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HINSDALE FALCON FOOTBALL

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

GENERAL

 

  • What is Hinsdale Falcon Football? We are a not-for-profit, community-based youth travel tackle football and cheerleading program for 2nd through 8th graders. We have been operating in and serving Hinsdale, Clarendon Hills, Burr Ridge, Westmont, Willowbrook, Oak Brook and surrounding communities for decades – since 2001 as a proud member franchise of the Bill George Youth Football League (BGYFL). Our focus is on football/cheerleading fundamentals, safety, teamwork, sportsmanship, respect, and fun.

 

  • What is the BGYFL? The BGYFL is a youth football and cheerleading league. The BGYFL has been around for more than 50 years and is currently comprised of 21 western Chicago suburban towns as member franchises. More information about the BGYFL can be found at www.bgyfl.org.

 

  • Who are your coaches and what are their qualifications? Our adult coaches are all unpaid volunteers, generally parents of current or former Falcons, who make a significant commitment to the program and to the development and safety of young football players and cheerleaders. All coaches are required to submit and successfully complete a background check through the National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI).  All football coaches also are required to be initially certified and annually re-certified prior to the start of each season through USA Football HEADS UP Football (see “Safety” below).  We do offer small stipends for our teen junior coaches, who are qualified Hinsdale Central High School football players or cheerleaders selected by us to assist our adult coaching volunteers.

 

  • Does my child need previous football experience? No.

 

  • Where can I find specific information about Cheer? See the section on our website under the “Cheerleading” tab.

 

  • How can I contact you for additional questions/information?  You can always contact us via email at and we will endeavor to promptly get back to you.

 

SAFETY

 

  • What are the elements of your commitment to safety? As with all competitive contact sports, there is risk of injury, specifically including concussions. However, the safety of our Falcon football and cheerleading participants is our #1 priority. As part of our commitment to safety, among other things:

 

  • We partner each season with a professional athletic training vendor which is contracted to provide a qualified athletic trainer at all home Falcon football games.  Nearly every member franchise of the BGYFL also does so, so substantially all away games are covered by training staff as well.

 

  • We have adopted a Concussion Protocol.  Prior to each season, we review our Concussion Protocol and request the review of our professional athletic training vendor.  A copy of our Concussion Protocol is posted to our website.

 

  • We have adopted an Emergency Action Plan (EAP).  As part of our EAP, among other elements, we maintain an automated external defibrillator (AED) device at Brook Park, the site of the majority of our home games each season.

 

  • We are a participating member organization of USA Football HEADS UP Football, as is each member franchise of the BGYFL.  Our participation requires us to appoint a dedicated Player Safety Coach (PSC) for program-wide safety coordination and also requires our PSC and each of our football coaches to take and pass a comprehensive certification course. The key components of USA Football HEADS UP Football are (1) concussion recognition and response, (2) heat preparedness and hydration, (3) sudden cardiac arrest, (4) equipment fitting, and (5) tackling/blocking techniques. Our participation also provides us and our coaches access to a great deal of news, information and data on the sport of football and safety. Additional information about USA Football and its HEADS UP Football platform can be found at www.usafootball.com.
  • We issue Riddell helmets, a premier manufacturer of football helmets and equipment.  All of our helmets are returned to Riddell at the end of each season for inspection, cleaning, repair, and reconditioning.  As a result, helmets returned to us for issuance for the upcoming season have all been re-certified by Riddell.  Our shoulder pads generally are also sent to a vendor after each season for cleaning and repair.

 

  • We issue a padded helmet cover to each Falcon football player for mandatory use in practice. The helmet covers are one-size-fits-all, are washable, and are easily attached/removed (for games). The covers are manufactured by Guardian Caps and are intended to mitigate risks of head injuries in practice. Additional information about Guardian Caps can be found at www.guardiancaps.com.

 

  • We require mandatory baseline testing to be completed by each Falcon football player, at the program’s expense, prior to the start of contact each season.   

 

REGISTRATION AND FEES

 

 

  • When am I able to register?  Registration for the 2019 season opens on April 5, 2019.

 

  • What information is required when I register? When registering, you will be required to provide your player’s name, basic contact information, guardian information, the grade your player will be entering that season, medical information, and other relevant information. You will also be required to upload a copy of your player’s birth certificate and to read, acknowledge and agree to the terms of an assumption of risk disclosure, a liability waiver and release, a medical waiver and consent to treatment, and our Code of Conduct.

