THUNDER FOOTBALL FAQ’s
1. Who may participate in Thunder Football?
Any child age 6 to 14, (grades 1st thru 8th only, excluding high school students). In some limited situations we do allow 5 year olds (K grade) to play up to age 6. This situation would require further discussion with the Football Director prior to registration.
We serve the Littleton, Centennial, Englewood, Sheridan, Greenwood Village areas. However, players from outside this territory can still play within the Thunder football program but are subject to a few additional requirements. Should you wish to play Thunder Football or you are unsure as to which Club Territory you live in, please the Thunder Football Director.
2. When does football registration start?
Registration for Thunder Football opens on April 15th. Starting 4/15/2017 to register please visit www.littletonyouthsports.org.
3. Why does football registration occur so early for this fall sport?
The Thunder is a member of the AYL which has nearly 200 teams participating in youth tackle football each year. Each Club must define and commit by the end of July as to the number of teams by age and division that will participate in the league. This is required to allow time for the all-volunteer AYL Football Board to complete detailed plans for the season including game schedule, number of officials required, game fields, etc. This also provides ample time for the Thunder to acquire and train quality coaches to fill any coaching vacancies created as a result of the increase in registrations at a particular age.
4. When does the typical football season run?
Practice begins in late July/early August with a 5 week pre-season practice schedule. This allows time for the players to get into "Football" shape, taking hits, tackling, physical conditioning, etc. The regular season starts with the first games being played as early as the first Saturday before Labor Day Weekend. The season is 8 regular season games with the top teams in each age/division of play advancing to the playoffs. Playoffs and our season ending Super Bowl are completed no later than by the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. The season calendar varies year to year by as much as one week. It is best to review the current season calendar listed on our website.
5. How do I go about registering my child for Thunder Football?
The Thunder Organization has enhanced the on-line registration process through our new website. Please select the Register On-Line button on the Thunder Football Home Page. This on-line system makes it far more efficient for our families and volunteers. Registration will open May 1st.
6. What is the cost to play Thunder football?
The cost for Thunder Football can change from year-to-year primarily based on our field provider’s adjustments in field usage fees. The 2017 registration cost is being reviewed and will be updated here as soon as it is approved by the Board.
The cost to play football in 2016 was $190 for 6 year olds, $230 for if registered and paid in full by June 17th. After June 17th Thunder assesses a late fee of an additional $25 per child.
Registration closes by age group when the teams at that age group are full. Generally registration is open until mid-July. We encourage everyone to register as early as possible, as spots fill up fast
7. What does the registration fee cover?
The fee covers many items including but not limited to:
Registration costs which are league fees, insurance costs, coach background checks, etc.
Practice costs such as practice field usage & permits, Coaching and practice equipment.
Game costs such as game field usage & permits, including weekly field set up/tear down, official’s costs, website scheduling and score reporting costs, and officials evaluation costs.
Thunder’ Football operating expenses such as bank fees, ongoing coaching evaluations and education, and administration costs
8. What equipment will I have to purchase for my child to play Thunder football?
Each individual player is responsible for his own equipment and uniform.
The required equipment includes a Helmet (Silver w/ blue face mask). Thunder and the AYL are extremely concerned about the proper fit of player’s helmets. Should you plan to purchase a used helmet, please take this equipment to a reputable retailer to have the prospective purchase reviewed for safety. All current Football Helmets must have a NOCSAE (National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment) sticker affixed which indicates the useful life of that helmet without Recertification.
Thunder and the AYL are extremely concerned about the proper fit of player’s shoulder pads. Should you plan to purchase used shoulder pads, please take this equipment to a reputable retailer to have the prospective purchase reviewed for safety
Soccer cleats are acceptable if you already have them. If purchasing a new cheated shoe please consider purchasing a Football Cleat, which has a better base specific for football action.
GAME DAY MANDATORY UNIFORM:
Game day equipment will be sold by Denver Athletic through our website.
1 HOME AND 1 AWAY JERSEY
THUNDER NAVY AND WHITE SOCKS
Additionally you will need athletic supporter with a hard cup, and mouth guard – we suggest that you purchase two and fit both to your child initially (Please understand that if your child does not have a mouth piece at a practice or game they will not be allowed to participate - so keep a spare one with you).
9. Where do we purchase Football uniforms?
Due to the quality of the HOME Jersey that was sold in the 2016 season, the Thunder is changing the 2017 HOME game jersey only in 2017. Every registered player (new and returning) will be required to purchase a HOME jersey this year.
If you are new to the Thunder, you will be required to purchase both a HOME and AWAY jersey.
All equipment will be sold by Denver Athletic. More information to follow on when we will open up sales.
10. Where do we purchase football equipment?
3101 S. Platte River Dr.
Englewood, Co 80110
Phone #: 303-761-7773
Toll-free Phone#: 1-800-745-3274
Mon. - Fri. 9am - 5:30pm
Saturday and Sunday Closed
Play it Again Sports
151 W. Mineral Ave
Littleton, CO 80122
11. How is a new player assigned to a team? Are there tryouts?
A football player is assigned to a team based upon age/grade and experience. Age is determined as of June 1st of the current year and grade is defined as the grade in the Fall of the current year. We attempt to place a new player on a team with similar experience level. Then if there are multiple choices we will try to match the new player with a team that has other players from the same school the new player attends or within the middle school feeder system. Priority for placement is based on the actual registration date and time from our on-line system.
New Thunder football players may request to play with a friend or a particular coach. This can be noted on the registration form. If a team preference is indicated on the registration form Thunder will endeavor to grant that preference however there are other factors such as team level of competitive play, specific team roster openings, etc, that affect that placement. Generally there will be a conversation between the Parents and a Thunder Football representative to ensure correct team placement if a specific team preference is indicated.
