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Bloomington-Normal Cougars JFL


Frequently Asked Questions

What is JFL / JFLOCI?  How does it differ from Bloomington/Normal city teams?

The Cougars are members of the Junior Football League of Central Illinois (JFLOCI) and follow a set of guidelines based on age, weight of players (tackle only), and minimum playing time. The JFLOCI philosophy is simple, to ensure a positive, yet competitive youth football experience. The organization of rosters, playing time rules, and ball carrier rules differ between Junior Football League (JFL) and the Bloomington/Normal city league; the JFLOCI believes that all athletes develop at different levels, including size. The JFLOCI was established in 1967; currently there are 25 areas that represent the JFLOCI. Further, the Cougars, based on JFLOCI scheduling, play a competitive schedule against the teams/areas that our local high schools play. All Cougars coaches are USA Football Heads Up certified. 

The B-N Cougars offer flag football, tackle football, and cheerleading for youth between the ages of 5 and 14. Age is determined by September 1st of the current year.

Spring 7-on-7: This is our inaugural season for 7-on-7 flag football for ages 5-14.  Due to the cancellation of our 2020 cheer/flag & tackle season, if you were eligible for the fall season you can participate in the spring season.  Grade levels 9th grade and above are ineligible.  

Flag F
ootballThere are two divisions of play: 5/6 and 6/7 year old players. Division of flag football play is determined by age as of September 1st of the current year. Depending upon the number of flag football teams, practices will be held at either Northpoint Elementary School or Tipton Park. Home games are played at Northpoint. Cost is $60.00 on/before June 15, $60.00 between June 16 and July 15, $70.00 after July 15. 

Tackle Football: There are six divisions of play: 8, 9U, 10U, 11U, 12U, and 14U; 8 through 11U play on Saturday, while 12 through 14U play on Sunday afternoons. The JFL provides an educational, yet competitive program for its participants by structuring tackle football players ages and weights to compensate for the variety of physical and mental maturity levels of players involved. The JFL is dedicated to young athletes who participate within our organization, their safety, enjoyment, while promoting the sport of football and character development to young people between the ages of 8 and 14. In most cases, the division of tackle football play is determined by age as of September 1st of the current year. Tackle Football practices at Northpoint Elementary School. Home games are played at Northpoint. Cost is $120.00 on/before June 15, $140.00 between June 16 and July 15, $165.00 after July 15. 

Cheerleading: Cheerleading is available for 5 to 14 year old participants. Age as of September 1st of the current year.  All practices will be held at Northpoint Elementary School. Cost is $60.00 on/before June 15, $70.00 between June 16 and July 15, $80.00 after July 15. 

The Bloomington-Normal Cougars are committed to providing a positive youth sports experience for all participants. 

How do I register my athlete or myself as a volunteer?
If you are new to the Bloomington-Normal Cougars, you will create a username and password to register your child and/or register yourself for a volunteer role. As the parent/guardian, you will register first and then choose the specific activity for your child. If you are a returning Cougars participant, you can use the login information you have previously used. If you have any questions, please contact Chris Merrill at [email protected] or 309-531-1315.

When does practice begin for the fall season?
July 25th is the first official day practices can begin.  We will start on the Monday following July 25th.   Practice times are from 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm on Monday - Thursday.

When does the schedule come out?
Because there are 25 different areas that represent the JFLOCI and six different levels for each area, scheduling all games takes time. You will be issued the entire schedule as soon as it is available; schedules  are usually posted before  the final week of practices leading up to the first game. The tackle season consists of eight games, four of which will be played at Northpoint and the other four at  one of the JFLOCI area locations.  The typical flag season consists of five regular season games and one flag fun day.

What equipment/gear do I need to purchase?
We recommend not buying any extra tackle gear; we will supply your player with all required equipment, minus football socks and cleats. During the first ten days of practice, tackle players will be in shorts, t-shirts, mouth guards, cleats, and helmets only. Once full contact practice starts, players are responsible for their own practice jersey to fit over their shoulder pads. Football cleats cannot be metal. We issue all tackle players padded pants, shoulder pads, jersey, helmet with chin strap, and mouth guard. Some families will purchase a different chin strap and mouth guard at their expense. If your athlete is playing flag football, we strongly recommend that he/she wear a mouth guard. We do have some gently worn cleats and practice jerseys for those who can't afford new ones now. 

When will equipment handout be held?

Equipment handout is usually held 2-3 weeks before the first practice at the football field.  Game jerseys will be handed out 2 weeks before the first game. The official date will be posted on the website, social media, master calendar and sent out to all registered participants. 

Concussion Information:

All coaches attend clinics related to concussion education. In addition, all tackle football players are offered free baseline concussion testing as part of the Cougars. For more information and education on concussions, please visit the Center for Disease Control website. Parents can also download the parent information guide.

Bloomington-Normal Cougars JFL

P.O. Box 713 
Normal, Illinois 61761
Email : [email protected]
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