Behavior & Conduct

What are the general rules/policies for practice and during games?

1. No refunds.

2. No child will be permitted to practice that has not turned in a completed physical form, full report card, birth certificate, and completed registration form.

3. No smoking/tobacco products of any kind on practice fields.

4. No drug or alcohol use or possession at any OPW practice, game or function.

5. No littering.  We won’t have any facilities to use if we don’t take care of them!

6. Non-participating children must be supervised at all times and must not become a distraction to the teams/squads.

7. No pets at any practices or games.

8. Parents must stay in designated areas and are not permitted inside the practice areas.

If you don’t understand these rules or have questions, please ask an OPW Board Member for help.

What is the Parent's Code of Ethics? - 2017

We as adults set an example that the children participating in the program will follow. The following code of ethics is to be adhered to by all adults:
1.  Refrain from sideline coaching. Let the coaching staff, approved by the board, do their job.
2.  Do not criticize the coaches, players or cheerleaders on our own or opposing teams by word of mouth or gesture.  Cheer for our team rather than against our opponents.
3.  Accept the decision of game officials as being fair and being called to the best of their ability.
4.  Abstain from consumption of alcohol or the use of tobacco products on the playing and practice fields. This is a National Pop Warner rule.  Failure to abide by these rules could jeopardize the future of the Oceanside Pirates.
5.  Do your best to assure that all participants will have an enjoyable experience in their days with the Oceanside Pirates.
Occasionally you may disagree with the way the organization is managed or the way your child is coached. As a member of the Oceanside Pirates your opinion is important. If you have suggestions for improvements let them be known at a board  meeting.  The board’s meeting schedule is always updated own the official OPW Calendar.

Sideline gossip does nothing constructive for the children.  If you disagree with the way your child’s coach is handling the team or your child, you should take the following steps:

* Speak to the coach privately. This step resolves most disagreements.

* If you are not satisfied with the coach’s response, speak to your team’s Board Representative, the Board Member on Duty, your respective VP of Football/Cheer or another Board Member.

* If the dispute remains unsolved, bring your issues to the next regularly scheduled board meeting.

What is the Parent's Code of Conduct - 2017

S1:  In order to uphold the goals of Pop Warner and ensure that all participants have the benefit of a safe and fun learning environment, all parents, guardians and other adults and attendees of Pop Warner events, including but not limited to practices, competitions, and banquets, must behave accordingly in a respectful, courteous and sportsmanlike manner at all times.

S2:  Any adult who is using alcohol, tobacco or non-prescription drugs and/or appears intoxicated at a Pop Warner event, and/or who is flagrantly rude, attempts to intimidate, verbally abuse, heckles, taunts, ridicules, boos, throws objects and/or uses vulgarity or profane language/gestures with an official, coach, volunteer, staff member, participant or other event attendee, must receive a verbal warning and/or be asked to leave a Pop Warner event. The member organization may also provide a written warning to the individual regarding the misbehavior. The adult’s children may also be removed from the event. Any adult who commits one of the above stated offenses a second time, will be banned from any and all Pop Warner events for a period of one year from the date of the second offense, and their children may also be removed from the program(s) for that time period.

S3:  Any adult who physically assaults an official, coach, volunteer, staff member or participant or threatens grave bodily harm may be banned from any and all Pop Warner events for one year from the date of the offense, and their children may also be removed from any and all Pop Warner programs for that same period of time. After the ban has expired, if the individual commits another offense of the adult code of conduct, the individual will be permanently banned from any and all Pop Warner events and the individual’s children may also be permanently removed from any and all Pop Warner programs.


Why is Pop Warner so expensive?

Expense is relative. Compared to most recreational sports there is significantly more participation time and equipment provided to the participant. Tackle football athletes and cheerleaders are supervised in OPW programs for almost 700 hours of practice and game time during a regular season. Nearly all equipment is provided too. The cost of field time for practices and games in this area, and for equipment makes up most of the registration cost. Every coach and board member in OPW is a volunteer. Without our additional fundraising efforts, we would lose money on each participant who signs up for OPW.

What is the true cost for participation?

