What is RHAM Youth Football and Cheer?
RHAM Youth Football & Cheerleading, Inc. (RYFC) is a non-profit youth organization serving the greater Hebron, Andover and Marlborough area including Andover, Bolton, Columbia, Coventry and Lebanon. We are in our 52nd year of serving our community and providing to youngsters ages six through thirteen an energetic and positive learning environment through instruction in the American tradition of football. Players graduating our program go on to local and private high schools throughout the state to carry on the tradition they began as a youngster in RYFC at the age of six or seven.
Is RYFC part of another League or does it operate on its own?
RHAM Youth Football and Cheer is a proud member of the Northern Connecticut Football League (NCFL). As a member of the NCFL, RYFC will have the opportunity to compete against Colchester, East Hampton, Ellington, Enfield, Plainfield, Springfield, Stafford and WPTP.
The NCFL operates in accordance with a set of bylaws under which RYFC also operates. In addition to NCFL bylaws, RYFC employs and operates under its own set of bylaws. The NCFL Bylaws govern all towns in the NCFL, although individual towns will impose their own bylaws which are necessary for running the particulars of their own organization within the NCFL. Most Registration Forms and Coaching Application Forms are all NCFL-required forms and come from the NCFL, although there are a few RYFC-specific forms involving family participation in the program and the operation of our Cheerleading Program. RYFC (as well as all other NCFL-member towns) has two members of its Board of Directors who are representatives to the NCFL Board of Directors. All towns who participate in the NCFL league have two representatives to the NCFL Board of Directors.
For the NCFL Home Page & Bylaws (click on the NCFL Tab above).
Where must I live to be able to participate on RHAM Youth Football and Cheerleading?
You must live in either Hebron, Andover, Marlborough, Columbia, Coventry, Lebanon, Bolton or Glastonbury.
Is RHAM Youth Football and Cheer part of the RHAM School System?
No, RHAM Youth Football and Cheer is a privately operated, non-profit, all volunteer program. The Board of Trustees are elected each January and includes parents and others who are dedicated to the core mission of this organization for the benefit of the youth of the greater RHAM region.
What level of parental participation is expected of RYFC Parents?
RYFC parents are expected to participate in fund raising and committees that help fund and maintain the operation of the RHAM Youth Football and Cheerleading program. At registration parents must sign up for TWO parent duties and one committee. Board members and head coaches are exempt. Assistant Coaches is two game day duties. While parents do have an option to buy out of their obligations, RYFC encourages parents to strongly consider participating as all moneys RYFC receives, helps to pay for equipment and other league needs.
How Safe is Youth Football?
Statistically, youth Football is safer than organized soccer, with 12% fewer injuries per capita among 5-15 year-olds. The NCFL uses a grade/age schematic. This means that your child will be playing against children that are around their same age and grade level. The Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York completed a youth football injury survey in 71 towns covering over 5,000 players in 1998. The injury experience of 5,128 boys (8 to 15 years of age, weight 50-150 lbs.) shows an injury rate of roughly 1.33 injuries per team per year with no catastrophic injuries taking place.
What About Concussions?
Concussions are an important topic at all levels of football recently. Many studies conducted have found that concussions occur more frequently in practice than in games, this is most likely attributed to poor coaching and the selection of drills. To address the deficiency of coaches, all coaches are now required to complete multiple certification courses which emphasize safety and concussion awareness. The RHAM Youth Football and Cheer program has enrolled in USA Football’s “Heads Up Football” program in order to guarantee the highest degree of safety for all participants. To learn more, please go to http://www.usafootball.com/headsup
What other types of events does RYFC sponsor?
RYFC sponsors several enjoyable events in which parents, players and cheerleaders can participate. The Friday before the first home game, RYFC sponsors a Pep Rally for all squads and families. In addition, RYFC also offers discounted tickets to certain UCONN football games. Finally, at the end of the season, the RYFC Board hosts an Awards Ceremony where all players are recognized for all their hard work over the season. Please check RYFC's Events Calendar for the most up-to-date information.
Does the Organization have any rules or guidelines that participants and parents must adhere to?
How do I stay updated on information?
RHAM Youth Football and Cheer will provide e-mails and regular posts during the off-season and more frequently starting in late June and early July. Updates and information will always be posted on the RHAM Youth Football and Cheer website, as well as on our RHAM Youth Football and Cheer Facebook page. In addition any important updates will be sent out via email by the RYFC Secretary or President. Individual team information will be sent by the head coach of that team via email and mobile applications.
