By Ed Pierce
The New Tampa Wildcats youth football program has joined the Tri-County Youth Football and Cheerleading Conference.
League officials say it is the right move at the right time, as parents have been asking to take the for Pop Warner program in a different direction for the past few seasons.
Most of the conference opponents will now be in Hillsborough County to reduce lengthy travel times to games for parents, players and families.
The conference also has lower minimum player per team requirements than Pop Warner, which will help the Wildcats field teams in every division.
In the past, the program has been hampered by smaller enrollments in some age divisions that resulted in forfeits if players were ill, injured or unable to attend games for one reason or another.
Practice and the new season for the Wildcats will begin in July, creating an opportunity for families to be more flexible in scheduling vacations.
Each Wildcats team will play five home games and five away games in the new conference.
Player weigh-in rules are simpler, and training for Wildcats coaches will be conducted locally.
And unlike past years, the Wildcats will be encouraged by the Tri-County Conference to participate in post-season bowl games, tournaments and cheerleading competitions.
This means Wildcats squads will be able to continue to play in the annual Turkey Day and Game Day of Champions games at Raymond James Stadium in November.
For more information about the New Tampa Wildcats, visit www.newtampawildcats.org or send an email to .
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