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What is the difference between Pop Warner and other youth football leagues?


Both Pop Warner and the other local start-up youth football league are NFL Youth Partners. Both have large footprints across the country, and are global.  Not only have 20 million youngsters played Pop Warner since its inception in 1929, approximately 70% of all NFL players played Pop Warner, according to the NFL Players Association.  Pop Warner has become a part of our sports culture in America, and an integral part of North San Diego County, including our coastal area.  Pop Warner has a long tradition of developing our youth to play football and cheer at the next levels.

Pop Warner has a very strict nationally enforced age and weight matrix which aligns the size of the players at similar levels in specific divisions.  Check out the weight levels at the different divisions for other leagues you may consider.  Players need to determine for themselves whether they are comfortable playing at a particular level.  While it may seem more-inclusive to allow broader weight and age categories, we believe the broader weight categories of other youth football leagues create size mis-matches that could create unsafe conditions for certain players, within certain divisions.
 
Pop Warner offers a variety of programs to cater to a broader number of players.  We have levels which are more developmental in nature and track to local and regional championships, and divisions which compete at the highest caliber of competitive youth football in San Diego, that tracks to a national Pop Warner championship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  We also have an excellent flag program which caters to the youngest of players and a Challenger league which caters to special needs athletes.
 
Pop Warner provides the only national youth football program rule book, to assure consistency, and safety, throughout its entire organization.   Many times, the conferences of other youth football leagues are autonomous and self-governing with the possibility of inconsistency from one conference to another.
 
Pop Warner has a minimum play requirement.  Many other youth football leagues do not.  Pop Warner wants all players to feel a part of each game.  This is youth football and we believe all players should be given the opportunity to develop their skills and participate.  Pop Warner also has a run-up score rule that keeps sportsmanship in check by not allowing one team to humiliate another by winning by 50 and 60 point margins.
 
At the local level, SMPW is a well-respected, quality program with a proven track record that speaks for itself.  Last season, we had 10 tackle teams and 3 flag teams.  This year, based on our registration to date, we are expecting the same number of teams.  Our coaches are seasoned and participate in considerable pre-season training, including Positive Coaching Alliance training, USA Football seminar and First Aid/CPR training.  Most of our coaches have played football at the highest levels and coached football at multiple youth levels over many years.  We work hard to prepare our players to take the field and compete at the next level.
 
San Marcos Pop Warner is a part of the Palomar Conference, which is the most well established and experienced football league in north San Diego County.  Palomar Conference has consistently delivered an impressive level of organization and competition.  SMPW is typically the second or third largest association in Palomar Conference in terms of the number of football teams and players.
 
SMPW will play all its home games at San Marcos or Mission Hills High School with away games being against other local Pop Warner organizations throughout north San Diego County (La Costa Canyon, Carlsbad, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, etc.) and some in south Riverside County.   Last year, there were more than 200 Pop Warner teams in Palomar Conference representing several thousand players.  Before joining any league, it's always a good idea to confirm where you will travel for away games.
 
It is so rewarding for us to see our kid’s progress through this great program, and grow up before our eyes! We think of our volunteers, participants, and parents as our SMPW family, and we’re confident that you will be happy with your Pop Warner experience!