American Youth Football League’s Carmel Valley Dons launched

League also offers cheerleading program

Registration is just beginning for a new youth football league in Carmel Valley: the American Youth Football league’s Carmel Valley Dons.

American Youth Football differs from Pop Warner football in that it allows for heavier weights in each division and it will be the only Division 1 football program in Carmel Valley.

Don Talman, the league’s field coordinator, said there are few sports leagues that only have Carmel Valley in their name, most are in some way Del Mar-related.

“We really want to represent the community of Carmel Valley,” Talman said. “We think Carmel Valley needs to have an identity.”

Registration will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. April 17 at Cathedral Catholic High School’s Manchester Stadium.

The 2010 season will start on Aug. 1 and wrap up around Thanksgiving. National championship tournament locations rotate every year so the Carmel Valley squad could play for the title at a field in Florida, Las Vegas or Scottsdale, Ariz.

The league will also have a cheerleading program for girls and hopes to start a spring football league in the future.

American Youth Football, an affiliate of the National Football League, exists in all 50 states and serves about 500,000 kids. In San Diego, there are about 23 other AYF clubs. The league accommodates children as young as 6 in its flag football division, all the way up to eighth-grade boys, who compete in the Gridiron division, which has no weight limit.

The heavier weight limits allow more opportunity for kids to play within their age group at their natural weight. The league does not allow for a weight increase each week as is done in Pop Warner.

Safety plays a big role in AYF, Talman said. Children are fitted for their helmets and shoulder pads by a Riddell representative. Parents then buy the equipment for their child.

Registration is $195 for flag football. Tackle football and cheer squads are $295. Carmel Valley Dons is also looking for coaches for its teams. For more information, visit