Greater Puget sound Youth Football League (GPSYFL)

Hello Bears Families,

We have some exciting news we want to share with you! After much research, thought and consideration, the Board of Directors are excited to announce Tahoma Junior Bears Football & Cheer are now members of the Greater Puget Sound Youth Football League (GPSYFL).

We are thankful to the NJFL for providing us an opportunity within the league for the last 6 years. They afforded us an opportunity, based on our needs at the time, to give our players and cheerleaders a competitive landscape during the fall season. We have formed long lasting relationships with many clubs in the league. Because of these strong bonds we know that our paths will continue to cross and we will continue to draw on the vast knowledge and experience of our NJFL family.

We want to share with you the details of this new league and our partnerships with the member clubs.

Why join a new league?

Safety

As many of you know the game has changed and we are continually looking for ways to improve safety and development in a competitive environment. With that in mind, we feel going to an age based league will give our players a chance to compete against players in the same age group, as opposed to competing against athletes who are older and in grades higher than their own. During these developmental years especially, this is a huge safety factor. As parents of players ourselves, this was an enormous part of our decision in wanting to keep all player's safety first and foremost and not have to worry that a 12 year old would be going up against a 14 year old or a 9 year old go against an 11 year old.

Competition

This league offers some of the best competition in the state for our players. Many of the programs you will see listed below are feeder programs for high schools which belong in the NPSL conference that our high school plays in. This move will allow our players to complete against those they will be seeing when they move on from the Junior Bears into the high school program. While there are some clubs in the GPSYFL that are "select" teams, which are comprised of players from all around the region they represent, they will provide our players with a chance to develop a competitive edge that comes with competing each week against the best players from around the region.

Our Club will have a voice

Our first year will be a probationary period, this means that while we certainly will have a voice in our new league, we won't have a vote; we WILL be eligible for playoffs, championships, etc. After our probationary period, our club will have a voting membership in GPSYFL - this is important to us as a club - this league will be our own - a league where ideas and resources are shared for the good and in the best interest of our youth with the shared goal of being one of the best Leagues in the state.

The Future

The GPSYFL is comprised of clubs who's mission and vision closely align with the Tahoma Junior Bears. They have formal league codes of conduct for athletes, coaches and parents which are very similar to our own COC's. As a Board we feel this is a great opportunity to propel our club forward as we continued to grow and develop our youth.

About GPSYFL

The GPSYFL was formed in 2005 and is comprised of 10 teams and we will be the 11th. Their goal is to have 12 total teams:

Tacoma Panthers

Puyallup Roughriders

Valley Wolfpack

Kent Knights

Parkland Raiders

Federal Way Hawks

Northwest Cougars

Northwest Rams

Renton Rangers

C2C Rams

What does this mean for our athletes and families

  • GPSYFL is Age Based - and while for most this will fall by grade level, there are some age/date guidelines.
    • 8U, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U 14U (no 9th graders)
    • For cheer this will mean we will field 6 squads
  • The age of your player as of 7/31 will determine the team for your athlete;

A few notes:

  • At the 8U level - teams can be made up of 2ndand 3rd graders who are ages 7 and 8; Other teams in the league also allow 1stgraders to register on the 8U team. The decision to play a 1st grader on the 8U team is going to be left up to the parents of the 1stgrader. If you are registered and your player is 1st or 2nd grade and you do not want your player playing on an 8U team or you have questions regarding the 8u team please email athleticdirector@tbjfc.org
  • There could be instances where a player with a later birthdate or one where he/she is older in age than the grade level they have been playing; unfortunately players cannot waiver down and must play with their "age at 7/31" level.
  • Our season will essentially remain the same, with a few adjustments. In the GPSYFL, teams are permitted to participate in off season training activities and conditioning as early as July 5th. This will not change our official practice schedule, but it will allow us to have some voluntary camps where our coaches will be able to break into teams for conditioning, skills and drills a couple days a week (again these will be optional events).
  • Our official full practices - helmets/pads will begin on July 29th (we typically have started on August 1); We would likely start cheer the week of July 29th as well.
  • Our first game is the same as if we were in NJFL - August 24th, we will have Labor Day Weekend off and then continue with our season with games on Saturdays (there could be a change of a game on a Sunday if fields are an issue but it won't typically happen)
  • We will host approximately 4 home games
  • Games are played at each of the club member venues so the travel time/locations for away games will be very similar to years past in the NJFL
  • We will all travel together to the same venue on game day, with one team per age group, we will all play the same venue

In closing

Over the coming days we will be updating our website and registration site with new information. Our registration is going well and most teams are well over half full under the new age based rules. Registration will be open until June 1st, but an age level will be full and wait listed after 25 athletes are registered. For Cheer, we will have 6 squads and will cap our registration at 110 cheerleaders - we currently have about 30 spaces open for cheer. It is important not to delay in registering, we do expect most of our teams and cheer to be full before the registration deadline.

We are looking forward to a great 2019 season and are excited about the future growth and development of our athletes and the program.

Go Bears!

Tahoma Junior Bears Board of Directors