Berlin Youth Football and Cheerleading Association is a non-profit youth football and cheerleading program located in the town of Berlin, Connecticut. It's goals are to teach football and cheerleading in a safe, fun environment.

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100% Berlin - Message from our President

Why Berlin Youth Football & Cheer:

There’s a reason why men speak of their Berlin football playing days with such passion, exuberance and affection.  There’s a reason why women who’ve cheered for Berlin can name exactly who was on their squad, in 3rd grade, 20 years later.  It’s FAMILY, plain and simple.  In this league it’s the impetus of everything we say, coach and demonstrate – on and off the field.  In football every athlete on that field plays an integral part of the game, from the quarterback to the linemen in the trenches.  In cheerleading every girl relies on one and another to move in symmetry, ensure each other’s safety while performing stunts/flips/handsprings all to energize the crowd and support their team.

My name’s Ben Murphy, 37 year town resident and newly elected president of the Berlin Youth Football and Cheer league.  I elected to write an editorial to introduce myself, our board and the number of positives changes we’ve made to BYFC over the last year.  I had the privilege of wearing a Berlin football uniform for 11 years.   From 1987 to 1998 (7yrs old to 18 yrs old) I got to play the greatest sport on earth for many Fathers of my classmates.  We started on Willard’s field back when I was in second grade, equipment was shoddy at best and the league was in its infancy stage.  We eventually made our way over to Sage for practices but the nice turf field was not in the stars for us, more like mud pit practices in the softball fields – I truly miss those days.

 Many of my first year teammates went on to play with me all the way through our senior year at BHS – all four co-captains (myself included) were Berlin Bears at very young ages.  It encourages me now that many of my teammates, who I’ve never really lost contact with, are starting to show up at Sage on Saturday mornings with their sons ready to sign up for flag and/or tackle football.  It doesn’t surprise me though as our wonderful town has a way of drawing people back to it…whether it’s the still semi-quaint surroundings, school system, fair or Berlin Football – Most make their way back to B-Town.

Our board consists of a lot of former football players and cheerleaders.  They volunteer their time to organize registrations, ensure safety precautions are followed and equipment is maintained to facilitate a safe and positive environment for our boys and girls.  They meet monthly to keep abreast of any pertinent issues and to exchange ideas on how to improve the league.  Most board members are also coaches/head coaches who devote countless hours towards the league pouring their blood, sweat and tears into our young up and comers.  It’s truly a labor of love. 

Personally speaking, I went from anticipating holding a bag to being a head coach my first year.  Without question one of the biggest joys of my life is watching young players learn to work as a team.  Win with honor, lose with dignity and foster relationships that I hope continue for them decades beyond their playing days.  As they say, “you can learn more character on the two yard line than anywhere else in life”.  Football teaches life lessons and it begins with the commitment to your teammates, your coaches and organization.  We constantly preach that wearing a Berlin football jersey is a privilege, not a right, and it should be treated as such.  Improper acts, actions that bring disparity to our team/league or unethical behavior result in a player receiving their walking papers – It is not tolerated.  We have parent/player contracts which are strictly adhered to.  We expect our players to set the example and be leaders on the field and in the community. 

We foster positive relationships with the BHS Football staff and many of their coaches regularly attend our practices to assist with our kiddos and instruct drills/techniques.  This helps with the subsequent transition from youth to high school football.  Our HS players also run and facilitate the majority of our flag program – The little guys (and GIRLS) love the older kids and to their credit, the high school players do a terrific job with the kids. 

All of our coaching staff is USA Football “Heads Up” certified – I encourage any interested parent to register with USA Football to learn about our safety protocols, emergency plans (each coach has one), coaching techniques and general questions. Many of our coaches are CPR, MRT or EMT certified with defibulators on standby as safety precautions (this is not a mandate but an extra step we take).  BYFC held a “Parents Clinic” this year to answer any questions from interested parents.  Our league website and Facebook page has direct links to contact myself or other coaches with questions which we check daily.

BYFC purchases top notch equipment for our players – We just spent over $6,000 on helmet reconditioning to adhere to manufactures’ requirements for safety and warrantees.  We adhere to an age/weight guideline for players which assign them to teams with players close to their age.  As coaches, we position players based on size, ability and intelligence – but overall, kids get an opportunity to play ALL positions when they first arrive.  A player’s limitations are only diminished by their effort.

We set up an online registration option which makes signing up a breeze.  Most forms and information can be found on www.Berlinbears.com.  Older players are mandated to produce report cards prior to the beginning of the season, as important as football is education takes precedence.  This philosophy is taught from Day 1.

We currently have an advertising/fundraising opportunity available.  What better way to promote ones business and support a youth program then to display a banner at Sage Park during our home football games?  All pertinent information can be found on the aforementioned website.  It’s a reasonable $300 for a 4x6 banner – Details online.

Last year, what we’re most proud of, our league opened the season on September 11th.  We invited members of the Berlin Police Department, Fire Department, Hunters Ambulance, VFW and Mayor Kaczynski to Sage Park.  We had a local student honor our country, soldiers and first responders by singing our National Anthem – Respect, Honor and Appreciation – That’s what we stand for.  Anticipate that an opening ceremony again this year.

I encourage all parents, students, athletes and interested town folks to look into our league.  We’ve made HUGE advancements since 1987.  I love this town, this league and most importantly the 20 plus sons I inherit from August through November.  Seeing my boy in a Berlin jersey every fall never ceases to keep me from beaming with joy – We’d love to welcome you to our family. 100%BERLIN

Respectfully,

Ben Murphy

BYFC President


by berlinbears posted 06/04/2017
Useful Links

USA Football

Omni Cheer

AACCA Cheerleading Safety Education

NFHS Website