All Participants:

Besides the registration fees, all Oceanside Pop Warner participants will participate in a Raffle ticket fundraiser.  The tickets help cover the cost of field rentals, lights, referee fees, etc. that is not completely covered by the registration fees.

In addition, as part of a travel league, we do participate in Away games, bowls, and competitions.  Away games may include such locations as Ramona, Temecula, San Diego and more. Parents are responsible for transportation to all games.  There is no admission fee for parents to attend any Pop Warner game.


All players must provide their own footwear and any personal items, such as athletic supporters.  One mouth piece is provided for each child at the start of the season.  No clear mouth pieces are authorized.  Players are responsible for replacement mouthpieces.  Parents are encouraged to purchase additional mouth pieces because of the wear and tear will break down the plastic.

Players at the Junior Pee Wee level and above may advance to post-season play.  If a team advances to the Regional level, out-of-state travel will likely be required.  Regional championships are around Thanksgiving weekend (but subject to change).  National championships are held in Orlando, Florida at Walt Disney World in December.  Travel for the two events costs approximately $1,000 per child.  Parents are encouraged to set aside funds and participate fully in all fundraising efforts.


All cheerleaders will be provided a full and complete uniform that they will keep.  All cheerleaders will be sized before the season starts and parents must be cognizant that their child may grow during the summer period.  Parents are encouraged to factor in potential growth when they select the sizes for their child.  Uniforms once ordered are non-refundable.

Cheerleaders at the Junior Pee Wee level and above may advance to post-season competition, or be required to travel with their football team to post-season games.

All cheerleaders will participant in the Palomar Conference Cheer and Dance Competition, usually held on the last weekend in October.  The competition is held at the SDSU Viejas Sports Arena.  Entry fees for each cheerleader is paid for by Oceanside Pop Warner.  Entry for adults requires an admission fee, usually around $15-$17 dollar.  There is no entry fee for children under the age of 15.  Cheerleaders in Flag, Tiny Mite, and Mitey Mite divisions will participate in a “showcase” exhibition at the Palomar Conference Competition.  This gives them competition-style experience without the pressure of being judged.   Cheerleaders in the Junior Pee Wee and higher divisions will compete for placement.   If a team/squad advances to the Regional level, out-of-state travel will likely be required.  Regional competitions is held the weekend prior to Thanksgiving.  National competition is held in Orlando, Florida at Walt Disney World in December.  Travel for the two events costs approximately $1,000 per child.  Parents are encouraged to set aside funds and participate fully in all fundraising efforts.

What equipment does my child need that is not covered by the league?

Uniforms and safety equipment are provided for all football and cheer participants.
Parents are responsible for providing the following items for their child.
* Flag Football:  Extra mouth guards (OPW provides the first one), cleats and shorts (your coach will let you know what color)
* Tackle Football:  Extra mouth guards (OPW provides the first one), cleats, support cup, and any arm pads desired
* Cheerleading: White socks (your coach will tell you what type of sock), cheer shoes (white),bag to carry your gear around (optional)

All participants must wear proper attire to practice.  No sandals, boots, slip-on shoes, jeans, cutoffs, or clothing with buttons, zippers or snaps.

Cheerleaders must wear their hair up off their shoulders using only soft hair accessories.  No metal or plastic hair accessories allowed.  Absolutely no jewelry and is permitted; please keep this in mind if considering getting ears pierced, as the earrings MUST BE REMOVED  for practices and games.  No nail polish is permitted for practice or games.  These rules are put in place at the national level by Pop Warner Little Scholars and apply to ALL Pop Warner programs.

Can teams get Sponsors?

We are always looking for sponsors.  If you know of a business or individual willing to make a contribution, we’re interested!  We offer several different levels of sponsorship to choose from, to include free advertisement on our OPW website.  Oceanside Pop Warner is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, and contributions are tax-deductible (consult your tax professional).  For reference, your registration fees are not considered contributions, but are payment for services.
Forms for signing up sponsors are available from Board members and on our website in the Forms & Documents section.

Practices & Games

When does the Pop Warner season begin and end? When are schedules published?

Pop Warner season begins Aug. 1 for football and cheerleading. The conclusion date for each group may vary based on the team’s performance and level.  The tackle football and cheer teams’ season may be longer, especially if the teams makes it in the Palomar Conference playoffs.

