Registration & Equipment

Why is registration so early when the season doesn’t start until August?
The player counts for each grade need to be finalized well in advance of the season. By doing this the Association can insure there will be sufficient equipment and team jerseys.  Risking insufficient equipment or number of jerseys would have a significant impact on the quality of season for the players.
Can my child play with his friend or on a particular team?
It is the EPFA philosophy to achieve team parity at every grade level. At the start of the season the players are evaluated and drafted to create teams of equal talent. The pairing of players can be detrimental to that goal.
What equipment do I need to buy?
The EPFA recommends that players wear a cleat type shoe, baseball or soccer shoes will work. It’s also recommended that the players wear athletic supporter and cup. The Association will provide a jersey, helmet, shoulder pads, pants and a mouth guard. At the end of the season the player will be able to keep the jersey and mouth guard. The rest of the equipment is required to be turned back in to the Association.
What if we are on vacation for our grade's equipment pick up night?
We have the specific grade nights set up to balance traffic flow. However if you are out of town for your assigned night, feel free to come to another grade’s equipment night.
Does my child need to be present to receive equipment?
Yes. To properly fit a player with equipment they MUST be present.
Is there a formal refund policy?
Refunds are issued at the discretion of the EPFA. They will be addressed on an individual basis.
My child wants play another sport during the football season how do we handle conflicts in schedules?
The EPFA works with the Basketball and Hockey Associations to limit the conflicts during those team tryouts. Any conflicts should be communicated to the player's head coach at the start of the season.  It is the parent’s choice if a player participates in another activity concurrent to the football season. However, if a player misses too many practices or games the head coach can limit the playing time the player will see. This is not a form of punishment, but football requires a certain amount of skill development to ensure safety and a player is responsible to know the position/plays that his teammates will rely on him to execute.
 Coaching
How are coaches selected?
Parents or volunteers who show interest in coaching football are initially screened to ensure their backgrounds do not conflict in the safety of the players. If you are interested please complete the coaching / volunteer registration form in the online registration section of the website. Each grade commissioner selects the head coaches for their respective grade. Parents or volunteers who do not want to be a head coach, but want to help out whenever they can are also welcome and will be placed with head coaches. At the end of every season the EPFA conducts a parent survey that includes review criteria of the coaches. That survey data is used improve the overall coaching experience for the following year.
How are coaches compensated?
All EPFA coaches and board members are volunteers. There is no financial compensation.
As a parent what can I do to help the team at practice?
Helpers are always needed at practice, NO PRIOR FOOTBALL EXPERIENCE NECESSARY. Help holding blocking dummies, filling in holes during a scrimmage or organizing players on the practice field is welcome.  There have even been active Moms that assist in these duties!
How else can I help?
There are many tasks associated with the EPFA from managing team communications via the website to being a team photographer. Let the commissioner or head coach at your child's grade level know your availability to help and they will be happy to make you an active part of the team.
Can I help the coaches during a game?
This is at the discretion of the head coach. If you are interested ask the head coach prior to game day.
If I’m not sure the coach is right about something, when should I talk to him?
As a general rule, wait until after a practice/game in person, via phone or email. Before or during a practice or game is distracting from the necessary focus for the activity.
 Scheduling
What is the time commitment?
The EPFA limits teams to no more than three football events per week. Early in the year, this means three practices per week. Once the season starts, this three per week rule means that teams will typically play one game and have two practices each week. Practices usually run about two hours in duration. Games are scheduled to run about one and a half hours.   
On game days, the players are usually asked to arrive 30 to 60 minutes before the scheduled kickoff.
How are practices and games scheduled?
Grass practice and game fields are designed by the City of Eden Prairie. The Turf field use is designated by Eden Prairie High School.  The scheduling of these facilities are balanced across the grade levels with grades having more participants using the larger practice spaces.
Games for the younger grades are scheduled to minimize weeknights and hold the majority of their games on Saturdays. The older grades leverage the turf facilities at the high school and will hold the majority of their games on weeknights.
Why can’t the season start after school year begins?
The youth football season is VERY short. There are fewer than 80 days from the evaluation to last play-off game, and weeknight practices and games are limited by daylight after September. (many Eden Prairie fields do not have lights). Also, many of the Winter sports begin ramping up as the youth football season is concluding. Any further overlap would be detrimental to the player’s experience in both overlapping activities.
Why can’t you schedule around events at school or religious education?
Each grade level is limited by field and referee availability.  The EPFA limits practices or games to Monday – Thursday evenings or Saturday morning / early afternoons once the school year begins. Each team will try to avoid practice conflicts that may involve a majority of players however accommodating all potential conflicts is not realistic.
 Game Play
How can I find out about the league rules?
The EPFA participates in the Southwest Metro League (SWML). This league is comprised of the football associations from Eden Prairie, Chaska, Edina and Bloomington. The SWML Rule Book is posted in the "Documents" section of this website.
What positions will my child play? Is there an “equal playing time” rule?
EPFA first concern is the safety of the players. There are weight restrictions for the players who can run with the ball so some players are not able to play in the back field until they get to the High School. The philosophy of the EPFA is to ensure every player gets a chance to play on the offensive and defensive side of the ball. It’s left up to the team's coaching staff to place each player in a position in which they will succeed and have fun. All players will learn multiple positions during the course of a season.
Each player will have a starting position for each half of the game. During one half that position will be offense and the other half defense. In addition each player will play a minimum of 50% of the game. That is defined by playing at least an entire half of a game on offense and conversely on defense.
(editorial note: Many of the NCAA Athletic Scholarship students that graduated from EPHS were never ball carriers during their EPFA experience due to the weight restriction rule. Obviously this did not impede their athletic growth.)
What can I do to help my child?
During the game be the cheerleader that never stops encouraging them. Ensure they have all their equipment for a practice or a game. This includes a water bottle. Come to practice a minimum of ten minutes before the scheduled end of a practice. Unless they ask, leave the coaching aspect until practice time. Too many players loose the enthusiasm for a sport because they don’t get a break to enjoy other things in their life.
Will my child get hurt during play?
In youth football, most of the injuries are very minor. Examples include getting a hand hit by a helmet, getting stepped on or scraping an elbow.  In our experience, real injuries are – thankfully – extremely rare in youth football.
In a 2002 study, the American Academy of Pediatrics reported in their Journal Pediatrics that the injury rate for youth football and youth baseball were “not significantly different” (PEDIATRICS Vol. 110 No. 3 September 2002, pp. e28),
The Mayo Clinic reported in April 2002, that the data for athletes grades four through eight indicated that the risk of injury in youth football does not appear greater than the risk associated with other recreational or competitive sports. In youth football most injuries that occurred were mild, and the most common type was a contusion (bruise). As the kids get bigger and faster, the risk does increase – but again, the data and our experience show that most injuries in youth football are minor.
Coaches will err on the side of caution. They try and teach the players the difference between being hurt and being injured, but when in doubt, the coach will sit the player down. In games for fourth through eighth grade, a Certified Athletic Trainer is scheduled to address any significant injuries.
How can I be a good fan?
Be positive, encourage all the players (not just your’s) and coaches. It’s a good idea to be appreciative of the referees as well. (They are all either ex football parents like yourselves or ex EPHS players.)
Cheer from outside of the box that is lined alongside the playing field. The box is exclusively for players, coaches and line crew.
Any “editorial” comments should be reserved for coaches after a game, not during. Organizing and dircting players during a game require concentration. Thus, comments during a game can be distracting and unproductive.