We are always looking to provide our players and families with the best possible experience when playing for the Sandy Spring Athletic Association. Due to some recent changes in our current league, Mid Maryland, we have decided to change leagues for the Fall 2016 season. We enjoyed our time with Mid Maryland but felt this was a good time for a change. After looking at all options we will be moving to the Rockville Football League (RFL). We chose the RFL over other options because we felt it provided the kids the best experience in a competitive league.
Click here to view the RFL website.
Here are just a few of the reasons why SSAA chose the RFL are:
A/B Tiers: The RFL has A/B tiers for each age group, which are called the Navy and Army tiers. Both tiers have 8 regular season games with playoffs and a Super Bowl. With 4 Divisions with each having an A/B tier we will be able to better place players on a team which they can have fun and compete with boys the same age.
Excellent game day experience: The RFL plays ALL LEAGUE GAMES at the spectacular Mattie Stepanek Park in Rockville (in Kings Farm). The park has two side by side full regulation football fields, with lights, in a fantastic park with great amenities, i.e. ample parking, great snack bar and facilities, nice score boards, a press box, playgrounds, tennis courts, basketball courts etc.
No more driving to Howard, PG, and Carroll Counties for games.
Well Organized: the RFL has been around for over 40 years. The league is well organized and well run. The Board has ties to many of the local high schools both Public and Private and offer opportunities for Spring Football and summer camps.
Great season schedule: The RFL completes its entire course of 8 game regular season schedules, then playoffs and the Super Bowls by the week PRIOR to Thanksgiving. We feel this is the ideal time frame for youth football (for both coaches and players) as opposed to leagues that drag on into December. There are also postseason optional opportunities available like State Playoffs for Super Bowl winners and an All Star game.
Ages Structure: The RFL was one of the first leagues to eliminate the “older but lighter” (OBLs) category in their weight structure. OBL leagues result in a maximum of 6 to 8 players (on an A or B team) allowed to be older than the rest of the kids on the team b/c they are considered light for their age. For instance, in a 9/10 year old OBL league, the A and B teams will have six to eight 11 year old kids on that team who are considered light for 11 year olds. However, these 11 year olds are typically as big or bigger than the 9 or 10 year olds and they tend to dominate the team. The RFL does not subscribe to this format.
At Sandy Spring we believe the more kids that can play together that are the same age, the better the experience is overall. With the A/B structure we will be able to put the younger players in an Age Group at the B level so that the following season they can move up to the A level. This will keep boys at the same age and grade playing together but also gives us some flexibility to move players between the two tiers based on skill. An example would be the 8/9 year old Pony division, the A team will likely be all 9 year olds while the B team will be all, or mostly, 8 year olds. This structure is very attractive to our coaches as we believe that “age” in youth football is a far bigger determining factor than weight and we find that kids the same age have no problem competing against each other despite their weight differences.
Weight Structure: Each Division has a Maximum Weight to play any position and also allows for Red Stripe Players, heavier players playing as lineman. Weigh Ins are conducted prior to season beginning. There will then be a second weigh in prior to the playoffs. This keeps players from dangerous habits trying to shed weight each week to make a certain weight. It also allows the league to keep an average weight of the players for each season which they post on their website each season. For example here are the average weights for each division for the 2015 Season:
-Mighty Mite Ankle Biter Division: 5, 6 , and 7 year olds. Cannot turn 8 on or before 8/1 **Similar to the Mid Maryland Pitbull Div. **
5 and 6 years olds have no weight restrictions
6 and 7 year olds that do not exceed 75 lbs. can play any position
6 and 7 year olds that exceed 75 lbs. are limited to playing as lineman
For teams with players over 95 lbs. they are limited to 2 on the field at a time playing as lineman.
-Pony Division: 8 and 9 year olds. Cannot turn 10 on or before 8/1
Navy Division (mostly 9 year olds) 82.5 lbs. **similar to Mid Maryland 7-9 Div.**
Army Division (mostly 8 year olds) 79.8 lbs. **similar to Mid Maryland 6-8 Div.**
-PeeWee Division: 9, 10, and 11 year olds. Cannot turn 12 on or before 8/1
Navy Division (mostly 11 year olds) 96.6 lbs. **similar to Mid Maryland 9-11 Div**
Army Division (mostly 10 year olds) 93.5 lbs **similar to Mid Maryland 8-10 Div**
-Intermediate Division: 11, 12, and 13 year olds. Cannot turn 14 on or before 8/1. No High School Players. Exceptions are available for players who are 14 in 8th grade.
Navy Division (mostly 13 year olds) 111.8 lbs. **similar to Mid Maryland 11-13 Div. **
Army Division (mostly 12 year olds) 108.4l lbs. **similar to Mid Maryland 10-12 Div. **
Please see RFL website for more details on age/weight structure. You will see it is very flexible for players.
Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will get back to you ASAP.
We look forward to a fun and exciting season.
Brian Shuster, Gerry Adcock, and Casey McNamara
Sandy Spring Football Commissioners