Raptors Football FAQ’s:
Q. How did Raptors Athletics come to be?
A. Cougars Athletics and Dolphins Youth Sports decided to come together and offer youth sports programs to the Castle Rock and Castle Pines areas. With the help and input from our great community the name "Raptors" was chosen and Raptors Athletics was formed.
Q. When can I register for football?
A. Registration for the current season will be from March 1st thru July 17th (dates are subject to change). Please click on the registration tab on the home page or on the left tool bar to register.
Q. How much will it cost to register to play football? (Registration pricing for 2024 season!)
A. Pricing: March 1st to July 27th - Registration $375 (1st-3rd grade/rookie)
March 1st to June 14th - Registration $475 (4th-8th grade) - Regular Registration Rate
June 15th to July 27th - Registration $550 (4th-8th grade) - Late Registration Rate
*Note - Other fees may apply to late registration for expediting Jersey orders, etc.
Q. When registering what grade should I register for?
A. You should register for the grade that your player will be in during the FALL of the NEW school year. For example, if your player is currently in kindergarten and going to be in 1st grade for the start of the 2023-2024 school year, then you would register your player for 1st grade football.
Q. When registering what should I do if I don't see my coach listed who my player played for last year?
A. On the drop down menu choose the option "Didn't play for Raptors last year." A blank box will appear and you can fill in your coaches name.
Q. Once registered do I need to pay the total at this time?
A. Yes, you should pay the total right after you register. If you don't pay after 3 days your registration will be deleted. If this happens after a price increase then you will have to pay the current cost of whatever the registration rate is when you re-register.
Q. Why do I have to upload my players birth certificate for registration?
A. Once your birth certificate is uploaded you won't have to do it again. Birth certificates are also required by the AYL to verify your players age for team rosters.
Q. What does registration fee cover?
A. The fee covers many items including but not limited to:
- Registration costs which are league fees, insurance costs, coach background checks, etc.
- Practice costs such as practice field usage and permits, coaching and practice equipment.
- Game costs such as game field usage and permits, including weekly field set up/tear down, official’s costs, website scheduling, score reporting costs, field lights and official’s evaluation costs.
- Raptors Football operating expenses such as equipment, bank fees, ongoing coaching evaluations and education, administration costs, copying, misc, etc.
Q. What are Club Evaluations (NFC Tryouts) and should my player attend?
A. The AYL has moved away from AFC and NFC divisions. Every team per age group is seeded from 1-however many teams are in that particular age group. Thus, there are no more "NFC Tryouts." Now there are CLUB Tryouts for each age group (depending on if that age group needs to hold a tryout). Some seasons NOT ALL AGE GROUPS WILL HAVE TRYOUTS. These tryouts are for players within each age group wanting to compete with the highest seeded team. Every player participating in Club Tryouts must be registered. To register please go to the registration tab on the main Raptors Football page. You can also find more information under the Club Tryouts tab on the left hand side of the main football page.
Q. Who may participate in Raptors Football?
A. Any child age 6 to 14, (grades 1st thru 8th only, excluding high school students). In some limited situations we do allow 5 year olds (K grade) to play up to age 6. This situation requires a discussion with a Raptors Football representative.
We serve the Castle Rock and Castle Pines areas. However, players from outside this territory can still play within the Raptors football program, yet are subject to a few additional requirements. Should you wish to play Raptors football or you are unsure as to which Club Territory you live in, please contact one of the Raptors football representatives.
Q. What is "Rookie Tackle" Football?
A. "Rookie Tackle" Football was started in 2019 and is for 1st-3rd grade only. This is a developmental division for the little guys who want to learn how to play football. This is still tackle football, but special teams like kick-offs and punts have been taken out to limit full on collisions. Full offense and defense will be coached and rosters are a little smaller (max 16 per roster) so every player gets a ton of play time. Coaches are allowed on the field during play at all times to help teach while the game is being played. This is 8 vs. 8 football so coaches can manage the players on the field better, and there are no blitzes allowed. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for any other questions about this new and exciting division within the AYL.
