Illini Youth Football League

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Monday 11/17 6:30


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Illini Youth Football League ADOPTING USA FOOTBALL’S




Contact information: Rick Graves, Illini Youth Football League

The Illini Youth Football League, is committed to ensuring a positive youth football experience and advancing player safety this fall by providing league-wide coaching education and teaching resources that benefit players, parents and coaches through USA Football’s Heads Up Football program.

USA Football is the official youth development partner of the NFL and its 32 teams. IYFL includes 10 clubs comprised of more than 1500 players and 300 coaches throughout northern Illinois/southern Wisconsin.

Every IYFL coach will be trained in Heads Up Football techniques before leading their teams this season. All IYFL head coaches and assistant coaches will complete USA Football’s accredited Level 1 Coach Certification Course, which includes Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) concussion recognition and response protocols; proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting; and Heads Up Tackling techniques, which aim to take the head out of the line of contact.

Through Heads Up Football, a Player Safety Coach/Player Safety Coaches will be trained by USA Football to implement, evaluate and monitor all Heads Up Football player safety protocols within the organization. Player Safety Coaches work with league commissioners, coaches, parents and players throughout the season to provide on-site clinics and mentoring to ensure that coaching and player safety best practices are used.

 “Heads Up Football promotes a safer, better game,” USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck said. “We are proud to have Illini Youth Football League join us in leading America’s youth football community through Heads Up Football, helping to set the highest standards of player safety and coaching education in any youth sport.”

Adopted in 2013 by IYFL and by youth leagues on a national level, Heads Up Football requires four primary elements:

Coaching education

·      All coaches within a youth program are trained to teach the game’s fundamentals by completing USA Football’s nationally accredited Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.

Concussion recognition and response

·      Coaches learn and are assessed on CDC concussion recognition and response through USA Football’s Level 1 Coaching Certification Course.

·      Coaches, parents and players are taught concussion-related protocols at the start of the season at a league-wide clinic and have them reinforced throughout the season. 

Tackling technique

·      USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling technique, endorsed by medical and football experts, teaches players to keep their heads up and out of the line of contact.

Equipment fitting

·      Coaches, parents and players are taught proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.


USA Football’s Heads Up Tackling technique was developed with contributions from USA Football’s Tackle Advisory Committee, which includes Northwestern head coach PAT FITZGERALD, UCLA head coach JIM MORA, former NFL running back MERRIL HOGE, Miami Christopher Columbus High School head coach CHRIS MERRITT and sports psychologist DR. DAVID YUKELSON.

About USA Football: USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, leads the game’s development, inspires participation and ensures a better and safer experience for all youth, high school and other amateur players. The independent nonprofit is the official youth football development partner of the NFL, its 32 teams and the NFL Players Association. USA Football manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competitions and provides more than $1 million annually in equipment grants and youth league volunteer background check subsidies. Endowed by the NFL and NFLPA in 2002 through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football (www.usafootball.com) is chaired by former NFL team executive Carl Peterson.










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The Illini Youth Football League (IYFL) provides organized youth football for teams in Northeastern Illinois and Southeastern Wisconsin. The league and it's member teams provide youth football for boys and girls ages 7-14 in four different weight classes:

Bantam--7-8 year olds up to 100 lbs max weight, 85 lbs max ball carrier weight.


Lightweights - 8,9 and 10 year olds up to 125 lbs max weight, 105 lbs max ball carrier weight.

Middleweights - 10, 11, or 12 year olds. 10 and 11 year olds may be 145 lbs max weight with a 125 lb max ball carrier weight. Players 136-145 lbs can play guard to guard on offense only. 12 year olds may be 120 lbs max weight and 110 lbs max ball carrier weight.

Heavyweights - 12, 13 or 14 year olds (no high school students) up to 210 lbs max weight, 145 lbs max ball carrier weight. Players 171-210 lbs can play guard to guard on offense only.









The IYFL provides both a competitive Sunday program and an instructional Saturday program. The member teams of the IYFL are:  Big Foot Wolves, Hampshire Wildcats, Harvard Stingers, Lake Geneva Badgers, Marengo Indians,  St. Edwards Crusaders , St. Mary's Fighting Irish, Stateline Comets (Richmond), Vernon Hills Cougars


Send mail to webmaster@illiniyouthfootball.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 11/17/14