Most sports have a number of local leagues that make it easy for parents to simply organize and enter a team, but those that aren’t part of a national program can pose interesting challenges for parents, especially those that live in rural areas. Many areas don’t have local programs or affiliates, and this can make the process very difficult for parents who want to create that opportunity for local kids.
Fortunately, organizations like the Amateur Athletic Union and Pop Warner will provide interested parents with the organizational and promotional backing to start a new team. Other organizations like the Police Athletic League and Catholic Youth League partner with national youth sports leagues on a regional level.
Understanding the Organizational Structure of a Team
Pop Warner is the largest national youth football league, but there are still some areas where there aren’t any local programs. Parents that are interested in entering a team may be able to find local programs that are unaffiliated with Pop Warner. While we can’t speak for every single youth sports league, the majority of them are governed by USA Football rules, which is a governing body that provides access to coaches, officials, safety information, insurance, and background checks. It is also partially funded by the NFL.
Beyond that, your team will need to employ an organizational structure that includes a board, coaches, and volunteers. The AAU has a “quick start” guide that makes several excellent recommendations for interested coaches.
While Pop Warner has several rules that ensure fair competition, the underlying philosophy is that everyone gets to play. AAU provides opportunities for parents that want a more competitive style of sports that focuses on titles and championships. In other words, there are more options. Baseball and hockey leagues, especially national affiliates, may have similar “mercy” rules in effect that focus more on fun for everyone, and less on bringing home the gold. As a parent, you will want to determine your team’s philosophy on that topic from an organizational level.
More often than not, the parents that want to create these teams are interested in more competitive leagues. Other times, they’re parents from areas that do not have nationally sanctioned programs readily available.
After your organizational structure is in place, meaning your board, your coaches, and volunteers, the next step in the process will be recruiting players. You’re going to want to set a solid number for team size. Most governing bodies will have rules for minimum and maximum team size, with most teams landing somewhere in the middle.
The next process is marketing. You’re going to want to put out fliers and use social media to your advantage. Creating Facebook pages and groups are great ways to recruit players for your team.
The process of creating a local youth sports team is not exactly simple or without significant time investment, however giving the opportunity to local kids makes it worth every minute.
For more articles concerning youth sports leagues, please visit our website: League Network.