The American Youth Football (AYF) League created a sister league uniquely for its’ Cheerleaders. This league is called American Youth Cheer (AYC). Any cheerleading, dance or step team who cheers for, or is affiliated with, an American Youth Football Team is automatically welcomed into this organization.

AYC also encourages Youth Cheerleading squads that are not affiliated with AYF football teams or rec football programs to join AYC independently. All Cheerleading & Dance squads are required to be registered as members of AYF/AYC as a non-affiliated cheer squad. To register squads and become a member visit

AYF/AYC is configured into two independent structures. 

1) Tournament Memberships and
2) Local Membership.
Declaration of  your organizations intention/structure is required yearly at registration
1. Tournament Membership Structure:

Tournament Membership Structure pertains to those leagues that plan to participate in AYF/AYC Regional and National Championships Championships and other pre or post-season competitions.  These leagues are required to strictly abide by AYC Rules and Regulations and age divisions as outlined in the Official American Youth Cheerleading Rulebook.  This rulebook must be followed at all times along with the American Association of Cheerleading Coaches & Adminstrators (AACCA) Safety Rules, this includes but is not limited to Pre-Season, In-Season, and Post-Season play (Year Round).

2.  Local Membership Structure:

Local Membership Structure stays true to the AYF/AYC objective of remaining independent and supporting all teams regardless of their competitive intentions.  Organizations that DO NOT plan to participate in AYC inter-league Regional and National competitions have the freedom to participate as a member of AYF/AYC under its Local Membership Structure.  These Local Memberships Structure leagues are free to play in accordance with their own locally adopted governing rules, in so long as your rules subscribe to the AYC Governing Principles.

AYC governing principles:

1. Safety
2. Sportsmanship
3. Full Participation

Local Membership Structure leagues can retain independence in creating a structure that fits their group specifically.
Primetime Division:

Tournament Membership Structure: Terminology/Definitions

Region:  A Region is defined as a geographic territory.  The geographic territory is determined by the AYF National Office.  The 8 regional territories that make up AYF can be found online at:  AYF Regional Map.  A Region is comprised of Conferences within their territories that have applied for, and have been granted membership by the National Office.
Conference:  A Conference is defined by the geographic boundary of its membership.  A Conference’s membership is the Associations that have applied for, and have been granted membership, by the Conferences governing body.  In keeping with the American Youth Football’s Goals and Philosophies no application for membership should be unreasonably withheld.

Association:  An Association is often defined as a local city, or town. The acceptable method and determination of what participants can register within any given Association is governed by the Conference/Region to which it is a member.

Division:  A Division in Cheerleading is defined a grouping of Teams in a specific Age bracket.

Team:  Teams are further broken down into Small - Large and skill classification Red – Blue.  Teams electing to compete in AYC regional and national competitions are required to restrict teams to (36) thirty-six members, mascots not included in this total.
Cheer Team Age Divisional Matrix (2011)
Game Time Division:

A Game Time Division at Championships has been created to showcase what cheerleading is all about - leading the crowd! The division gives teams who traditionally don't compete a chance to show how they rule the field and lead the crowds at their schools.

Teams can step off the sideline and into the competition. "Bring your sideline skills & get your game on!"

Learn more in the AYC Rule Book. Attention AYC conferences: consider hosting your own Game Time division and take your cheer competitions to new heights! Questions? Please email
Step Division:

Step is a form of dance that has been in existence for decades, it is sophisticated, synchronized chanting and stomping to a rhythmic beats from participants’ hands, feet and mouth.  Today, youth across America have embraced this art form.  AYC National Championships include a Step Division.  See rules in the official AYC RuleBook. For information on participation, contact Deidrea at
AYC Rules and Regulations

AYC rulebooks are only available to our members and can be found at  This site is available to members only; use the password and username you were emailed upon joining.  If your league or conference is a member of AYF and you are a coach or league administrator and don't have a username and password, ask your league administrator to add you to the league account or supply you with the necessary rules.

Please note: the general Football rules as stated in the Official Football Rules and Regulations which apply to players will also apply to the cheerleaders (with the exception of weight or weigh-ins and the rules of contact). Certain rules will be superseded by the Official Cheer Rules and Regulations. Governing of AYF/AYC Leagues occurs as stated in Section 3 & 4 of the Football Rules Section.

Safety Rules with AACCA:

AYC and UCA are dedicated to the safe and responsible practice of cheerleading. All UCA Instructors are AACCA Safety Certified and use the AACCA Safety Manual as a teaching guide and resource for camps, clinics, competions and practice. Soon, tryouts for the next season will take place, giving coaches the opportunity to implement their safety programs for a new team. AYC strongly encourages coaches to become AACCA Safety-Certified not only for the safety of the athlete but to enforce safe cheering and enhance safety in their programs.

AACCA is the recognized standard of care for all cheerleading activities and AYC is proud to enforce the rules for the 2010 competition season. AACCA certification is available in all 50 states by taking the accredited 4-hour course and upon completion, remains in effect for 4 years. The 2010 Official AYC Rule Book includes the AACCA Rules. Click here to access ACCAA rules.