Pop Warner football has been around since the inception of the league in 1929 by founder Joseph J. Tomlin as a four-team conference in Northeast Philadelphia.

Since then, participation has steadily increased to today's record numbers. Over 250,000 youths participated in Pop Warner-sanctioned football programs in 2010, and those numbers are continuing to grow.


Leagues have options with how to structure their program. While leagues can continue the current structure where a player is placed in a division based on his or her age and weight, they may also instead choose to register players based on age only. Currently, an estimated 75-80% of youth football nationally follows an age-only structure.

Pop Warner places value on safety measures that make a difference. That’s why we have also done things in football like reduce contact to 25% of practice time, eliminate kickoffs for our youngest divisions and require that any player who suffers a suspected head injury receive medical clearance from a concussion specialist before returning to play.


Pop Warner exists to use football, cheerleading, dance and a respect for education to develop strong, smart, responsible, healthy young men and women. We give them experiences that build their appreciation for and understanding of leadership, teamwork, and discipline.

While individual statistics may be more common, particularly among older football players, Pop Warner only recognizes the athletic accomplishments of the team, not the individual. We don't track personal tallies of touchdowns or yards rushing per game. We don't count sacks or blocked kicks. We applaud the athletic efforts of the team to reinforce the importance of teamwork, with each member.

We don't try to build stars. We don't want to over-inflate a young ego, nor do we want to risk injuring the self-esteem of a young person. Whether our kids have good days or bad, they are still an integral part of our team…and always will be.

Click here to read our Frequently Asked Questions.


How it works

There are fifteen Divisions of play, all determined by a strict age and weight scale to ensure safe and balanced competition. Other criteria includes:

  • Your child’s age on July 31st is his or her age for the season.

  • Some divisions allow an “older but lighter” player to qualify as shown. The last year of eligibility falls under more stringent weight restrictions.

  • A player may gain one pound per week after the second game, up to a maximum of 9 pounds.

Click to download and print the National Age-Weight Matrix. The zip code where you reside coincides with the league and team you will play or cheer with.

If you wish to play for a league outside of your designated zip code a “Waiver Form” will be needed. You can find this form on our forms and resources page. Please be aware that this form must be signed by both leagues affected.

If you reside in a zip code that is designated to multiple locations it is up to the player where he or she wants to play.


Mouthpiece Instructions

  1. Place mouthpiece in mouth. If it is too long cut the back edges with scissors so it is the right length.

  2. Boil water. Place mouthpiece in water holding the end that attaches to helmet for 20 seconds or until mouthpiece goes limp.

  3. Once limp, dip in cold water for one second.

  4. Place in child’s mouth positioned tightly against upper teeth.

  5. Have child to bite down for 10 seconds, sucking to pull the mouthpiece tightly against upper teeth.

  6. Dip mouthpiece in cold water for 10 seconds.

If child bites a hole in it, then it was too soft. Ask your coach for another mouthpiece and repeat.

Mouthpiece Care

Wash mouthpieces once per week with soap and water.

Practice Pants

Wash practice pants only once per week (during weekend). This saves you and us money(replacement of pants). Check wear and tear of pants once per week.

Shoulder Pads

Disinfect shoulder pads once per week with something similar to Lysol. Check wear and tear of shoulder pad strings once per week.


Disinfect helmets once per week with something similar to Lysol. Shine your helmets with pledge or similar agent before every game. Check helmet screws to ensure they are all tight once per week.

Pads (knee, thigh, hip, tail)

DO NOT run knee pads, thigh pads, hip pads or tail pads through the dryer, especially thigh pads!

Equipment Problems

If you have an equipment problem, please see your team equipment manager or your coach.