If you’re looking for a great sporting activity for your son or daughter and want something a bit different than the typical school program, check out the Naperville Chargers Football and Cheer organization.
We talked with John Gaca, VP of football and recruiting, to ask him more about what it is.
1. What exactly is the Naperville Chargers Football program?
The Naperville Chargers is a youth football and cheer program that is part of Pop Warner. Within Chicago alone, there are over 25 towns that participate in Pop Warner Football and Cheer.
Pop Warner is the nation’s largest and oldest youth football and youth cheerleading organization with over 425,000 participants in 44 states
3. Can girls participate?
More than 180,000 children are participating in Pop Warner cheerleading and dance around the world.
4. What age ranges of kids participate?
5. What are some of the advantages/reasons kids may do this over a school or another park district program?
We find that the kids that participate in the Naperville Chargers are looking for a more serious commitment then a typical school or park district program. One thing that separates Pop Warner from those other programs is that each of our coaches must go through a certification process.
6. Do kids change positions to learn various skills or is it set up to play at the position they’re best at?
Each of our coaches wants to put a player in a position that will provide the player the greatest opportunity to succeed. Because we have no restrictions on where players can play, most players have both offensive and defensive positions.
7. How long are the games? Are they officiated with traditional football rules?
Our games are 4, 10 minute, quarters and are officiated by official IHSA referees. The same ones that are working the high school games.
8. How often and when is practice? How often and when are games?
Our practices occur at 111th and Book road, and during the season coaches are able to practice 6 hours per week, or 3, 2-hour, practices. Our home games are played at Naperville North H.S on the Varsity field on Sundays.
9. What is the cost to participate?
We run an early bird special each year where kids can register for $400. For our Tiny Mite team (5-7 year olds), the cost is only $200.
10. How can parents get involved in the program? What can they help with?
We are a 100% volunteer, Non-profit, organization and are always looking for parents to get involved!
We truly have a great group of coaches involved in the program…the best I have seen. With that brings good families. As volunteers, we certainly spend many hours away from our families coaching this sport that we all love, so it is important to be surrounded by good people. Plus, with Pop Warner as our parent organization, there is a great consistent rule structure that all towns follow.
12. What do you hope kids/parents get out of participating?
With the craziness of youth sports, I want each of the kids to gain enough knowledge of the game so they can personally decide if it is the right sport for them. As an organization we focus on teaching kids the fundamentals of the game, so if they choose to continue to play in high school they are properly prepared. With that said, we want players and parents to certainly gain new friendships and have some great life long memories along the way!