In 1929, in Northeast Philadelphia, Joseph J. Tomlin suggested that the building owners get together to fund an athletic program for the kids.
In 1933, the Junior Football Conference had expanded to 16 teams. Glenn Scobey “Pop” Warner arrived in Philadelphia to coach the Temple Owls. By 1934, with the help of “Pop” Warner, the youth program was renamed the Pop Warner Conference.
Tomlin’s dream finally became a reality when Pop Warner Little Scholars was officially incorporated as a national non-profit organization in 1959. The name was selected to underscore the basic concept of Pop Warner- that the classroom is as important as the playing field.
Walt Disney, attracted by this philosophy, filmed a two-hour show, “Moochie of Pop Warner Football.” It aired on ABC in 1960, and can still be seen today on the Disney cable channel.
Today, there are over 400,000 boys and girls, ages 5-16, participating in Pop Warner programs in the United States. Teams in Mexico, Japan and other countries have also joined the “Pop Warner family.” There are now over 5,000 football teams, playing in eight different age/weight classifications.
Pop Warner Regional Breakdown
7,600–10,000 Network Members Per League
CHEER & DANCE TEAMS
SPECTATORS AT CHEER COMPETITIONS
SOMETHING TO CHEER FOR
FOOTBALL STARTS HERE
Pop Warner implemented the first youth sport concussion policy requiring that any participant removed from practice, play or competition due to a head injury or suspected concussion may not return to Pop Warner activities until evaluated – and receives written clearance – by a licensed medical professional trained in the evaluation and management of concussions, based on Washington State’s 2009 Lystedt Law.
Pop Warner formed an independent Medical Advisory Committee led by neurosurgeons, researchers and sports medicine professionals. The committee is focused on the prevention, proper identification and treatment of concussions; hydration awareness and proper nutrition guidelines; and general health and safety issues.
Pop Warner becomes the first youth football organization to officially limit contact during practices. Pop Warner banned full-speed head-on, blocking or tackling drills in which the players line up more than 3 yards apart.
Pop Warner coaches are trained in USA Football’s Heads Up Football Program, where safer approaches to tackling and blocking are emphasized.
The Heads Up Football Program combined with Pop Warner’s contact restrictions showed 87% fewer overall injuries and 76% fewer concussions in practice than non-Pop Warner programs that do not do Heads Up Football training in 2014, according to a study by Datalys. Pop Warner programs also had 24% fewer overall injuries than non-Pop Warner programs that did do Heads Up Football training.
Pop Warner become the first national football organization to eliminate kickoffs. The rule will take effect in the three youngest divisions when the season begins this fall, is aimed at significantly reducing the amount of full-speed, head-on impact in games.