 

  • What are your fees?  For the 2019 season, the fee schedule is as follows:

 

Registration Date

Registration Status

Registration Fee

April 5 – July 21, 2019

Regular Registration

$   575.00

July 21 – August 2, 2019

Late Registration

$   700.00

August 2, 2019

Registration Closed

Deadline for Withdrawal/Refund Requests

 

 

 

In order for your registration to become effective, you MUST pay the registration fee online. Your registration date for fee purposes is determined based on the date you complete your registration, including payment.

 

  • What are the fees used for? We believe we offer a tremendously affordable value compared to other youth travel sports programs.  Operating our non-profit program, however, incurs significant costs.  We rely primarily on registration fees to fund our operations each year, supplemented only by charitable donations to our program, our other fundraising efforts, corporate/community sponsorships, and Spirit Wear sales.  Your registration fees are used to pay for, among other things:  league dues (including referee fees), costs of new/replacement equipment (including helmets and helmet covers), professional athletic training services fees, annual equipment reconditioning expenses, costs of new/replacement game uniforms, field/facility usage fees, practice field lighting rental charges, Spirit Wear inventory costs, expenses incurred with fundraising events/initiatives/activities, and advertising/promotional expenses, as well as administrative expenses, professional fees (tax and legal), and annual insurance premiums.  We seek to actively manage and contain our costs to maintain our registration fees at a reasonable level.

 

  • Is a discount available for multiple children in the program? Yes, we offer discounts for three children or more (across football and cheer).  Please email us at .

 

  • Are full or partial scholarships available? For special hardship/need-based circumstances we have granted a full or partial scholarship.  Please email us at if you believe you may qualify.

 

 

EQUIPMENT

 

  • What equipment does the program provide? We currently provide the majority of the necessary football equipment: helmet, padded helmet cap (see “Safety” above), chin strap, shoulder pads, knee pads, practice and game pants, and practice and game jerseys.  You are also free to purchase your own helmet, chin strap, shoulder pads, knee pads, and practice pants (which can include integrated hip, thigh, knee and other padding).

 

  • What equipment must I provide?  You must provide other required equipment that we do NOT provide, including:  mouthguard, athletic protector/cup, cleats, integrated padded girdle (with thigh, hip and tailbone pads), and integrated padded compression shirt (with rib and shoulder protection).  All are available at DICK’S Sporting Goods, one of our corporate sponsors, including online at www.dickssportinggoods.com. DICK’S Sporting Goods sponsorship of our program includes valuable coupons and special discounted shopping days for Falcon families which help to defray the cost of the equipment you will need to provide.  You will receive information and details on those benefits prior to the start of the season.

 

  • When and how do I get the equipment you provide? In mid-to-late July, we hold an equipment handout weekend at Brook Park, Hinsdale where players are fitted with and issued the football equipment that we provide. You will have plenty of notice of that weekend. While we strongly prefer that you attend our equipment handout if at all possible, we will endeavor to accommodate special arrangements. Equipment provided by us must be returned to us after the season.  We require an equipment rental/return agreement form to be completed and a credit card to be furnished at equipment handout which is only charged if equipment is not returned or is damaged when returned. You are always free to purchase your own equipment and we can assist in putting you in touch with our vendors.

 

SEASON AND GAME SCHEDULE

 

  • When does the 2019 season officially start?  As of April 5, 2019, the 2019 BGYFL calendar has not yet been finalized.  However, the 2019 season is expected to officially start on Monday, July 29 when teams are eligible to begin pre-season summer practice (see “Practice Schedule and Locations” below).  Opening game weekend generally is the 4th weekend after the beginning of pre-season practice – accordingly, opening weekend for 2019 is expected to be the weekend of August 24-25.

 

  • How many games are in the season?  We expect there to be 8 regular season games for 2019.

 

  • When does the season end?  The season ends between the end of October and early-to-mid-November, depending on how far a team advances in the playoffs and when the BGYFL’s championship weekend is scheduled.  There are two rounds of playoffs immediately following the end of the regular season on consecutive weekends, followed by the BGYFL’s championship weekend. The BGYFL’s championship weekend generally takes place in early-to-mid November at Benedictine University in Lisle.  For the 2019 season, the BGYFL has tentatively reserved the weekend of November 2-3 for championship weekend.  All teams are eligible for the playoffs within their division (depending on regular season record/seeding), except for our introductory 8U level which generally has the opportunity to elect to play one playoff-style game the weekend after the last game of the regular season.

 

  • When are games played?  Games are played on Saturday or Sunday, with the only exceptions generally being games postponed and rescheduled due to weather which generally occur on a weeknight.  Game start times are generally from 8:30 AM through 4:00 PM.  Games last approximately 1.5 hours.  Players are required to arrive at games no later than 1 hour before the scheduled game time for weigh-ins.  The 2019 game schedule is expected to be available by mid-August.

 

  • Where are the games played?  Our home field is Brook Park, located at the far east end of Third Avenue in Hinsdale.  Subject to availability, teams may also play certain home games at Hinsdale Central High School.  Away games are played at various locations around the BGYFL.  Most away games are no more than a 15-30 minute drive.

 

  • Are there pre-season scrimmages? There are a number of pre-season bowls, jamborees, and scrimmages held on weekends in August that Falcons teams can participate in in order to enhance practice and preparedness for the regular season.  Participation is up to your team’s coaching staff.

 

 

PRACTICE SCHEDULE AND LOCATIONS

 

  • What is the practice schedule?  As noted under “Season and Game Schedule” above, the 2019 season is expected to officially start on Monday, July 29 when teams are eligible to begin pre-season summer practice.  Depending on level/team, pre-season summer practice generally is 4-5 days per week until the start of the school year.  After the start of the school year (generally in mid-late August), practice is limited to 3 days per week (generally Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday).  During the season, some levels/teams will also hold film sessions and/or walk-throughs.

 

  • How long are practices?  Practices usually run between 90 minutes and 2 hours long.  Practices usually start between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM.  Your team’s actual practice schedule may vary slightly depending on level and coaching staff. 

 

  • Where are practices?  Each team’s 2019 practice field assignment will be determined before the start of practice.  For our younger levels, we have utilized practice fields at Oak School, Clarendon Hills Middle School, Veeck Park, Peirce Park, and Burns Field, among others.  Our Senior/Varsity (8th grade) and JV/12U (7th grade) levels generally practice at Hinsdale Central High School.  In the event of inclement weather, some of our teams may practice indoors at a local indoor sports facility. 

 

  • Does a parent need to be present at practice? No, a parent is not required to attend practice.  However, parents must be readily accessible via phone in the event of an emergency or a change in weather or field conditions where practice will need to end early.  We also expect parents to promptly drop off and pick up their child (or make arrangements to do so) at the allotted start/end times for all practices. 

 

LEVELS AND TEAMS

 

  • What are the various levels and how will my player be placed on a level?  Your player will be assigned to a level by age.  There are 6 sequential levels in the BGYFL:

 

  • 8U (introductory level, generally 2nd/3rd graders, must not have turned 9 years old by August 1)

 

  • 9U (generally 4th graders, must not have turned 10 years old by August 1)

 

  • 10U (generally 5th graders, much not have turned 11 years old by August 1)

 

  • 11U (generally 6th graders, must not have turned 12 years old by August 1)

 

  • JV/12U (generally 7th graders, must not have turned 13 years old by August 1)

 

  • Senior/Varsity (generally 8th graders, must not be enrolled in high school)

 

Each player will be rostered at a level solely based on age (noting the August 1 birthday cut-off).  League rules generally prevent older players to play down at a level lower than their age would require.  However, younger players may qualify to play at a level higher than their age/grade would warrant, if deemed appropriate by us in consultation with the player’s coaches and parents.

 

  • Are there weight rules and restrictions?  The BGYFL incorporates the concept of “stripers” at each level, meaning that heavier players for their age/level will be required to play exclusively on the offensive and/or defensive line.  Stripers are identified by a colored stripe on the top of their helmet.  The 2019 BGYFL Weight Chart specifies the striper weight threshold for each level and will be posted to our website when available from the league.

 

  • What are the teams and how will my player be placed on a team within a level?  Within each level, there will generally be a Gold team and, if numbers permit, a Silver team.  Both the Gold and Silver divisions are highly competitive, but the Gold division is intended for more experienced players/competition while the Silver division is intended to be more developmental.  If there are multiple teams within a level, your player will be placed on a team by the coaching staff at the applicable level.  Age, weight and experience, among other things, are all considerations in team assignments.  Team sizes can range from 13 players up to 26 players (the league maximum).