Who can I contact if I have questions?
If you have any additional questions you may contact any member of the RYFC board or reach out to our president at [email protected]
What equipment is provided?
RYFC provides almost everything to play or cheer. For football players the league provides mesh practice jerseys, pads, helmets, guardians, and game jersies. For cheerleaders, a unifit, shell, skirt, coordinated ribbons, and socks will be provided.
Do I need to buy a uniform? What other equipment must be purchased?
For football players, a jersey, helmet and shoulder pads are provided by RYFC. The additional required items include: cleats, padded pants, game socks, athletic supporters, protective cup and mouth guard. Cheerleaders’ uniforms are provided with the cost of registration. The additional required items include: leggings, shorts, socks and shoes. but you will also need to purchase additional items designated by the Cheer Director. Flag Football players will be provided with a jersey and will need black athletic pants and shorts as well as a mouth guard and sneakers or cleats.
When will we get equipment?
Equipment is typically distributed in mid-late July, just before the start of practice. Please check our Events Page for the exact date and location (usually GHS Practice Field).
My helmet hurts-- can I get a different one?
Let's face it-- helmets can sometimes be uncomfortable, especially if you have never worn one before. This is especially true the first week you wear it. Helmets must fit tight enough to ensure a snug and correct fit. In fact, the first week of practice all players will wear NO pads, but they WILL wear their helmet, just to break it in and to get used to it. Just as a reminder, when you put it on, be sure to pull it all the way down hard. If, after a good try with it you are still uncomfortable, please see your coach for further adjustments.
What kind of cleat do I need?
No metal cleats are allowed. It is suggested players purchase football molded cleats that are designed for football.
How do I take care of my equipment?
Practice Jerseys and pants: Wash in warm water unless exceptionally dirty. In this case use hot water and spot clean soiled areas before laundering. Do not bleach. Air dry or use low heat in the dryer.
Game Jersey and pants: Wash in cool water with like colors. Pre-treat stains if necessary. Do not bleach. Air Dry. It is suggested jerseys be washed inside out unless exceptionally dirty. Do not wear game jerseys to practice or to play in. Game jerseys may, however, be worn on Fridays to promote Sunday games.
Shoulder pads: Wipe off with a clean, damp cloth. Allow to air-dry.
Helmet: Hand wash off dirt and clean interior with a clean, damp cloth. Allow to air-dry.
What happens if I forget some part of my equipment?
RYFC does not lend out equipment if it is forgotten for either games or practice sessions. A parent must either borrow missing equipment from a friend who is not using it or must go home to retrieve the missing item. On most occassions (but not all, depending on availability) a parent can purchase a mouth guard from the GHS Snack Shack. At home games mouthguards are sometimes available at the Apparel Table. Mouthguards may not be available for purchase at away games. Unfortunately, in a game or practice situation, if any equipment is missing and cannot be retrieved in time, the child will not be able to participate.
Do I have to try out for football or cheer?
No. There are no tryouts for football or cheerleading and there are mandatory play requirements, meaning every child is guaranteed to play. The minimum play requirement is 6 plays per game for A through C squad and 8 plays for D squad.
Can I request to be placed on a team with a friend?
Boys and girls are placed on cheer or football teams based on age--and with football, weight. If your friend meets the same age (and weight) criteria you do, you will probably be on the same team; provided, of course, that your friend has completed his/her registration and is not on a waiting list.
What team will my child be on?
Your league age is determined by how old you are on July 1 of the current season.
Can I request a specific Coach?
No, coach assignments are voted on by the RYFC Board.
How coaches selected?
Coaches for all football and cheer levels are volunteers with coaching experience who are able to commit to implementing RHAM Youth Football and Cheer’s commitment to attributes such as character, academics and leadership with the team they are coaching. Many of our coaches have played at all levels of the sport including on high school and college teams. Our coaches attend annual training sessions which include youth football and cheer coaching techniques. Tackle football coaches are certified through USA Football in partnership with the NFL and the CDC to learn “heads up tackling” to ensure that all players are using correct and safe form. Coaches are nationally accredited through the National Council for Accreditation of Coaching Education (NCACE). NYFC coaches are selected each year, by the board of directors, based on their previous experience and coaching performance. Each coach must submit an annual criminal records background application as well as pass multiple certification exams.
What are the maximum number of players on a team?