Q. If my player is in 8th grade can he play down in the 7th grade age group?
A. Raptors is dedicated to getting all of its football players ready for high school football. Raptors Football will attempt to have all 8th grade players play in 8th grade. If there is no team that matches the skill level of the player, that player may play down into the 7th grade age group with the approval of the Raptors Football Director. In addition, all AYL rules pertaining to this must be followed (see AYL rules for more info on this). All other grades you may play down as long as it is within the AYL rules and guidelines, which does not need the Raptors Football Directors approval.
Q. What equipment will my son need and how much should I expect to pay for it and where is the best place to purchase it?
A. The following is required: Game Day Jerseys (Home/Away) and they are NOT included in the registration fee and must be purchased at the Raptors official vendor which is BSN. They will need practice jersey, matte black helmet, mouth guard, shoulder pads, black football pants with pads. It is not mandatory that they have cleats however; they are a good idea when playing on grass. Depending on the equipment purchased, equipment costs can be anywhere from $150.00 to $500.00+ (depending on brand and quality of equipment). It is very important that your son not play with a helmet that is more than 2 years old or has been refurbished.
Q. What kind of helmets do you offer and where can I get them?
A. In 2023, the Raptors will offered Riddell and Schutt helmets (subject to change). The Raptors Football board has worked hard this year and worked out an exclusive deal for our club. Schutt helmets are still offered through Eastbay. Riddell is offered through their respective brand, and both will be at our Spring and Summer fittings. To order go to the home football page and on the left side look for each brands tab (i.e. "Riddell Helmets"). Once you click on that respective brands tab it will take you directly to the Raptors store where you can purchase that brand of helmet. Schutt helmets will be under the tab that says "BSN Football Gear."
Q. How do I get helmet decals for my player(s) helmet(s)?
A. If helmet decals are needed, these will be issued to each teams head coach based on need. If your player is using a helmet from last season, which has decals on it, those decals can be used again for the current season. You can also check with your teams head coach or age group leader for when decals will be issued to each team. This usually happens a couple of weeks before the first game (middle of August).
Q. When and where are the equipment fittings, and what should I expect at these?
A. Raptors Football usually holds multiple fittings at our local high schools or other locations. The dates will vary throughout the Spring and Summer and will be communicated over email to all who have chosen to receive Raptors Football emails. At the fittings, everyone will receive an order form for each family to write down and track what equipment they have been fitted for (helmet, shoulder pads, game jersey, etc.). You will then take this form home with you and get on to the Raptors Football home page. Once on the football home page you can select one of the vendor tabs on the left hand side of the page (i.e.- Riddell Helmets, BSN Equipment, etc.) and purchase your equipment from the comfort of your own home. Your equipment will then be shipped directly to your home and there is no waiting in lines! Game jerseys will be delivered to each teams head coach prior to the first game of the season.
Q. Who should I contact if I have a question about the vendor or any equipment/merchandise that I have purchased from Eastbay Team Sales, Riddell or Xenith?
A. BSN: Jeremy Nicholas, 720-717-0725. Jeremy's information can also be found under our contacts tab.
Q. If I have a glossy black helmet from last year can I use it?
A. Yes you can! All we ask is that if/when you are in the market for a new helmet that you purchase the matte black color with black face mask.
Q. Can I choose what team or what Coach that my child will play for?
A. The Arapahoe Youth League has 1 level of play (Started in 2021): THERE IS NO MORE NFC, AFC North and AFC South divisions.
All age groups will be in one large division and then seeded from top to bottom. For example, if there are 20 teams in an age group then that age group will be seeded 1-20. The top top 8 or 9 teams will not play the bottom seeds and so on and so forth. This gives each team an opportunity to play a multitude of different teams throughout the season.
Due to safety concerns we will evaluate all NEW players’ based on players past experience and ability. They will then be placed on a team that is equal to their level of play and then seeded accordingly with the new AYL rules. All new players that have not been recruited by an existing Raptors coach will be placed in "the pool" and evaluated during the evaluation process.
