In a windfall off season that has been the most active since 2011 in South Florida with several youth football programs changing leagues, the Greater Miami South Florida Pop Warner League has come out seemingly on top. Earlier this week it was confirmed that the league has added three teams from Pompano Beach, Florida strengthening it’s impressive off-season haul that has seen the addition of the Tamiami Colts from the Miami Dade Xtreme Youth Football League, the Parkland Rangers from the Treasure Coast Pop Warner League and the Lauderhill Lions of the B.E.S.T. Youth Football League.
Miami Pop Warner, a league with such great tradition, is seemingly back after going through the most difficult time since the days shortly after the NYFL was formed taking several teams from the city of Miami away. Those teams came back in 2009 and now it appears Pop Warner is back.
On Monday’s Hotbed Radio Show, the nation’s leading youth football talk radio program, coach Xavier Carter called the show to report that Pop Warner had accepted the Pompano Cowboys, Chiefs and Steelers to become members of their league. The pronouncement was later confirmed via the Facebook account of Pop Warner board members. The move was expected, but not a certainty. Reason being, the B.E.S.T. Youth Football League of Broward County was seemingly ready to fold as three of its seven teams applied for entrance into the Florida Youth Football League. The Pompano teams wanted into the FYFL also but were told their applications would not be considered because they came after the March 1st deadline set by the league.
Several weeks later, the Lions applied for and gained admittance into Miami Pop Warner and Monday, the Pompano three followed suit.
The impact of the move cannot be understated. Miami Pop Warner was a league that though rich in history, it was beginning to suffer a problem with registrations and thus competition on many of its four competitive pounds (Junior Pee, Pee Wee, Junior Midget and Midget).
Prominent parks with history didn’t even field field teams for all four of the ‘traveling pounds’ that get a chance to hit the road to compete for regional and national titles after winning the local super bowl dubbed the ‘Sean Taylor Classic‘ in memory of the late great Miami Hurricane and Washington Redskins’ safety from the Miami area.
Last year alone, only five of the seven division one programs in Miami Pop Warner fielded Midget teams (Pop Warner’s featured age group, 14&U) and two parks were missing junior midget programs.
But now it seems many of those issues are going to be alleviated.
The Broward County teams coming into the league historically haven’t had many issues fielding full teams at each age and weight level in their previous league associations. With the possible exception of the Steelers and Rangers, the new Broward Pop Warner teams will likely field division one programs with all weight divisions completely filled for competition based on their history.
And they’ll be good too.
In the same weight schematic as Pop Warner in 2013 as members of the United Football League, the Pompano Chiefs won a national championship at Junior Midget. That same team is eligible to return to Midgets in Greater Miami this year. They would likely be strong contenders with the junior midget team moving up from Liberty City to midget (providing the kids do not go to junior varsity football in high school).
Either way, the competition level in Pop Warner has increased almost overnight. Lauderhill was a perennial playoff contender as were the Cowboys and Chiefs in the B.E.S.T League and prior to that, the SFYFL. With the Steelers adding depth and the buzz in Broward now circling around Pop Warner, the competition level will be fierce. It’s a win-win for Miami Pop Warner.
Not to mention those four programs will have something to prove to the FYFL who denied them entry. This should be a very competitive year in Pop Warner football in South Florida.
Additionally, sources tell Football Hotbed that both the Western Tigers program and Northeast Hollywood Eagles who currently belong to the South Florida Youth Football League are being told to head to Pop Warner also. That move would effectively shut down two leagues that have been hanging on by threads. The B.E.S.T and the SFYFL that in 2010 had 30 programs under its umbrella before a national betting scandal helped the league reach its demise.