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RHAM Youth Football and Cheerleading

RHAM Youth Football and Cheerleading

Frequently Asked Questions


What is RHAM Youth Football and Cheer?

RHAM Youth Football & Cheerleading, Inc. (RYFC) is a non-profit youth organization in Connecticut, serving Hebron, Andover, Marlborough, Bolton, Columbia, Coventry, Amston, Lebanon and surrounding towns. Since 1970 our league has been 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.

Is RYFC part of another League or does it operate on its own?

RHAM Youth Football and Cheer is a proud member of the Southern New England Youth Football Conference (SNEYFC). As a member of the SNEYFC, RYFC will have the opportunity to compete against the other 14 teams in the league.

The SNEYFC operates in accordance with a set of bylaws under which RYFC also operates. In addition to SNEYFC bylaws, RYFC employs and operates under its own set of bylaws. The SNEYFC Bylaws govern all towns in the SNEYFC, although individual towns will impose their own bylaws which are necessary for running the particulars of their own organization within the SNEYFC.  All towns who participate in the SNEYFC league have representatives to the SNEYFC Board of Directors.

For the SNEYFC Home Page & Bylaws, go to

Where must I live to be able to participate on RHAM Youth Football and Cheerleading?

Our organization serves the Connecticut towns of Hebron, Andover, Marlborough, Bolton, Columbia, Coventry, Amston and Lebanon, but participants from other towns in Connecticut may be eligible, based on SNEYFC rules. Please reach out to us via email at [email protected]

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 Directors 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 family participation is expected?

RYFC families are expected to participate in fundraising and volunteering that help fund and maintain the operation of the RHAM Youth Football and Cheerleading program. While families do have an option to buy out of their obligations, RYFC encourages everyone to strongly consider participating. Current fundraising and volunteering requirements can be found on our Registration page.

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 SNEYFC 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 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.

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 families must adhere to?

The SNEYFC and RYFC have a Code of Conduct as well as other rules and regulations for everyone in the organization to follow to ensure a fun, safe, and educational experience for all participants. Please review the SNEYFC Bylaws and our RYFC Bylaws for this and other important information.

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 as the season gets started. 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/or the GameChanger app.

Who can I contact if I have questions?

If you have any additional questions you may contact any member of the RYFC Board of Directors or reach out us 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 jerseys. 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?

Football equipment is issued after all registration fees are paid. Please reach out to your head coach or our Football Equipment Manager for more information.

Cheerleading uniforms will be issued during the first week of official League practice, usually starting in August. Please reach out to your head coach or our Cheerleading Equipment Manager for more information.

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. 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 head coach for further adjustments.

What kind of cleat do I need?

No metal cleats are allowed. It is recommended 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 occasions (but not all, depending on availability) a parent can purchase a mouthguard 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 everyone makes the team.

Can I request to be placed on a team with a friend?

Each team/squad, both for football and cheerleading, is age based with critieria set by the SNEYFC. RYFC is unable to make any exceptions to these rules.

What team will my child be on?

During the registration process you will be asked to enter your player(s)/cheerleader(s) birthday(s). The registration portal will then display the applicable division your participant is able to join.

Can I request a specific Coach?

No, coach assignments are voted on by the RYFC Board.

How are coaches selected?

Please review the RYFC Bylaws for the Head Coach and Assistant Coach selection criteria and process. 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).

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 league practice?

All participants will need to have completed the registration process, including the medical information & waiver form as well as signing up for all required guardian participation duties before the first practice. 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 league practice?

The first day of full league 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?

Optional practices will begin in June for those who are able to participate. The schedule and location will be communicated by the Head Coach. League practices will begin the first week of August. Once the required conditioning hours are complete a player may begin practicing in pads. 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, on a 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 tackle squads are typically two hours long.

Where are practices held?

Practices for all squads are typically held at the Gilead Hill School Practice Field in Hebron, CT, however, either due to scheduling or weather, practices may be held at surrounding fields or schools. 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?

Football and Cheerleading are team sports, and as such RYFC expects every player & cheerleader to attend every practice and game. If you have issues with transportation please reach out to your Team Parent or Head Coach to find a solution, or reach out to the Board of Directors at [email protected] and we will make every effort to assist.

Do guardians have to stay for practice?

No. Guardians must have their player/cheerleader at practice at least 10 minutes before their scheduled practice time. In addition, please arrive at least 10 minutes prior to the end of practice to pick up your player/cheerleader in the event the coach has any information to give to guardians. It is unfair to the coaching staff if they must wait with a player/cheerleader when a guardian does not arrive on time to pick up. 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 so as 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 shortly after being published by the SNEYFC.

Coaching staff will inform players how early prior to the game players must arrive in order to warm up.

How long are games?

Games are typically between 1.5 and 2 hours.

What is the expected time frame for the season?

The first league practice will be the first week of August. The first week of games will take place in late August/early September. All games are played either on Saturdays or Sundays, with all home games on Sundays. The game schedule will consist of 10 games, evenly divided between home and away games.  Playoffs are played in the middle/end of November.

How many games are there?

All divisions will be scheduled for 10 regular season games. In addition, Senior, Junior, and Micro divisions participate in post-season playoffs. For the current playoff format please read the SNEYFC Bylaws.

Is there equal playing time/minimum play rules?

Please see the RYFC Bylaws for more information on this and other important items.


RHAM Youth Football and Cheerleading
P.O. Box 209 
Hebron, Connecticut 06248

Email: [email protected]

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