Empowering Coaches Step-By-Step

Choosing Jersey Numbers For Youth Football Players

For many youth football players the jersey number is a very important, almost “sacred” thing.
They may idolize dad or grandpa and want to wear his former number on their game jersey. Your youth football player may have a favorite college or pro player they really like and would love to wear that players number.


Most youth football leagues do not have jersey number requirements for certain positions. In High School, College and the Pros, if you play certain positions you are required to wear a range of numbers on your game jersey. If you do not have the corresponding number to the position it is a penalty. Check your league rules to make sure, but in no youth football leagues I’m aware of, does one have to have a certain number or “report in”.

We allow our players to choose whatever jersey number they want. We think we should make the game as fun and exciting for the kids as possible. If that includes letting them wear dad or grandpas old number on their jersey, that’s what we want to do. If a players enthusiasm for the game is increased by him wearing the number of his favorite college player, that’s what we want to do. Remember a good part of the youth football coaches job is to help players develop a love for the game of football so they continue playing it. Gettting that special number may be part of developing that enthusiasm and love for the game.

Our youth football teams may look a bit odd to the naked eye, with #7 as our center, #22 as our right guard and #50 as our wingback, but who cares? One of our players had a favorite number; #23 Michael Jordons number, yes a basketbal players number was special to one of our kids and his eyes lit up every time he put that jersey on, he played offensive tackle. If my ego is such that I feel the need to have every player wear a jersey number that is “normal” for his position, I may not be in the right role as as a youth football coach.

Quite often players change positions as they grow ( or don’t grow) and mature. Todays guard may be tommorrows fullback and todays quarterback may be a tight end when he matures, it happens all the time. So jersey numbers should be irrelevant in my opinion, let the kids wear what they want.

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