Days after the Crusaders Pop Warner football association in Clark, New Jersey (part of the Jersey Valley Pop Warner Conference) canceled its season, citing low numbers and blaming a startup flag football league, the association appears to be getting back on the field.
Mike Bruno, a former coach, president and commissioner for Clark Pop Warner, didn’t like the fact that the St. Agnes Catholic Youth Organization resurrected flag football this year after a long absence in the community, thereby reducing the number of players in the Pop Warner association and forcing the cancelation of this fall’s Pop Warner season. So he rallied local support and is now the association’s commissioner, overseeing a new roster of executive board members.
“When I heard about what was happening with Clark Pop Warner, I knew I had to do something,” Clark told the neighborhood news site TapintoClark.com. “This isn’t just about football and cheerleading; it’s about tradition and making lifelong friends. I know all the other things that the kids get out of Clark Pop Warner, and I knew that this was something that needed to continue.”
The association released a statement introducing the new executive board, its efforts to maintain Pop Warner Football in Clark and noted that details about registration and camps will be forthcoming.
Meanwhile, 30 minutes west of Clark, the Warren County Midget Football League has implemented a helmet rule for all flag football players between ages 5 and 8. They are to wear soft protective headgear manufactured by Gamebreaker, making the WCMFL the first flag football organization in New Jersey — and the entire Northeast — to mandate helmets, according to MyCentralJersey.com.
“By 2017, every flag team must provide and use the protective headgear, and as a part of their commitment to see through the implementation, league president Dan Eggemann has approved a one-time credit to each team in an effort to help offset the expenses associated with the mandated use of protective headgear,” the news site reports, adding that “this type of league-backed financial support is not the norm in youth sports, where many athletic clubs direct equipment costs straight to the participating families.”