The Pop Warner football league is coming to Lubbock. You have probably heard of the well known program in other cities. Established 82 years ago, it's the largest youth football, cheer and dance program in the world, consisting of more than 400,000 young boys and girls.
Thanks to a $2.5 million anonymous donation, the South Plains Pop Warner Youth Football League could have a state football field complex in the Hub City. Organizers are still working to buy land for the new field. The plans include four to six full-length football fields equipped with concessions, parking and press boxes. The complex is planned to be finished for the 2012 season. When it is finished, the league says they will host a regional competition consisting of seven states.
"The economy here in Lubbock would see a really big boost, simply, because you're bringing thousands of people into Lubbock for a weekend event that's going to host 30 plus teams," said Chris Shadle-Alrideg the South Plains Pop Warner Youth Football League President.
You may be asking how this league separates itself from the others? The program directors say this is a place where every single kid can play and they will not be turned away.
"Often times you get your lighter kids that end up sitting on the bench or they hide them somewhere. Whereas, here they can actually let them play and their confidence level goes through the roof," said Dusty Vaughn, the South Plains Pop Warner Youth Football League Vice-President.
The teams accept kids ages 5 to 14. The goal is to get neighborhood kids involved in something positive, have fun and work hard on and off the field.
"It's one of those no pass no play. If the child does not make the grades they are not eligible to play Pop Warner Youth Football," said Shadle-Alrideg.
According to the National Football League, nearly 70 percent of professional players came from a Pop Warner league. The South Plains division will have several teams that will be feeders into high schools surrounding Lubbock. None of the teams have try-outs or cut their players. It's based on a weight, age matrix.
"The difference between the lightest child and the heaviest child on the team is usually 30 or 40 pounds," said Shadle-Alrideg.
Girls also get a chance to get involved with the cheer and dance program. There will be competitive and non-competitive teams.
The next in person registration will be at Academy this Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Registration for football is $100 and cheerleading costs is $180. The cost includes a game uniform or cheer uniform and 8 regular season games including playoffs and bowl games.
Practice begins August 1 and the regular season begins September 11. Nationals will be played in December at Disney World in Florida.
For more information, visit http://www.southplainspopwarner.com.
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