It's spring...time for youth football sign-ups


Since its establishment in 1970, the Johnston Youth Football and Cheerleading organization has developed into a valuable and champion caliber program for boys and girls ages 5 to 13.

The group’s goal, as long-serving President Gary Salzillo said earlier this week, “has been to provide a service to young athletes geared toward promoting a healthy activity and training under competent leadership in an atmosphere of community participation.”

Salzillo, who owns and operates Northeast Auto Body and has long been a staunch supporter of all youth and school programs in Johnston, went on: “We focus on football and cheerleading skills plus physical and sociological well being. We stress teamwork sportsmanship, discipline and character.”

The JYF Panthers, as the youth programs football and cheerleading squads are well-known, have developed a reputation among all American Youth Football groups in southeaster New England for having the best equipment possible and that includes uniforms that are nothing less than high quality sports apparel.

Moreover, the youth Panthers play all their home games at the state-of-the-art Mayor Joseph Polisena Stadium people not familiar with the town is located adjacent to Johnston High School off with Atwood or Cherry Hill Avenues.

And for that, Salizillo wanted it known: “We’d like to thank Mayor Polisena and his office for the kindness shown to our organization and being afforded the opportunity to have your young athletes and cheerleaders have use the best facility in Rhode Island.”

Salzillo, who coaches the U-12 Panthers to the division championship last fall, added: “I can’t believe we’re getting ready for another season. All our coaches and volunteers are looking forward to one of the best seasons ever.”

It will all begin this evening (April 19) from 6 to 8 p.m. with registration for boys and girls in various age categories. Parents can also register their son and/or daughter tomorrow evening from 6 to 8 o’clock or on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Unlike some youth football groups, there is no minimum or maximum weight requirement to play for the Johnston Panthers.

Salzillo said divisions are based on the participant’s age on 7/31/18. The divisions for football are: Flag, ages 5-7; 8-U, 9-U, 10-U, 12-U and 13 U. Cheerleaders squads are: Flag, ages 5-6; Division 8, 7-8 year olds; Division 10, agers 9-10; Division 12, ages 11-12; and Division 14, ages 13-14.

The registration fee for all cheer division is $120 for the fist child in a family and Flag Football only $135 for the first child. In the 8 U and up, the fist child fee is $150. Parents may pay by either cash or credit card and no checks will be accepted. People can also save time by registering online at

Registration will be on a first come, first served basis and space will reportedly be limited.

What’s important for parents to know is that the youth Panthers, who are member of the Blackstone Valley Football Conference that is a member of the nationally recognized American Youth Football American Youth Football, and live in Johnston, Smithfield, Foster, Burrillville and North Smithfield are eligible to sign-up.

The JYF is a 501c3 non-profit corporation and people who’d like further information should attend one of this week’s three sign-up sessions at Northeast Auto Body and, as Salizillo mused: “We’ve got plenty of room for volunteers.” 


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