been free to register.
In many towns, affordability weighs heavily in parents’ decision to have their child play youth football. Making football free for families unable to afford registration fees presents great opportunity. It’s a chance to point them in the right direction- into a structured and safe environment. One additional point we’ve learned about these no fee teams is that they perform very well on the football field, possibly displaying gratitude for the opportunity to play football.
Please sign our free youth football petition on Change.org.