12. How are returning Thunder Football players placed on teams?
Returning players who are registered and paid in full by May 22nd of the current year will automatically be assigned to the same team they played on the previous season. The player’s jersey number used by that returning player is also maintained for that player as long as the registration is completed by May 22nd of the current year. Should a returning player fail to register by the May 22nd cutoff they will be placed on a team in the same manner and in the same priority as any new player. Should a returning player wish to change teams for any reason please contact one of the Thunder Football representative as soon as possible so we can advise and assist you in making the requested change. Please understand that a returning player that wishes to change teams must still register by May 22nd of the current year. If registered prior to May 22nd, the returning player requesting to change teams will be given priority over any new players requesting that same team. Priority for placement for the returning player requesting to change teams is based on the actual registration date and time from our on-line system.
13. How many players are on a team?
Team size can vary depending upon the number of kids registering to play. Thunder’ has target roster sizes, varying by competitive division of play to ensure minimal financial requirements are met. Those roster size targets are NFC 18 – 20 players, AFC 20 – 22 players, and CFC 22 – 24 players.
14. How are jersey numbers decided?
Thunder will take requests from new players for a specific jersey number or a request for a jersey number change on the registration form. We attempt to honor those requests if at all possible. All jersey numbers are the responsibility of the team's Head Coach who must ensure no numbers are duplicated. We strongly suggest you make sure your Head Coach agrees with your number request before you have game jerseys numbered.
15. Where, when and how often is practice?
The Thunder pays for permits for practice fields from South Suburban Parks and Recreation and Littleton Public Schools. All of our practice fields are in the Littleton, Centennial area.
Most teams will practice 2 -3 evenings per week in the preseason and have one practice on Saturdays. The start and end time for practices is determined by the Head Coach and generally takes in to account the Coaches work schedule as well as the school schedule our players are under. For the most part the younger the age of the team the shorter practices run, for example at ages 6/7 the practice may only run 60 to 90 minutes while at ages 12/13 the practice may run 2.5 hours.
The number of practices per week is regulated by the AYL. The AYL allows up to four playing periods per week in pre-season up to and including the first game. All playing periods may include exercise and/ or contact. Thunder’ coaches generally manage the weekly number of practices in accordance with their team’s age. After the first game, teams are still allowed four playing periods per week however one of these playing periods must be a no contact – no exercise "chalk talk". Optionally for any NFC teams at age 10 and above they can replace their "chalk talk" with an on-field non-contact walk-thru practice.
16. How many games are played? Where and when are they scheduled?
The AYL regular season generally consists of eight games. Teams can qualify for post season playoffs. The number of games played during the playoffs can vary based upon the number of teams in an age division.
The AYL is comprised of Member Clubs establishing teams in the South Metro area communities of Littleton, Centennial, Highlands Ranch, SE Denver, South Aurora, Parker and Castle Rock. Games can be played in any of these locations at specific parks.
Regular season games are scheduled for Saturdays with the earliest game at 8:30 or 9:00 am and the latest game scheduled for 2:30 or 3:00 pm. On some fields we may have later games being played under the lights starting at 5:00 and 7:00 pm as well. The first regular season game for 2016 is scheduled for Saturday, 8/2/2017, one Saturday before Labor Day Weekend. The regular season runs through the end of October/early November. Post season Playoffs begins immediately following the conclusion of the regular season and continue with the AYL Super Bowl that always is completed no later than the weekend before Thanksgiving. Please understand that Games may be postponed by weather, field issues or other problems resulting in game cancelations. Games are typically rescheduled on Sunday the week following the cancelation, eight days later. Also some playoff games may need to be scheduled on Sundays to be certain the entire playoff schedule can be completed prior to the mandatory end of the season.
17. What if we have a family vacation scheduled during the season?
Football requires significant preparation and practice as well as a strong commitment to the team. Family vacations during the season are highly discouraged. Depending upon team rules, playing time may be impacted because of the time your player misses because of the vacation. You are encouraged to schedule your vacations prior to or after the season to avoid playing time impacts. If you must schedule a family vacation during the season, please inform your Head Coach as soon as possible to understand how your team and your child will be impacted.
18. What if my child decides after signing up that he does not like football and wants to quit. What is the refund policy?
Generally all registration fees for Thunder Football are non-refundable. If you wish to discuss this policy please contact one of the Thunder Football representatives.
19. Who can be a coach?
Anyone can apply to coach to be a Head Coach or an Assistant Coach. All coaching candidates will go through a pre-certification process. The process involves undergoing a background check and completing an interview with the Thunder Football representatives. All Thunder coaches are required to become USA Football, Tackle Football Certified, obtain 4 hours of continuing education, as well as attend any mandated yearly AYL coach training, including Concussion Management Training and are encouraged to attend any local coaching clinics if they can as well. All Thunder Football Head Coaches are evaluated annually both by their Parents/Players on their team as well as the Thunder Football representatives. Retention as a Thunder Football Head Coach is offered on a year to year basis based on these evaluations. If interested in coaching Thunder Football please contact the Thunder Football representatives directly.
20. How can I help?
There are many volunteer opportunities with your team as well as with the Thunder organization. Your Head Coach will be soliciting their Parent group directly for volunteers for the many team and game day responsibilities. If you are interested in volunteering your time to the Thunder organization, please contact one of the Thunder Football representatives directly.
21. If I have additional questions who do I contact?
If you have any question regarding the Thunder Football program that has not been answered above please contact either of the following VOLUNTEERS listed below: