American Youth Football, founded in 1996, provides the opportunity for young athletes across the world to play the game of football in a positive and competitive environment. Fundamentals, sportsmanship, physical standards are just a part of the AYF mission, and from its nine domestic regions, to countries abroad, coaches, athletes and volunteers help maintain this standard of excellence.
AYF has two distinct membership structures and divisions of play for its competitive base including Local and Tournament.
AYF Local Membership Structure stays true to the AYF objective of remaining non-intrusive and supporting all football and cheer teams regardless of their competitive intentions. Local Membership organizations are organizations that DO NOT want to be eligible to participate in AYF/AYC post-season play or in AYF/AYC inter-league competitions. Local members have the freedom to participate as a member of AYF without strictly abiding to the many conditions listed in the Official AYF Rules and Regulations Manual. Local programs are free to play in accordance with their own locally adopted and current governing rules and divisions, so long as their rules subscribe to the following governing principles:
c. Full Participation (everyone plays)
Excluding these minimal requirements, local membership structured organizations can maintain independence in creating a customized organizational and program structure that fits their local communities needs, while having the advantage of AYF services and benefits.
AYF National/Tournament Membership Structure pertains to those members that desire the eligibility to participate in AYF Regional and National Championships, pre/post season games/tournaments, all-star programs and other AYF sanctioned competitive events. These members must strictly abide by AYF Official Rules and Regulations. Rules must be followed during pre-season, in-season, and post-season play (year round). These members must organize their teams into their chosen AYF divisional structures.
National Tournament teams are eligible and will be first considered to receive giveaways and recognition programs including: All-Star, scholarships, awards, and invitations to special events.
Important: Organizations that register as Tournament/National Members are NOT required to participate in AYF Regional or National championships. The National Tournament Membership Structure simply provides a more rigid membership structure that will help members establish a program which institutes best practices to establish a strong and stable community youth football cheer organization.
Rules & Regulations
AYF recommends and follows, for regional and national tournament play, NFHS rules. NFHS rules are the standard in high school sports rules and regulations and by adopting and playing in accordance with these rules you are providing for a smoother transition for youth participants should they choose to compete at a higher level. To receive a copy of the NFHS rules go to nfhs.org.
AYF rulebooks are posted at MYAYF.com. Members must use the password and username emailed to upon joining. If your league or conference is a member of AYF and you are a coach or team personnel and don't have a username and password, ask your league administrator to add you to the account.
Read below for a breakdown of the AYF Instructional, National and All-American divisions broken down by age, division and weight classification.
** Any “Sweat Down” or Extreme” weight loss used by a player to make weight will be grounds for immediate suspension for the players own safety. Any Coach, Administrator or Team Personnel found to have advised, encouraged, or tolerated any “Sweat Down” or “Extreme” weight loss techniques will be grounds for immediate suspension. Suspension will be anywhere from one year to permanent depending on severity. Head Coaches will be held responsible for the actions of all team personnel.
Off Season Football
AYFs regular season is in the Fall. However, football programs in AYF may participate in football year round and depending on circumstance, may be covered under their annual AYF inurance coverage through Sadler & Co Insurance.
AYF acknowledges Spring Football and Summer Passing Leagues. AYF recommends that any Conference, Association, Team participating in Spring Football and/or Summer Passing Leagues do so by following the format established by their local High School or State High School Athletic Governing Board.
Great care should be taken to not interfere with other spring and summer sports such as baseball, lacrosse, and family vacations. AYF requires that NO pressure be placed on individuals to participate. Coaches that “require” or in anyway manipulate fall participants to join or participate in anyway or who do not plan and allow for participation in other sports and family vacations should be immediately suspended from coaching any team during the regular (fall) season. Conferences are required to monitor any spring or summer events. AYF encourages organizations to enlist the help and support of their local high school football programs for any spring football program and may benefit by utilizing the junior and senior Football players from their local high school to organize and officiate any passing league or tournament. This allows the "Kids to Play" and should be run as a "Drop in and Play" format.
AYF Terms & Definitions
A Region is defined as a geographic territory. The nine regional territories that make up AYF can be found here. Each region hosts a Regional Championship that qualifies eligible teams for the National Championships.
A Conference is defined by the geographic boundary of its membership. A Conference’s membership is the Associations that have applied for, and have been granted membership, by the Conferences governing body. In keeping with the AYF Goals & Beliefs, no application for membership should be unreasonably withheld.
An Association is often defined as a local city, or town. The Association may be restricted by its Conference from drawing participants from certain geographic territory/boundaries. The acceptable method and determination of what participants can register within any given Association will be governed by the Conference/Region to which it is a member. An Association's membership is the Participants that have applied for, and have been granted membership, by the Association's body.
A Participant is defined as a 'youth' that has applied for and has been granted membership within a given Association.
A Division is defined as a grouping of Teams in specific Age and Weight Class or Grade or Age Class. AYF offers the following competitive Divisions: National and All-American. These Divisions are defined below.
A Team is defined as a grouping within an age and weight class such as: Junior PeeWee, PeeWee, Junior Midget, Midget or any Grade in the Grade based Age Protected division.