Would you like to ensure a safe and positive playing environment for your child while allowing the opportunity to instill life-long values of teamwork, dedication and superior work ethic in the classroom and on the playing field? If this sounds good to you, why not consider registering your son in Santa Cruz’s local football league.
Since its inception in 1967, the Santa Cruz Pop Warner youth football league continues to be an outstanding educational and athletic organization that provides a high quality experience to every athlete.
“In our program, kids learn while having fun—even if they don’t win a game, they walk away with a new skill and a lot of self confidence,” Anjel Hernandez, Santa Cruz Pop Warner secretary said.
Hernandez’s son joined the league five years ago, and has gained quite a few friends that he did not interact with at school, but had an opportunity to do so at practice.
“We are still in need of more players,” Hernandez said. “This year our numbers are low. We are not sure if it has to do with the economy or Little League—people don’t tell us.”
This 501c3 youth sports organization is run entirely by volunteers whose mission is to develop positive values in today’s youth. Santa Cruz Pop Warner is committed to creating a positive culture in which coaches, parents, fans, officials, volunteers and athletes can all work together.
“All positions, including my own, are 100 percent volunteer. Not one paycheck goes out of the organization,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez has been known to put in 40 hours a week as a volunteer—in addition to her regular full-time job! Go volunteers!
Often times, parents worry about potential injuries that may arise from this tough contact sport, but with Pop Warner, the risk is minimized because kids compete with kids of similar age and size. Pop Warner is the only youth football program (local, regional and national) that sets and enforces a strict age and weight matrix that reduces the risk and reality of injuries. With six different age and weight divisions to choose from, rest assured, your child will be placed among other players his own size.
According to its website “Pop Warner football is safer than soccer and Pop Warner football has 12 percent fewer injuries per capita among 5-15-year-olds than organized soccer in the same age range." (U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, NEISS).
Even though practices are well under way, it’s not too late to register your child for Santa Cruz Pop Warner. Games do not start until early September, so if you register now, your child will have an opportunity to hone his athletic skills.
Yes, it is a big commitment for your child as well as for the parents who will be driving back and forth to daily practices (during rush hour) and weekend games, but it's worth it if your child walks away with just one of the attributes the organization aims to instill in its participants. Parents are required to volunteer a mere 10 hours, which is nothing compared to some of the board members who volunteer countless hours day in and day out.
Practices are held Monday through Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Harvey West Park in Santa Cruz, and games are held on Saturday at locations throughout the Bay Area. The good news is that once the fall school session starts, practices drop to three days a week. Thank goodness because I’d imagine it to be quite difficult to keep up on homework, chores and any other commitment your child may have.
The final day to register is Aug. 18. For more information, please go to www.santacruzpopwarner.org, or if you live in the Scotts Valley area, go to www.vyapopwarner.com. This year, there is a new Pop Warner League in Watsonville. For more information, go to Central Coast Pop Warner.
In addition, this Sunday, Aug. 7, the league will be having a car wash fundraiser at Floors Etc. in Soquel from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Come support your local community and get these kids off to an excellent season!