La Costa Canyon and Carlsbad Pop Warner Prepare to Ignite the Field This Season

August marks an exciting new season for both La Costa Canyon and Carlsbad Pop Warner leagues. Committed to establishing leagues that promote a lifelong passion for teamwork, trust, friendship, and commitment, both are shining examples of academic and athletic excellence in Carlsbad. Read along as we talk with La Costa Canyon Pop Warner (LCCPW) Vice President of Football Brian Reynolds, LCCPW Vice President of Cheer Michelle Altegnhoff, and Carlsbad Pop Warner (CPW) Vice President Kim Kline about upcoming events this season and how the leagues are helping Carlsbad’s youth learn important life-long lessons, on and off the field.


Q&A with La Costa Canyon Pop Warner’s  Brian Reynolds, Vice President of Football, and Michelle Altehnhoff, Vice President of Cheer

What is the history and motivation behind La Costa Canyon Pop Warner and Cheer?
La Costa Canyon Pop Warner (LCCPW) has been in the area since 1960 as San Dieguito Pop Warner and is a charter member of the Palomar Conference. The association served youth who eventually attended what was then San Dieguito High School. In 2007 the association changed its name and colors to match La Costa Canyon High School, the only public high school in its service area with a football team. Many current and former National Football League (NFL) and college football players got their start in this association. The association is motivated to provide a safe place for boys and girls to cheer and play tackle and flag football.


When does the season begin? What types of programs are offered?
The season begins on Aug. 1 for tackle football, flag football and cheerleading. Flag football season concludes in October, and tackle football is played through the first weekend of November, with cheer following a similar schedule, except for those looking to compete year-round in other competitions.

What ages and abilities can participate in the league? Is LCCPW a recreational or competitive league?
Boys and girls ages 5 through 15, in good academic standing (a minimum 2.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale) can participate in tackle football or cheerleading. Youth ages 5 through 7 can participate in flag football. LCCPW offers different divisions based on skill level, giving everyone a chance to succeed. Similar ages range with physical or mental challenges that would not allow them to participate on a tackle football or cheer team can join in Pop Warner’s Challenger program.

LCCPW is both a recreational and competitive league. All divisions below age 9 are developmental and consider recreational. At higher levels, we split teams into separate divisions: Division 1, Division 2, and Division 3, to ensure teams are playing against equal opponents. Division 1 and 2 teams have the ability to qualify for the Pop Warner Superbowl in Florida each year in December. They will play teams throughout Southern California and Arizona to represent WESCON in Florida. Our 2011 Jr. Pee Wee team advanced to Florida for the first time in fifteen years and placed third in the Nation, losing to the Superbowl Champion in the Semi Final game. Division 3 is a local recreational league, which still has great competition, but will only play teams locally for the title of Palomar Champions.

What is LCCPW’s overall mission?
LCCPW is teaching the youth of Carlsbad the fundamentals of football, the meaning of commitment and the importance of sportsmanship. LCCPW has partnered with the NFL and USA Football to constantly evolve the game, making it a safer and a more positive experience. The success of our league is not based on the win/loss records of our teams, but the character we help build. We believe in encouraging and respecting one’s community, family, team, and self. LCCPW’s mission is to provide a learning experience for boys and girls, through football and cheer that will establish a lifelong passion for self-esteem, teamwork, trust and learning. Our vision of success is to nurture our players, cheerleaders and families in a strong sense of commitment and passion for the LCCPW community. Our core values are discipline, enthusiasm, courage and teamwork.


Can you highlight upcoming significant dates for this season? What can one expect as a participant?
Practices will begin Aug. 1 with games beginning Aug. 30. We are proud to announce that we will hold the Divisional Palomar Championships on Nov. 8, which is a wonderful chance to see some of the best teams in North County San Diego play. Participants can expect practices five days a week through August and then three times a week for the remainder of the season. Games begin at the end of August and end in November.

For cheer, the JAMZ camp will take place the weekend of Aug. 8., with the Palomar Conference Cheer Competition on Oct. 26. The Regional Cheer Competition will be on Nov. 22 and the Pop Warner Championship will be from Dec. 8 through 12. The JAMZ National Cheer Championship is slated for January 2015.

Tell us about your coaching staff and their professional background. What does the hiring process entail?
Our coaches are carefully screened by our coach selection committee. Every coaching staff has up to ten staff members to keep the player to coach ratio optimal. The coaches all go through several courses and certifications to learn the proper way to teach tackling fundamentals. Many of our coaches played on the collegiate or professional level. Each staff must also have First Aid certified individuals, including the head coach.

How can someone go about sponsoring a team? Who are the current sponsors?
LCCPW is run completely by volunteer board members, coaches and parent participation, all of which are dedicated to the LCCPW community. Your support as a sponsor can make a powerful difference as you help prepare our children to become well-rounded citizens and contributors to our community. Please email Hampton Hurt at for more information on becoming a sponsor.

Our current sponsors include big corporations such as Sports Authority, Scripps Health and Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as several local-based sponsors.

