FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Q – Can my child also play middle school football?
A- Yes, your child may play middle school football and also participate with the Sandhills Patriots. In fact, some of our coaches also coach the local middle school teams. During the middle school season we accommodate the players’ schedules and start our practices later. Often times we are not in pads in an effort to keep the players healthy and fresh.
2. Q – How will my child’s participation in other sports affect his standing with the Patriots?
A – The Patriots organization encourages children to play multiple sports. Your child will not be “punished” for participating in sports events to the exclusion of football training prior to July 15th. We try to schedule our training and practices around the baseball, basketball, lacrosse and soccer schedules to ensure as much participation in our Spring and early Summer program as possible. However, we understand and appreciate that while certain sports are in season they should take priority. That said, once it is football season, we expect a full commitment to all phases of the program, including fundraisers, practices, scrimmages, and games. Official practice usually starts in mid-July. Prior to that, the only mandatory date, if applicable to your child, is the early weigh-in, usually in May.
3. Q – How much travel is involved throughout the season?
A – Technically speaking, the Sandhills Patriots is not a “travel” football team. However, we will travel to surrounding areas to play an approximate 8 game season. All four Patriots teams play in succession. Therefore, if you have a child on two teams you do not have to wait for the completion of any non-Patriots games.
4. Q – What is the cost of registration and what does it pay for?
A – The cost of registration is $120. In exchange your child will receive a high level of football instruction for a 7-8 month period. Your child will receive all equipment necessary to participate in the program. This includes a high quality helmet, shoulder pads, practice pants, practice jersey, belt, mouth guard, game pants (both home and away), and game jersey (both home and away). There will be additional opportunities to purchase sweatpants, sweatshirts, shorts, t-shirts, and hats for both parents and children.
5. Q – Is financial aid available if I cannot afford the $120 registration fee?
A – We will assist you in fundraising and sponsorship.
6. Q – What type of commitment is expected from the parents of a child participating in the Sandhills Patriots football program?
A – We consider the Sandhills Patriots organization to be one big family. Parents are expected to provide transportation for their children to and from practice and games, although coaches are readily available to assist with transportation needs. Parents are expected to volunteer at home games with respect to ticket sales, concessions and field preparation. The Patriots hold annual fundraisers including a yard sale, car wash and a golf tournament, which require parent participation. The Patriots also have work days during the year to improve their home football field.
7. Q – Are their other options if my child does not make the Sandhills Patriots football team?
A – Definitely, yes! The Optimist League is very competitive and offers a great opportunity for youth in the area. There may even be some occasions in which a player who played on a Patriots team one year does not make the team the following year. It is anticipated that some players may move back and forth between Sandhills Patriots and the Optimist League in between seasons. The Town of Southern Pines also has a recreation league for ages 10-12.
8. Q – What is the practice schedule before the season and does it change during the season?
A – There will be informal practices, usually 2-3 times a week, commencing in March which are voluntary and involve a fair amount of conditioning. In mid July, practices extend to 3 times a week. On August 1st we begin to practice in pads and will continue on a 3-4 practices per week schedule until school starts. Once school starts and throughout the regular season, we will practice twice during the week and games are on Saturday. Each practice is approximately 2 hours.
9. Q – Are your coaches trained or certified to coach youth football?
A – Every Patriots coach must be certified by USA Football, which includes a rigorous 7 hour course with testing. In addition, our coaching staff participates in clinics with the Pinecrest High School football staff to keep abreast of developments in the game.
10. Q – Will my child be guaranteed a certain number of plays or amount of playing time during the season.
A – Our league does not have any rules or requirements that govern playing time. However, due to the limitation on roster positions, the Patriots organization only selects those players that it believes can contribute to the ultimate success of the team. Therefore, although there are not specific requirements, playing time is generally not an issue, especially with the upper level teams. Some of the younger players (7 or 8 year olds) may see limited action until the coaches feel they are in a position to contribute and are more comfortable with their role on the team.