In Football, the maximum number of players is 35 unless the number of returning players exceeds 35. If, with returning players, the team is over 35 players, the total number of returning players on the team shall not exceed 40 players. Once a football team reaches 35 participants and once the teams enter the second week of practice, no further players will be taken from the waiting list. In Cheerleading, the maximum number of cheerleaders on a cheer squad is 30.
What will my child need for the first day of practice?
All participants will need to have a completed physical, signed by a doctor with a date in the year of the current season, turned in prior to the first day of practice. An NCFL physical form will be provided in the registration information, however, a physician may utilize any form he/she desires, parents will still need to sign the NCFL form. A period of conditioning is required for all football participants prior to any practices in pads. During this condition period all players will wear helmets, athletic shorts, t-shirts and football cleats. All football players must always have a mouth guard. Participants should bring water to all practices. Please note, that NO jewelry is to be worn. This includes bracelets, earrings, necklaces and watches
When is the first day of practice?
The first day of practice is the first week in August. The actual date changes from year to year, so please check our Events Calendar.
What is the practice Schedule?
Practices will begin in mid to late July. The first week of practice for football is strictly for conditioning. Once the required conditioning hours are complete a player may begin practicing in pads. For July practices will be on Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays. In August, before the beginning of the school year, all tackle squads will practice five weeknights, flag squads will practice two weeknights. Once school is in session, practices will be reduced to three nights a week for tackle squads returning to the Tuesday, Thursday and Friday schedule and one night a week for flag squads. The formal practice schedule for each year will be announced before the start of the season, commonly practices are expected to run from 5:30-7:30 pm for tackle football and cheer squads and 5:30-6:30 pm for flag football and flag cheer squads.
How long are practices?
Practices for all squads are two hours long.
Where are practices held?
Before school starts all practices for all squads are held at the GHS Practice Field. Once the season starts, some football teams may have Friday practice at Burnt Hill Park. Your coach will notify you if this is the case. Once the weather gets colder, cheerleaders begin practice at indoor venues. Your cheer coach will notify you when these will begin and where they will be.
Is there an attendance Policy?
Yes, attendance at practice and games is mandatory. Please refer to our bylaws for more information on excused and unexcused absences.
Do parents have to stay for practice
No. Parents must have their child at practice at least 5 minutes before their scheduled practice time. In addition, please arrive at least 5 minutes prior to the end of practice to pick up your child in the event the coach has any information to give to parents. It is unfair to the coaching staff if they must wait with a child when a parent does not arrive on time to pick up their child(ren). Do not leave siblings at the field unattended. Coaches are responsible for the supervision of the players and cheerleaders ONLY. You are welcome to stay to watch practice but at certain times during the season (cheer competitions), this policy is changed for Cheerleading Squads. If you stay to watch practice, please supervise siblings and monitor conversations and children playing soas not to interrupt or get in the way of players and cheerleaders.
What is the Game Schedule?
The RYFC Game Schedule (home and away) is on our Events Calendar. One-time (for most players) weigh-ins occur on the Saturday before the first game. Players who are at the weight limit at this time, however, will be asked at the opposing coach's discretion, to weigh in prior to the start of every game thereafter until the end of the season. Please check the Events Calendar for full League Weigh-in and its location and times.
Directions to away game fields can be found here (Fields>Directions):
Coaching staff will inform players how early prior to the game players must arrive in order to warm up.
How long are games?
NCFL Games are 1 hour and forty-five minutes long (approximately).
What is the expected time fram for the season?
The first practice will be in mid to late July. The first week of games will take place in September, all games are played on Sundays. The game schedule will consist of four home games, one bye week and four away games. Game times are as follows:
D Team – 8:45am
C Team – 11:00am
A Team – 1:00pm
B Team – 3:00pm
Playoffs are played in the middle of November followed by our annual RHAM Youth Football and Cheer Awards Ceremony late November, early December.
How many games are there?
All teams will be scheduled for 8 regular season games. A, B and C squad football players and cheerleaders will make the playoffs. D team players do not have a playoff but instead have a one-day Jamboree. Playoffs are single-elimination tournaments. If a team makes it to the championships, the season can last as many as 11 weeks.
Is there equal playing time?
Depending on the size of the team, each team has a certain number of minimum plays each player must have. These are carefully monitored by both head and assistant coaches. Not all teams (in fact very few teams) in the NCFL league have minimum plays. For more information on minimum plays based on the team's size, please review RYFC's Bylaws.