Does LCCPW hold fundraisers throughout the season?
This year is a very special fundraiser. We will be raffling off two tickets to all Chargers regular season games. Tickets for the raffle are only $5 and are available for purchase by contacting This fundraiser will help offset the cost of field rentals for games and practices, as well as allow the league to continually purchase new and safe equipment without raising fees. Additionally, each cheer squad can raise additional funds for their competitions on a squad level.

What are your long term and short term goals for LCCPW?
Michelle Altehnhoff: My long term goal is to keep moving forward with our amazing cheer squads. We are very proud of our past squads as well as our currents squads. Many of our girls who age out of LCCPW make La Costa Canyon High School Cheer squads. Additionally, many of our girls choose to move on to All Star Competitive league and we are extremely proud that our girls make these high end teams. My short term goal for this season is to have a great time, keep our competitive spirit alive and continue to represent our community at a high level.


Brian Reynolds: Our goals for 2014 is similar to our goals every year: to expose children to the benefits of cheer and football, to provide a safe and positive experience for all children enrolled and to continue to bring pride to the communities of Carlsbad and Encinitas with our high caliber teams. Our long term goals include the continuing education of our coaches, volunteers, and parents on how to provide all children enrolled with the most positive experience. We also want to continue to reach out to our communities to provide sponsorships, and to help provide the best equipment as well as scholarships for those in need.

What is the most exciting aspect about being a part of LCCPW?
Michelle: The girls’ progression as the season goes on is just inspiring. Watching them get more excited as the season goes on. Also, we have such a great group of families who really step up and help. It really is the LCCPW family.

Brian: There is nothing quite like watching a group of boys – who are virtually strangers at the beginning of the season – finish it as part of a brotherhood. They take on a new form as they each raise their level of play. Year after year we watch boys come onto the field with their head hanging and by mid-season they have a newfound sense of confidence as they mentally and physically tackle their challenges. Football is a true team sport of skill, strategy and hard work.

What are you looking forward to the most in regards to this upcoming season?
Michelle: Personally, as a coach, to see the overall growth of our cheerleaders. Many have been working very hard in the off-season on their gymnastic skills and jumps. We also have many new girls who have joined us this year and it’s always a great expereince to witness their growth over the course of the season.

Brian: I have one son who will be competing in his last year of Pop Warner before moving on to high school. He has played since our youngest division, Mitey Mite. It will be bittersweet as I watch him suit up for one last season, while I still watch my youngest son embrace the game and improve each week. The boys of Pop Warner all have one thing in common: they know that hard work always pays off.

How can people go about finding out more information about LCCPW’s leagues, important Pop Warner football and cheer dates and more?
Visit our Facebook page or our website for information regarding LCCPW. Please feel free to email any of our board members with any of your questions as well.

What are the three or four reasons participants enjoy La Costa Canyon Pop Warner?
Pop Warner is a chance for our youth to benefit from the physical exercise and also have an opportunity to make new friends, travel to new places, and learn the importance of teamwork, courage, discipline and dedication. If you ask the kids, you will get one answer, “It’s just fun!”


La Costa Canyon Pop Warner Vice President Cheer, Michelle Altenhoff
Name: Michelle Altenhoff
Community: Carlsbad
Education: BA in Communication
Family: Husband – Raj Altenhoff; Children – Ashley Altenhoff (9) and Nolan Altenhoff (8)
Hobbies and Interests: Cheer, football, skiing, going to the beach and being with my family
Favorite Pop Warner/Cheer Division: I love them all! It is so exciting to watch the progression from Flag all the way to Midget!

La Costa Canyon Pop Warner Vice President Football, Brian Reynolds
Name: Brian Reynolds
Community: La Costa, Carlsbad
Education: BS Business at University of California, Riverside
Family: Wife – Jane; Children – Matthew and Christian Reynolds
Hobbies and Interests: Golf, skiing, football, poker and family time
Favorite Pop Warner/Cheer Division: Midget football, the big boys!

La Costa Canyon Pop Warner
Name: La Costa Canyon Pop Warner
President: Jim Eucker
Zip Codes Served: 92009, 92011, 92024

Q&A with Carlsbad Pop Warner’s Kim Kline, Vice President

What is the history and motivation behind Carlsbad Pop Warner and Cheer? When does the season begin? What types of programs are offered?
Carlsbad Pop Warner (CPW) was started by a group of active parents in the middle of the 1970s to provide a safe and instructional environment for local boys and girls to play tackle football and be cheerleaders. Those people felt that Pop Warner was far superior to other national youth tackle football organizations in that it stresses safety in all aspects of the game, including proper tackling techniques, trained and certified coaches, properly fitted helmets and shoulder pads, and players and teams divided and separated by age and weight. Pop Warner also stresses playing the game the “right way” – good sportsmanship, leadership, etc. That same philosophy continues today as CPW is one of the leading associations in San Diego County. CPW teams are highly successful in local, regional and national competition. They even sent off a team of 10 and 11-year-olds to the National Championship in Florida a few years back. Moreover, CPW acts as a direct feeder into the local high school football programs – primarily Carlsbad High School (CHS). In any given year, the CHS football roster is full of CPW alumni who form the core and leadership for teams that annually compete for CIF Championships. The offical season begins Aug 1. We offer flag football, tackle football, cheer, and the Challenger program.

