Kids all over America have been having fun in Pop Warner football leagues since they were first founded in Northeast Philadelphia in the 1920s. Pop Warner was actually established by factory owner Joseph Tomlin when local hooligans broke his factory's windows by throwing stones and bricks through them a hundred times in a single month. Tomlin guessed that these kids had nothing to do, and he collaborated with Temple coach Glenn Scobey "Pop" Warner to organize a local youth football league. Within ten years, there were over 100 football teams, and today, nearly half a million kids play Pop Warner football every year.
Pop Warner is a football league for children aged five to fifteen. It is both the oldest and largest youth football league in the world and it is comprised of over 5,000 teams in the United States, Mexico, and Japan. The best Pop Warner teams of the year get to go to the National Championships to participate in the Pop Warner Super Bowl, always held at Disney World. More then 64 teams compete at these Championships yearly. According to the NFL, nearly 70 percent of professional football players begin their football careers in Pop Warner. Pop Warner also runs a Dance and Cheerleading program for kids aged five to 15.
Any kid who meets the age and weight requirements can play Pop Warner. Unlike other football leagues, Pop Warner is divided up by weight and height restrictions rather than age restrictions. This guarantees that kids always play against other kids who are the same size as they are. When Pop Warner was originally founded, most players were over 15 years old and some were over 30. These days, however, the oldest players are just 16, and most players play in the Peewee league for kids 75 to 120 pounds. Both boys and girls can and do play Pop Warner football; both the teams and the cheer squads are co-ed.
The full name of Pop Warner is Pop Warner Little Scholars. That's because Pop Warner football league is created for the betterment of young men and women, rather than for the sake of creating phenomenal football players. Every player must maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average in order to play Pop Warner. Pop Warner also provides tutors for struggling kids, and even has a number of very attractive college scholarships that are awarded to kids who earn good grades and participate in community building by volunteering.
In addition to encouraging scholarship, Pop Warner encourages team participation by not publishing or tracking individual statistics. Whereas other football leagues track and publish the on-field achievements of individual players, sometimes creating star players and marginalizing others, Pop Warner only tracks team results. Pop Warner is also open to any student who wants to play, as long as that student meets academic requirements. There are no try-outs for any teams and Pop Warner has a mandatory play requirement, which means that every kid gets to play no matter how good he is.