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Minor Football Frequently Asked Questions

What is the CDMFA?

The CDMFA is the Capital District Minor Football Association, a registered society under the Societies Act of Alberta. The members of the CDMFA are independent Minor Football associations, who operate the league in order for their football teams to compete with each other in the City of Edmonton and surrounding communities. Each participating Association or Club (there are 22 clubs at the time of this writing) can operate teams at each of the three age levels available under Football Alberta rules for minor football in Alberta. A fourth level (Midget) was added in the spring of 2005. Member associations represent the Cities of Edmonton, St. Albert, Spruce Grove, Fort Saskatchewan, Camrose, Lloydminster and Fort McMurray; the Towns of Stony Plain and Wetaskiwin and the Counties of Leduc and Strathcona.

When does the season start and how long does it last?

Generally, Pre-season tiering games will run in August, concluding before the end of August. Regular season games will begin the 1st weekend of September followed by approx 7 weeks of games. Playoff games will commence the 3rd week of October and Final CDMFA games will conclude the first week of November. The exhibition schedule will be released by the end of June. The regular season schedule will be released after the Labor Day long weekend.

Games are normally on Saturdays and Sundays. Again this season there will be a few games played on Friday nights "under the lights". Most clubs begin full regular practices at the beginning of August. Some associations have light practices in the Spring (May & June). There are no team/association football games or practices allowed by Football Alberta during the month of July however your player may participate in football camps (i.e. U of A or Playmaker U) with local providers.

The Midget season starts training around March, and begins play at the start of April. The Midget season is over by the middle of May. Again, each team determines its own practice schedules; ask the team that you are playing for what their schedule is.

What rules do you follow and is this game very different from the NFL and CFL?

The CDMFA generally follows the Canadian Amateur Rule Book published by Football Canada. These rules are more similar to CFL rules than NFL rules in that there are 3 downs, 12 men on the field and motion in the backfield. However, there are too many differences between amateur rules and CFL rules to enumerate them here. There are a few "house" rules in the CDMFA as well. Main ones apply to the Atom and Peewee levels. Please see the next FAQ for more detail on the Atom level. In Bantam and Midget, quarters are 12 minutes long with standard timing rules and the convert rules are as in professional and amateur football.

As a general observation, however, anyone familiar with the CFL game will find our game to be immediately recognizable, with remarkably few differences, especially to the casual fan.

What's Happening in Atom Football?

The biggest discussion at the CDMFA level for the last few years has been about Atom Football and how we can adjust our sport in the capital district to align with the principles of Long Term Athlete Development, a national program for an international direction, to provide a better sport environment that improves upon safety and personal development in an age appropriate method.  The changes will be familiar to those involved in other sports, as they have all paved the way with revised rules that allow coaches to focus on player development for children at a young age.

Though the CDMFA is the last large league in the last major sport to adopt the LTAD at the Atom level (ages 8-10), the time has been used to develop a well rounded program.

On April 8th, 2015, the CDMFA came together, voting on moving away from the current full sized game (just like the Edmonton Eskimos play,) into a revised, age appropriate game.  In addition to the normal association members, all levels of football came out to show their support and how critical this change is to the health of the sport: Edmonton Eskimos, University of Alberta Golden Bears, Edmonton Huskies, Edmonton Wildcats, High Schools and Football Alberta representatives were all in attendance to speak, and answer questions on the implications on our sport.

These changes have been implemented in the 2015 season, as a vote by the majority of the association membership passed at the 2015 CDMFA AGM.

I have heard that football is a dangerous sport, and that players can get injured. Is this true?

To the surprise of many, tackle football is ranked behind 4 other sports in Canada (and the U.S. too, for that matter) for injuries per event. Football is rated fifth in the number and severity of injuries incurred behind Soccer, Baseball, Basketball and Hockey. While Football has been rightly called a collision sport and serious injuries can occur during games and practices, they are truly rare. While on rare occasions ambulances are sometimes seen on the field, it is most often done as a precaution, and these occasions rarely involve a serious injury. That being said, hurts such as bumps and bruises as well as scrapes and cuts are common, everyday occurrences. Be prepared to ice their bruises and bandage their scrapes.