What is CPW’s overall mission?
Carlsbad Pop Warner strives to help young people achieve their goals through sound leadership and commitment to academic and athletic performance. These youth are the cornerstone of our future. We take pride in guiding these young people through their journey with our football and cheer programs that CPW provides. A safe and memorable experience for our players and cheerleaders is, and always will be, our number one priority at CPW.

Can you highlight upcoming significant dates for this season? What can one expect as a participant?
Aug. 1 is the first day of practice. As a participant once Aug. 1 arrives, he/she can expect five practices a week until school starts. There is a lot of hard work and dedication that goes into getting ready for football season. The season officially starts Aug. 1, but coaches and kids are both working hard in the off-season to be ready for the upcoming season. We have a ten-game schedule that goes until October, starting Aug. 30. Those teams that move on into playoffs could play into December.

For the cheer program, practices begin on Aug. 1 and run four days a week for two hours each day until school starts. Then practice time drops down to two to three days per week. Each cheer team is assigned to a football team and follows that team to all of their games to get the crowd excited and cheering. Each cheerleader is also given the opportunity to attend a one day JAMZ Cheer Camp where they learn basic cheerleading skills, safety, and participate in team building activities. In addition to cheering at football games, all cheer teams participate in cheer competitions. Flag and Mitey Mite divisions are exhibition performances. All other divisions compete for the opportunity to advance to Regionals and Nationals. In the past CPW has sent several cheer teams to the National Cheer Competition at Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, FL.

Tell us about your coaching staff and their professional background. What does the hiring process entail?
First off all, all of our coaches are volunteers. All have full time jobs in other industries. Some are lawyers, realtors, police officers, construction workers, sales associates, coaches – you name it, we probably have it in our organization. We have an application and interview process that all coaching candidates go through. All of our coaching staff, as well as board members, submit to a background check as well. Coaches applying for a spot on a football or cheer team are required to attend and complete training for their respective sport. The focus is on safety, while making the experience fun and rewarding for all participants. There is also a minimum requirement of two CPR/First Aid certified staff per team.

How can someone go about sponsoring a team? Who are the current sponsors?
If you would like to sponsor please contact Jen Vella at Some of our current sponsors are Dick’s Sporting Goods, Fortis & YOGALUX fitness center, Black Ops, OneTrust Home Loans, and United Site Services.

Does CPW hold fundraisers throughout the season?
We started off our first fundraiser in June which was our Family Fun day. On this day the kids get to meet their coaches and teammates. We have activities for the kids to participate in front of local companies like Fortis & YOGALUX fitness center and Black Ops. We also have food vendors and a DJ. We also hold an event for the parents before the season starts. We call it our Casino Night. It gives the parents a chance to meet and mingle before the four month season gets under way. We have monthly restaurant nights at local establishments like Señor Grubby’s, Rubio’s, and Knockout Pizzeria.

What is the most exciting aspect about being a part of CPW?
The most exciting part of being a part of CPW is seeing the kids grow, learn and excel. To see the excitement on their faces when they get to suit up for their first game or put on their cheer uniform for the first time is priceless. We are always excited to see the kids; it’s such a good feeling to see our football and cheer athletes come together as a team and work hard. That hard work pays off in so many ways. To see the long lasting relationships that are built every season and maintained throughout the years is amazing. This also goes for the parents as well. During those four months we all become one big family.

What are you looking forward to the most in regards to this upcoming season?
One thing we are most looking forward to is hosting a Challenger game. We did this last year and it was one of the most rewarding games. Also, we are coming off a very successful season last year. We had four football teams win their divisions and move on to playoffs and two cheer teams advance to the Regional competition.

How can people go about finding out more information about CPW’s leagues, important Pop Warner football and cheer dates and more?
Those who would like to learn more about CPW can visit or

What are the three or four reasons participants enjoy CPW?
Participants enjoy CPW because it allows them to participate in a great league, whether that be football or cheer, builds friendships that last a lifetime, helps improve confidence, and, of course, is a lot of fun.


Carlsbad Pop Warner, Vice President Kim Kline
Name: Kim Kline
Community: Aviara, Carlsbad
Education: University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Family: Sons – Trent Nyberg (15, CPW Alum) and Aaron Nyberg (13, CPW Junior Midget)
Hobbies and Interests: Spending time with my boys and family
Favorite Pop Warner/Cheer Division: All levels. It is fantastic to see the kids at all ages participating and having fun.

Carlsbad Pop Warner
Name: Carlsbad Pop Warner
President: Tim Silverman
Zip Codes Served: 92008, 92009, 92010, 92011