Program Statement


American Youth Football (AYF) accepts the membership of all organizations who coordinate youth football programs.           


AYF has 2 distinct membership structures and 2 distinct divisions of play for its competitive membership. In each case Kids compete with others of similar age and/or size. 


AYF believes in building communities of strong leaders, by encouraging and rewarding strong academic achievement, teaching the lessons of dedication, honest effort, and fair play, special athletes emerge to become the leaders of our great country. 


AYF and its volunteers and sponsors share the dream that every child who wants to play football or cheer has the opportunity despite financial constraints. 




Membership Structure


American Youth Football, is a non-intrusive, non-controlling organization, our membership and rules, exist in two independent structures.

1. Local / Independent Membership Structure:​​

  • 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.  Organizations that DO NOT plan to participate in AYF inter-league Regional and National Tournament competitions have the freedom to participate as a member of AYF.

  • Local Membership Structure leagues are free to play in accordance with their own locally adopted and current governing rules, in so long as their rules subscribe to the following governing principles:

    • ​Safety

    • Sportsmanship

    • Full Participation, (Everyone gets to play.) 


Local Membership Structure leagues can retain independence in creating a structure that fits their group specifically. 


2. National / Tournament Membership Structure:

  • AYF Tournament Membership Structure pertains to those leagues that do plan to participate in AYF Regional and National Championships Tournaments and other AYF Sanctioned pre or post-season games/tournaments.  These leagues must strictly abide by AYF Rules and Regulations as outlined in the Official AYF Rule Book. This rulebook must be followed at all times, this includes but is not limited to Pre-Season, In-Season, and Post-Season play (Year Round).


AYF football rulebooks are available to our members. To become a member visit    



Tournament Membership Structure: Terminology/Definitions


  • Region:

    • ​A Region is defined as a geographic territory. The geographic territory is determined by the AYF National Office. The 8 regional territories that make up AYF can be found online at:  AYF Regional Map.  A Region is comprised of Member Conferences within its territory that have applied for, and have been granted membership, by the National Office. NJAYF is a memebr of the Big East Region.

  • Conference:

    • ​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 American Youth Football’s Goals and Philosophies no application for membership should be unreasonably withheld. 

  • Association:

    • ​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. The movement of a participant from one member Association to another must be strictly governed and enforced by the Conference/Region to which it is a member in accordance with the rules contained in the current AYF National Rulebook. An Associations membership is the Participants that have applied for, and have been granted membership, by the Associations governing body. In keeping with the American Youth Football’s Goals and Philosophies no application for membership should be unreasonably withheld and under no circumstances will a participant be discriminated against. 

  • ​​Participant:

    • ​A Participant is defined as a minor child that has applied for and has been granted membership within a given Association.

  • Division:

    • ​A Division is defined as a grouping of Teams in specific Age and Weight Class or Grade / Age Class. AYF offers the following Divisions: National and All-American. These Divisions are further defined below.

  • Team:

    • ​A Team / Classification is defined as a grouping within an age and weight class such as: Junior PeeWee, PeeWee, Junior Midget, or any Grade in the Grade based Age Protected division. 



All-Star Divisions 


Conference All-Star Division:


The Conference All-Star teams are made up of players selected in the post season. Conference All-Star teams are for those kids who will be graduating to their High School programs (8th Graders), have maintained a high standard of academic performance, and would like to have the opportunity to experience participating in an out of state Championship Tournament. Please see your Conference Commissioner/President for more details.


AYF National All-Star Game:


The Annual AYF National All-Star Game was established to allow the older participants, those leaving youth football/cheer, the opportunity to travel and experience participation with kids from all over the country. It will allow some better understanding and friendships to develop and require coaches from different organizations the opportunity to work together to further the objective of providing and giving back to the youth of their communities. It should be understood that while the participation is a competition for the football players it is the exposure and experience being offered to the kids that is the most important feature of this effort. Winning is the result of the contest the reward is the wisdom one will gain from this opportunity. 




Spring Football / Summer Passing Leagues:


American Youth Football (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. American Youth Football 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 Rules and Regulations


AYF football rulebooks are only available to our members. To become a member visit  


 American Youth Football recommends and follows, for Regional and National Tournament play, NFHS rules.  NFHS rules are the standard in high school sports rules and regulations; 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 click here


Rule Books and Operations manuals can be found on the MyAYF control panel. This site is available to members only, use the password and username you were emailed upon joining.  If your league or conference is a member of AYF and you are a coach or league administrator and don't have a username and password, ask your league administrator to add you to the league account. 




Football Support


Contact the National Football Commissioner, Dee Grayer, via email at for any football rule/divisional/tournament related questions.