The first game for flag football and cheer is generally the first Saturday in September, whereas the first game for tackle football and cheer begin the last Saturday in August.  This schedule is subject to change at the discretion of Palomar Conference.

Game schedules are set by Palomar Conference and are usually not published until late July or early August.  Regular season games are set to run until mid-October.  After October, teams that do not make it to the playoffs will have games set up by Palomar Conference on a week-to-week basis.  Palomar Conference will ensure teams of similar strength are paired up with one another for a competitive match.

* Flag Football:  Games are every Saturday starting the first week of September. Flag season generally ends in mid-October with a large tournament called Flag Fest. There is no post-season play.

* Tackle Football:  Games are held every Saturday until the regular season ends in early November.

* Training Division Teams (Mitey Mite and Jr. Mitey Mite): On the final weekend Palomar Conference hosts the Chocolate Bowl (Mitey Mite) and Chocolate Chip Bowl (Jr. Mitey Mite) evenly matching teams from throughout the conference. Training Division teams may not play invitational games or play beyond the end of the regular season.

* Competitive Division Teams (Jr. Pee Wee, Pee Wee, Jr. Varsity and Unlimited):  In a normal season tackle teams play 11 scheduled games, although sometimes teams will have 1- or 2-byes. In addition teams may play in playoff games or invitational games as late mid-December if the team advances in regional and national playoffs; or if teams decide to play at invitational bowls in places such as Hawai’i, Nevada or Arizona. With rare exception teams are only allowed to play in one invitational game.

* Cheer:  Cheer teams follow the season of the football team they are associated with through the regional playoffs. The cheer squads also have the Palomar Championships at the end of October, Wescon Regional Championship in mid-November and Nationals in early December. Cheer teams may also to compete year-round by a majority vote of the participants, with JAMZ Nationals at the end of January.

When are practices and games held? And where at?

You will be contacted by your child’s coach before the start of practices.  He/she will provide you with information regarding practice dates and times.  Practice schedules are different before the start of school, but once school starts, practices can be on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesday, and Thursdays for all teams.  Flag practice schedules will be dependent on the coach and OPW Vice President of Football/Cheer.

Due to the location and the number of OPW participants, please adhere to all traffic rules.  The parking lot between Martin Luther (MLK) and MLK Park is very small.  Many parents have parked in fire lanes and other unauthorized areas and subsequently received traffic tickets from the Oceanside Police Department.  OPW will not reimburse any parent for traffic fines.  In addition, during practice and games, please take all valuables with you (wallet/purse/bags), kept in the truck, or out of plain view.  OPW is not responsible for any lost or stolen items.

Please be aware that there is restricted access to the practice and game fields.  Only rostered personnel and certified volunteers are permitted inside the practice areas and inside the game field areas, and they must be wearing their Pop Warner ID badge at all times.  If you see any adult without an ID badge in those areas, please point them out to an OPW volunteer.

Games are played on Saturdays, unless rescheduled due to weather.  The League usually gives us the schedule a couple days before the first game, although the first game has traditionally on the last Saturday in August (Tackle Football) or the first Saturday in September (Flag football).  Please plan accordingly.   Before the first regular-season game, there may be “scrimmages” for flag and tackle football teams.  The scrimmages are usually held the weekend before the first regular-season game.   The Flag, Tiny Mite and Mitey Mite divisions usually conclude their season with an inter-league “bowl” game at the end of the season.  Locations for these may vary from year to year.  Cheerleaders are required to accompany their teams to these events.

Teams in the Junior Pee Wee division and older are eligible to compete in post-season competition based on their win/loss record.  Post-season competition may include regional and national championships and/or invitational bowls, which can run through Thanksgiving or into December, if a team goes on to nationals.  Cheerleaders are required to accompany their teams to these events.

What is the time commitment during the season (for practices and games)?

From Aug. 1 to Labor Day, OPW participants in both football and cheer generally practice every week day.  Football teams may play a Saturday scrimmage in lieu of a week day practice. After Labor Day, teams practice 3 days per week and play games on Saturdays.  This schedule may vary due to coaches’ preferences and OPW Board members’ discretion.
Practices are generally between 1 ½ to 2 hours, depending on the coach and division level.