One of the reasons for the safety of the sport is the quality of the equipment. Our teams spend a significant portion of their budgets each year on equipment that is of the utmost quality. This equipment includes NOCSAE certified helmets and a variety of other padding. Often, the equipment is exactly the same as that used by professional players. The obvious exceptions are when the size of the player requires specifically designed equipment for youth football. The teams own their own equipment; unlike other sports, the parents are not required to shell out hundreds of dollars each year for equipment.

Are their different skill or competition levels in football?

Teams in the CDMFA are tiered into four divisions Tier I, Tier II, Tier III and Tier IV. CDMFA will be competing at all four tiers, as will Calgary and Southern Alberta. Although there is no requirement for tiering at the Atom level as the CDMFA is the only league in Alberta to have full 12-man football for the Atom age group, we have nonetheless decided to tier Atom as well in order to maintain continuity and commonality for all of our age divisions.
Midget football in the CDMFA is tiered into three divisions, Tier I, II and III. Teams choose at the start of the season which tier they wish to compete in. At this time there is no Provincial championship at the Midget level; however, as the sport matures, this may be something to be considered in the future.

What are the age groups?

What are the age groups?
There are 4 age groups for minor football in the CDMFA, although only 3 are formally recognized by Football Alberta at this time. Midget, a fourth level, was added in 2005 and plays in the Spring, generally during the months of April and May. Midget serves to provide a place for players who will be playing High School in the fall to hone and develop their skills playing a very high calibre of football.
Our summer season with the Atoms, PeeWees and Bantams begins in August and continues into mid- to late October. Atoms are players who turn 10 or under before December 31 of the current year few 7-year-olds are mature enough or have the necessary attention to detail to play tackle football. PeeWees turn 11 or 12 during the current year. Bantam players turn 13, 14 or 15 during the current year and cannot be entering Grade 10 in September of this year. (The reason for this Grade 10 rule is that most, but not all, 15-year-olds will in fact enter Grade 10 and are thus eligible for High School football; this rule allows those 15-year-olds who will be in Grade 9 the opportunity to play.) Midget players will be graduating Bantams (grade 9’s) and Grade 10 and 11 players who are not turning 19 in the calendar year.

My player is quite small, are there any weight restrictions?

There are no weight classes for minor football in Alberta. Some leagues have put weight restrictions on certain age groups or positions; however CDMFA believes that this is neither necessary nor appropriate. Our belief, in fact, is just the opposite. We feel that such a rule would be unnecessarily restrictive, and would not allow some players the opportunity to play positions for which they might be well suited. In a worst-case scenario, it might even deny someone the opportunity to play.
Therefore, the decision to play rests with the child and the parent. Please do not ask for your child to play at a lower age class because he/she is small. This request will be denied. There are absolutely no exceptions to this rule. In general, and in all honesty, we have never seen the size of a player - whether large or small - to be an issue; both large and small players can play football, and can play it very well.

How much does it cost to register for football and what is included?

Each club sets their own registration fees. Generally the fees are around $300 for the complete season and this will usually include all equipment except footwear and what is personal in nature. Some clubs require players to purchase additional items such as practice jerseys/pants, girdles or socks. In addition, some teams require some form of deposit for the equipment, and may require some form of a fundraising deposit. Please consult with your child’s team representatives if you have specific questions on this. Although footwear is the responsibility of the player, many teams will give you assistance as to what to look for and where to shop, and some sporting goods stores that specialize in football equipment will offer discounts to CDMFA players.

The biggest thing that you will notice about football is that you won't have to go out and purchase your own equipment. Helmets, shoulder pads, etc. are owned and supplied by the Clubs. In fact, a significant portion of each Association's budget each year is spent on the maintenance and upkeep of this equipment, which is of the best quality.

What cerification do the coaches have?

Amateur football coaches are now required to get “Safe Contact trained” in the latest safe blocking and tackling techniques.

All amateur teams and clubs have until March 31, 2016 to have their head coaches and half of their assistant and position coaches Safe Contact trained. They have until March 31, 2017 to have their remaining coaches Safe Contact trained.

