Perhaps nothing is scarier to a child than playing a contact sport like football and going up against a against a much, much bigger player.
Pop Warner football is aware that matching up players who aren't of similar size may be asking for trouble--be it injuries or just a frightening scenario that might turn children away from football. So the nation's top youth football organization has fine-tuned an age/weight matrix over the years. While it seems complicated on the surface, the intent is to make sure that teams playing against each other are of similar age and size.
So how does it work?
Each division has both an age range and a weight range that players must fall within. For an upcoming season, a player's age on July 31st is his/her age for the entire season. However, recognizing that young kids will grow, a player may gain one pound per week after the second game, up to a maximum of nine pounds.
Here's a rundown of what divisions take which children, and what scenarios between age and weight will make that happen.
Since the flag division has no contact, no weight limit is enforced. However, all players must be between 5-7 years old.
The Tiny-Mite division is strictly for 5- to 7-year olds, and all members of this division must weigh between 35 and 75 pounds.
The Mitey-Mite division also has a hard-and-fast limit. All players are between 7-9 years old, and they all must weigh between 45 and 90 pounds.
Jr. Pee Wee
Here's where it starts to get a little layered. In general, the Jr. Pee Wee division is for 8-, 9- and 10-year-olds and they must weigh between 60 and 105 pounds. However, this division also allows an "older but lighter" player to compete. In this case, 11-year-olds are allowed if they weigh between 60 and 85 pounds.
The Pee Wee division is typically for 9-, 10- and 11-year-olds who weigh between 75 and 120 pounds. However, the "older but lighter" rule applies in this division, as well. In this case, a 12-year old can play in the Pee Wee division if he weighs between 75 and 100 pounds.
The Junior Midget division is for 10-, 11- and 12-year-olds who weigh between 85 and 135 pounds. The "older but lighter" rule allows 13-year-olds to play if they're between 85 and 115 pounds.
The Midget division is for 11-, 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds who weight between 105 and 160 pounds. It also has an "older but lighter" rule for 15-year-olds provided they weigh between 105 and 140 pounds.
The Unlimited division is for 11-, 12-, 13- and 14-year-olds who weigh more than 105 pounds. While lighter 15-year-olds are allowed in Midget, no 15-year-olds are allowed in the Unlimited division.
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