Where does OPW teams practice?

OPW teams practice during weekdays on fields in Oceanside.  For the past several years, teams generally practice at Martin Luther King (MLK) Middle School, MLK Park, and Melba Bishop Park.  Practice space in the North County Coastal communities is extremely limited and expensive. Typically more than one-third of a participant’s registration fee goes directly to the cost of renting fields and paying for the field lights.

Where do OPW teams play home games?

OPW home games are played at Oceanside High School. Some Mitey Mite and Jr. Mitey Mite home games may also be scheduled at MLK Park (in Oceanside) and flag football for Vista Magnet Middle School depending on the number of scheduled home games.

Why don't teams have a set schedule after mid-October?

Palomar Conference can only schedule games through mid-October because that is when division playoffs begin. The conference then must determine field availability based on the next week’s playoff pairings, so all games must be scheduled week to week. All teams not in playoffs have games against similar-strength opponents through the first Saturday of November. After that date games are only played as “invitational” or as part of a regional/national playoff bracket.

Participation & Requirements

Who can participate in Pop Warner?

Boys and girls ages 5-15, who maintain a minimum of a 2.0 GPA, can participate in the Pop Warner youth program.  Those not meeting the scholastic requirements may submit  a Scholastic Eligibility Form, a progress report system designed to monitor the Participant’s grades throughout the  season.  Youth ages 5-7 can participate in flag football or flag cheer.  Older children can participate in tackle football or cheerleading.

Who can participate in the Oceanside Pop Warner (OPW) Football & Cheer Program?

In North San Diego County, Pop Warner associations follow school district boundaries. Children who live within Oceanside city boundaries or attend schools in the Oceanside Unified School District are eligible to participate in the OPW program.  Participants outside these boundaries are encouraged to sign up with their home association.

What is the academic requirement to participate?

Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. (PWLS) is the only national youth sports organization in America that requires its participants to perform adequately in the classroom before permitting them to play. We believe that the standards we have set give these children a sense of responsibility and an appreciation for academics and athletics that will help them develop later on in life.

Proof of satisfactory progress in school is required. A 2.0/70% or the equivalent shall be the minimum grade point average acceptable to participate. Those who do not meet this requirement, or home-schooled students can still play if they follow the alternative eligibility process which is monitored by progress reports

Is participation in Pop Warner Safe?

Pop Warner has a long history of providing a safe environment for all of our members. Kids compete with kids of similar age and size. Pop Warner is the ONLY youth football program (local, regional and national) that sets and enforces a strict Age & Weight Matrix that reduces the risk and reality of injuries. Did you know that Pop Warner football is safer than soccer? Pop Warner football has 12% fewer injuries per capita among 5-15 year olds than organized soccer in the same age range!.

Team Selection

Are Tryouts Allowed in Pop Warner

NO TRYOUTS! – Pop Warner programs are not permitted to hold tryouts or cutting of rosters.

What age/weight group does my child play in?

Please refer to the age/weight chart to find out which group(s) a participant qualifies for in Pop Warner. Generally, most youth qualify for more than one level. However, OPW and Pop Warner strongly recommend playing at the lowest possible level for the player’s projected age/weight on August 1.  OPW is committed to ensuring every participant is placed in the most appropriate division that will benefit both the player and the team.

Example: At March registration Johnny is 10 years old and weighs 80 pounds. His birthday is July 1. Johnny will likely gain another 3-5 pounds by August 3 and under Pop Warner rules he will be 11 years old as his birthday is on or before July 31. Therefore, Johnny qualifies to play either as an ‘Older/Lighter’ player in Jr. Pee Wee or as a regular player in Pee Wee or Jr. Midget. It is in the participant’s best interest to play at the lowest level, in this case Jr. Pee Wee. Further, Pop Warner and Palomar Conference rules require parents sign a waiver if they want to place a child at any other than the lowest possible level for which they qualify.

How are teams selected?

For flag football and Mitey Mite/Jr. Mitey Mite tackle football, teams are balanced out by agreement of the coaches. On cheerleading, teams are sometimes created on skill level and ability to participate in regional and national travel – because of the larger number of slots at the National Championships, 16x as many cheer teams qualify as football teams. OPW has sent at least one team, and often multiple teams, to the National Championships for the last several years.