If you are a returning player you will automatically be assigned to your previous seasons team. There are a couple of different ways this does not happen. One, is if you decide you do not want to play for that coach any further. At this time you will AUTOMATICALLY be placed back into "the pool" and you will enter the draft process. With this option you can be picked by any team at your grade level. The second way this happens is if your coach decides that your players skill level doesn't match the division that your player currently plays in. Your coach can place a total of three players back into "the pool." At this time you will AUTOMATICALLY be placed into "the pool" and can be drafted by any coach at your grade level. If this happens your current head coach WILL have a conversation with you and/or the players parents as it pertains to this player remaining on their team.
Q. What is "evaluation camp" and when does this occur?
A. Evaluation camp (if needed depending on teams per age group) usually happens the last week in July and is the way Raptors Football determines what division new player(s) to the program, and player(s) who have been placed into "the pool" should play at. The evaluation camp is collectively run by the age group leaders who have been predetermined by the Director of Football. The "evaluation" part of the camp is NOT for kids on an existing team/roster. All teams need to be at the evaluation, but only the new/pool players are being evaluated (see above question). All teams take part, so coaches of each team can evaluate players based on comparable skill level. Raptors Football does NOT "blow up" teams contrary to any rumors, and in fact encourages our teams to stay together throughout their time within our program. For further information on this process, please see our policy and procedures that can be found under our "forms" tab.
Q. How long is the football season?
A. The football season generally starts the beginning of August with the regular season ends at the end of October. Play-offs and Super Bowl can take you into the first 2 weeks of November. The first Regular Season game is the last Saturday in August. The teams will be announced and players contacted by Coaches. There will be games and practices during Fall Break, please plan accordingly.
Q. What are "Spring Workouts" and when do they start?
A. Spring workouts start May 1st. If you are new to Raptors Football and not currently assigned to a team, you will be contacted by your "age group leader" who will advise you when Spring workouts for your age group will start. If you are already assigned to a Raptors Football team, you have the option of doing Spring workouts with your current coach (can depend on coach). These will take place once a week for approximately 2 hours. These workouts are all non-padded and there is no contact. These are done to get all players re-acclimated to doing football movements and for conditioning purposes.
Q. We always take our family vacation in August, is that a going to cause a problem?
A. Missing any week of practice hurts your child and the players on their team; however it is even worse when they miss one of the first weeks of practice as that is a time when the teams are learning the most. While this statement is not popular with the parents, we HIGHLY recommend that all vacations be taken prior to July 30th or after Thanksgiving.
Q. When and for how long will we practice?
A. Practice will start at the end of July. Prior to the first game teams will practice as much as 4 days per week. We ask coaches to keep practice to no more than 2 hours per day. Practice days/times will depend on your coaches schedule and can vary from team to team.
Q. What happens if my child misses a practice during the season?
A. We understand that life gets in the way of youth sports. However, we want to point out that football is a very different sport than most. If your child misses a practice it could have an impact on his playing time. This is not done to punish but rather as a safety procedure, when a player misses practice they may miss a new blocking technique or a new play and this can cause a safety issue not only for the player that missed but the rest of his team. We suggest that every attempt is made to attend all practices. If you cannot make practice please notify your head coach as soon as possible.
Q. When are games played and how do they work?
A. Games generally start the first weekend in September. The games are either at 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM or 3:00 PM (No we do not control game times - that is done by the AYL) Games are based on number of plays and not a clock (1st thru 5th grade). 6th thru 8th grade play on a 10 minute clock per quarter. The number of plays changes with age but the games shouldn't last more than 2 hours on a normal day. 8th grade teams will play with Field Goals to prepare them for the High School level. All other age groups will use running or passing plays for extra points. The fields that the AYL are able to use in the communities often do not have goal posts.
Q. How many players are on a team?
A. Team size can vary depending upon the number of kids registering to play. Raptors has target roster sizes, varying by competitive division of play to ensure minimal financial requirements are met. Those roster size targets are 18 - 24 players. There could be more than 24 players to a team but Raptors Football TRIES to cap the limit to 24.