The CDMFA also requires that each Head Coach have completed the NCCP program for Level 1 Technical and Level 1 (old system) or Part A (new system) Theory. Each club has their own specific policies on additional certification or parent coaching. Midget coaching staffs will require all coaches to be level 1 or in the process or acquiring level.

Please ensure that you ask your club for clarification on their policies.


Where can I go to register my child for minor football?

Each club has been assigned a recruitment area. Any player who lives within a club's recruitment area is eligible to play for a team under that club. If you live outside a club's recruitment area and you wish to play on that team, you may be able to do so through the "Player Release" system. This system is a process that CDMFA has put into place that allows players to be considered for teams outside of the area in which they reside. A Player Release is required from all teams that have recruiting rights in the area of residence of the player before he can play outside of his area. There is no guarantee that a release will be granted by CDMFA. Players are encouraged to register for a team within their recruitment area.

Club Recruitment Areas

Each club has been assigned a recruitment area. Have a look at the Team Finder map and the Registration Info page on this site to find the club closest or most convenient to you, and to determine if you are eligible to play for them. Any player who lives within a club's recruitment area is eligible to play for a team under that club. If you live outside a club's recruitment area but, for some reason such as family or close friends, you wish to play on that team, you may be able to do so through the "Player Release" system. This system is a process that CDMFA has put into place that enables players to play for teams outside of the area in which they reside. CDMFA believes that, as a general rule, players should play for the team that operates in the area that they live in; however, we recognize that there are often legitimate reasons for a player to wish to play elsewhere. In other words, a "recruitment area" does not mean that an Association owns a player's playing rights. A Player Release is required from all teams that have recruiting rights in the area of residence of the player before he can play outside of his area. As a general rule, these Player Release requests are normally looked upon favourably by the League. Simply make it clear that you live outside of the area of jurisdiction of the team involved, and the club will look after this process for you.

Please explain the "Player Release" system to me in more detail.

Released players are those players for whom a team has requested a release from another recruitment zone in order to have that player on their roster. A cut player is a player that has signed up for a team but has been cut from that team for any reason, including meeting the CDMFA roster size restrictions
For a player to be eligible for play in the CDMFA he must conform to CDMFA eligibility restrictions and, as detailed in Section 2.4 & 2.5 RECRUITMENT ZONES AND BOUNDARIES, he must play for that Team whose Recruitment Zone includes his primary residence unless all other Teams in that Recruitment Zone have released that player. The player is released to a specific team/association within the CDMFA and which will apply for the duration of his CDMFA eligibility with that association. The release does not make the player a free agent in the league. Cut players become a free agent in the league until they are registered for a team, then they will become a member of that team/association for the duration of their CDMFA eligibility. Cut players will not be recognized as an import player for the team they become a member of and must have a release request to move to any other team within the CDMFA.
Released players will be recognized as import players and a team can carry a maximum of three import players in any season. A team can only be requested to release three players from their roster. The league can ask a team to cut a player in very specific circumstances where a player cannot play for their home team for logistical reasons or parent is coaching for alternate team only, these circumstances must be verified by the league registrar.
If a release is not granted or there is a dispute about a release it can be appealed. The appeal process must be initated through the League Registrar and the Appeal committee shall be made up of the Registrar and two other members of the Board of Directors not from Participating Associations involved in the appeal.

What other fundraising is required?

The CDMFA operates a very successful Casino every 2 years, with funds used towards fields, officials and facilities. However, most fund raising is done at the club level. Each club association is responsible for league fees and insurance with Football Alberta. Equipment is also a major expenditure for our Member Clubs. Registration fees only cover a part of their costs, and therefore some fundraising at the club level is usually necessary. Please be sure that you are aware of all volunteer or fund raising responsibilities that your child's club has assigned you.

What is the EFOA?

The EFOA is the Edmonton Football Officials Association. All CDMFA games are presided over by qualified officials who are members of this association. We are proud to partner with this fine association whose members, while paid a small fee for their services, are largely volunteers and truly committed sports enthusiasts. While most are seasoned veterans, the CDMFA is the entry level for football officiating (as it is for the players) and some are just learning this challenging role. Please show them respect, and provide them with your support and encouragement. If you are interested in becoming involved with officiating, visit the EFOA's website, RIGHT HERE.

Do you have another question?

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