Can I request my child play on a specific team, for a coach, or with a friend/carpool buddy?

No. The only requests automatically granted are for siblings on the same team (if age/weight-level appropriate). Any other request must be approved by the Player-Agent AND the OPW Board of Directors. Only in rare and exceptional cases will requests be granted.


What is OPW's Media Release policy?

Oceanside Pop Warner occasionally utilizes press releases, newspaper photos, web site articles, and web site photos to highlight and recognize our participants, teams and squads.    No personal information such as home address or phone numbers will be provided to any outside entity by OPW without your permission.  If you do not wish us to use your child’s image and/or name in this fashion, you must notify us in writing.  Such notice may be turned in to the OPW President, Vice President of Football, Vice President of Cheer, or the webmaster.

If we decide to drop from the program, can I get a refund?

No.  OPW has a NO REFUND policy.

What is the difference between Pop Warner and other youth football leagues?

Both Pop Warner and the other local start-up youth football league are NFL Youth Partners. Both have large footprints across the country, and are global.  Not only have 20 million youngsters played Pop Warner since it’s inception in 1929, approximately 70% of all NFL players played Pop Warner, according to the NFL Players Association.  Pop Warner has become a part of our sports culture in America, and an integral part of North San Diego County, including our inland area.  Pop Warner has a long tradition of developing our youth to play football and cheer at the next levels.

Pop Warner has a very strict nationally enforced age and weight matrix which aligns the size of the players at similar levels in specific divisions.  Check out the weight levels at the different divisions for other leagues you may consider.  Players need to determine for themselves whether they are comfortable playing at a particular level.  While it may seem more-inclusive to allow broader weight and age categories, we believe the broader weight categories of other youth football leagues create size mismatches that could create unsafe conditions for certain players, within certain divisions.

Pop Warner offers a variety of programs to cater to a broader number of players.  We have levels which are more developmental in nature and track to local and regional championships, and divisions which compete at the highest caliber of competitive youth football in San Diego, that track to a national Pop Warner championship at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  We also have an excellent flag program which caters to the youngest of players and a Challenger league which caters to special needs athletes.

Pop Warner provides the only national youth football program rule book, to assure consistency, and safety, throughout its entire organization.   Many times, the conferences of other youth football leagues are autonomous and self-governing with the possibility of inconsistency from one conference to another.

Pop Warner has a minimum play requirement.  Many other youth football leagues do not.  Pop Warner wants all players to feel a part of each game.  This is youth football and we believe all players should be given the opportunity to develop their skills and participate.  Pop Warner also has a run-up score rule that keeps sportsmanship in check by not allowing one team to humiliate another by winning by 50 and 60 point margins.

At the local level, OPW is a well-respected, quality program with a proven track record that speaks for itself.  Last season, we had 9 tackle teams and 2 flag teams.  Our coaches are seasoned and participate in considerable pre-season training such as mandatory online training “Coaching Youth Football: The Pop Warner Way”, Bobby Hosea’s Train ‘Em Up Academy, USA Football’s Heads Up Football and First Aid/CPR training.  Most of our coaches have played football and coached football at multiple youth levels over many years.  We work hard to prepare our players to take the field and compete at the next level.

OPW is a part of the Palomar Conference, which is the most well established and experienced football league in North San Diego County.  Palomar Conference has consistently delivered an impressive level of organization and competition.

OPW will play home games at Oceanside High School, El Camino High School, and Martin Luther King Middle School with away games being against other local Pop Warner organizations throughout North San Diego County (Vista, Carlsbad, San Marcos, Poway, Rancho Bernardo, etc.) and some in South Riverside County.   Last year, there were more than 200 Pop Warner teams in Palomar Conference representing several thousand players.  Before joining any league, it’s always a good idea to confirm where you will travel for away games.

OPW has a long history of our football players and cheerleaders moving on to play at Oceanside and El Camino High Schools.  We prepare them with the fundamental skills such as blocking, tackling, tumbling and stunting that continue to regardless of the school they attend.