Q. What size football should I purchase for my player?
A. 6–9 years of age K2 or comparable sized football
10–11 years of age TDJ or comparable sized football
12–14 years of age TDY or comparable sized football
Q. How are jersey numbers decided?
A. Raptors will take requests from new players for a specific jersey number or a request for a jersey number change on the registration form. We attempt to honor those requests if at all possible. When registering you will be given three (3) choices of requesting jersey numbers, please insure when making these jersey number selections that these are numbers your child will enjoy playing with. Before any jersey numbers are finalized Raptors will confirm with each head coach the number that needs to be assigned to each game jersey.
Q. Can I wear the same Raptors jersey from last year, if it still fits?
A. Yes. For 2024 Raptors Football will be using the same jerseys. Raptors Football along with our partners at BSN will host fittings starting in early Spring/Summer for those that need a jersey. Stay tuned for club communications regarding the fitting dates!
Q. What is Weigh-ins? When are they?
A. The AYL has Mandatory Weigh-Ins. Typically they are in August, the 2nd or 3rd Saturday of the month. You will meet at the specified location as a team and the information is put on the "official" Roster. This is MANDATORY that each player attends weigh-ins. The AYL will not allow a player to play a game, if they have not been weighed-in.
Q. We have heard talk about weight limits and or age limits, what is that all about?
A. The AYL (the league that governs football) has set weight limits at each group. This is done to keep players safe. It is possible that your child will be too heavy to run the football or play in the backfield. Again, this is done for the safety of all players. As for age restrictions, players are placed in an age group based on their age as of May 31st of the current year. Again, this is done for safety. Please see the AYL website for the current weight limits at aylsports.org.
Q. What is considered to be a Patched Player?
A. After the weigh-ins, players who exceed the specified weight for their age/grade will designated as a Patched player. Patched players are not allowed to be behind the line of scrimmage on either offense or defense at the time the ball is put into play except for the purpose of punting the ball. These players will wear one (1) florescent green sticker affixed to the center back of their helmet. Per the current AYL Football rules, there are no longer double patched players. To see the patched weights please go to the AYL website at league aylsports.org and click on football tab.
Q. Can I coach my son’s team?
A. Yes you can, however all coaches will be interviewed and if selected will have to pass a background check. Once that is done you can expect several hours of training before practice begins. Once practice starts you should plan on a continued time commitment to Raptors Football. If you are still interested please toggle on the "Hey Coach" tab on the left of this page and then click on "Coaches Application", fill it out and the Raptors Football Board will be in contact.
Q. What type of training do your coaches have?
A. Raptors Athletics does require all of their head coaches to pass a background check, and be certified to coach. Once selected all of our coaches will undergo training before the first practice.
Q. Where can I find all the rules?
A. Rules for football are found on the AYL football home page: http://files.leagueathletics.com/Images/Club/9551/AYL%202014%20Football%20Rules%20Final.pdf Please understand that AYL rules are a variation of High School rules. High School rules are much different from the NFL rules you see on Sunday afternoon. AYL website: aylsports.org
Q. What if my child decides after signing up that he does not like football and wants to quit. What is the refund policy?
A. This is a non-refundable registration fee unless of unexpected circumstances, which will be evaluated by club management and in very rare circumstances a 50% refund MAY be allowed. Please email the football director for refund information.
Q. Does Raptors Football offer scholarships for players?
A. Yes we do! Raptors Athletics does offer scholarships to parents based on different circumstances. Raptors can not offer a scholarship to everyone who applies, but will give scholarships based on the circumstances/needs of the person/family applying. If you would like to apply for a scholarship please send an email to email@example.com and include why you are applying for the scholarship. In addition, go to our forms tab and select "Scholarship Form" and email that along with your request. In addition, Raptors will need the last filed 1040 tax form for income verification. The Director of Football will email you back explaining whether or not the scholarship has been granted. Deadline to complete scholarship(s) is June 1st of the current season. If the required tax documentation is not received with the required application, your request will automatically be denied.
Q. If I have additional questions, who do I contact?
A. If you have any questions regarding the Raptors Football program that has not been answered please send an email to our general mailbox and your question will be answered within 48 hours (when we are in season). Please be patient and understand that everyone within Raptors Athletics/Football is a volunteer: