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The Middle School and Upper School frequently asked questions below will help you start to navigate the world of AFS Athletics.  Please feel free to reach out to me at any time if you have any questions about the athletics program.

Best,
Jeff Bond
Director of Athletics


Middle School

The Middle School athletic requirement

Every 6th-8th grade Middle School student is required to participate in at least one season of athletics each year. After-school sports are optional for 5th graders. Students who participate extensively in a sport or physical activity that AFS does not offer (for example, dance, horseback riding) are eligible for exemptions to this policy. All questions about athletic requirements should be directed to Jeff Bond.

Middle School students sign up for their sports choices for the year during the first week of school. These choices are non-binding and any interested student may come out for the first day of soccer, cross-country, or girls’ tennis practice.

Submitting your child’s required Athletic Physical (PIAA) Form

All students need to have their Athletic Physical Form (link to pdf) on file or uploaded into Caredox to be able to participate in AFS Athletics. This form requires a comprehensive medical history and signature from a medical professional. This document also includes information about concussions and sudden cardiac arrest.

Middle School Practice and Game Schedule

Practices are held on Mondays through Thursdays. There may be an occasional practice or game on Fridays for Middle School “A” teams. All practices are on the AFS campus. Tennis practices are on AFS’s Tennis Courts. The cross-country team runs on campus. Although the location of soccer practices changes due to field availability, generally the boys practice on the Lower Field between the softball diamonds and the girls practice on Meadow Field behind the Lower School.

Students in grades 5 and 6 will be walked to the locker rooms on the first days of practice. Coaches are responsible for supervising the locker rooms before and after practice throughout the season.

Games usually begin at 3:30 p.m. or 3:45 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays, with occasional 4:30 p.m. or 4:45 p.m. games.

Information about games and practices are posted on the AFS website and updated regularly. Changes to the athletics schedule are posted on the Athletics website, on the calendar and on the AFS Twitter https://twitter.com/afs_roos.

If inclement weather forces cancellation of a game or practice, students may leave at the completion of the school day.

Getting home after practice or games

Parents may pick up students after the completion of practices or games. A courtesy shuttle transports students to the Jenkintown train station. For a fee, students may also sign up for door-to-door van service. Families interested in either of these “late van” options should contact AFS Transportation Coordinator Chris Santaniello, at 215-886-4350 x. 3981.

Transportation to and from away games

All students will be transported to the site of the contest and back to AFS by school bus or van. Parents who travel to the game may take their children home directly from the game if they let the coach know before leaving the site of the contest. Upon arriving at AFS, students will wait,  under coach supervision, to be picked up in front of Hallowell Gym.

Information about away games, including location and directions, can be found on the athletics calendar. Approximate return times are also posted as part of the calendar listing.

The “Flight” system in Middle School

AFS often uses a “Flight” system to create teams of players with similar abilities instead of grouping student-athletes by grade level. “Flight” decisions will be announced after the start of practice.

Middle School Boys and Girls Interscholastic Tennis

AFS generally offers two options for Middle School tennis players — an “A” team for more experienced players and a “B” team for less experienced and younger players. The “A” team focuses more on competitive interscholastic tennis, playing 6-8 matches against other middle school “A” level teams. The “B” team focuses more on individual skill development, playing 3-5 matches later in the season against other “B” level teams.

Middle School co-ed cross-country

Co-ed cross-country has no maximum team size, and is open to runners of all levels. The program is geared toward developing a love of running in adolescents. All interested runners will be on the team and be eligible to run in meets. Individual development within a supportive team environment is stressed.

Missing practice or games

While we in the Athletic Department certainly understand that the hectic nature of adolescent life may cause students to need to miss practices or games because of other important commitments, we hope that all prospective student-athletes and their families view participation in the athletic program as a serious and worthwhile commitment. It is our hope that students will accept the responsibility to inform their coaches beforehand of conflicts, and that parents will make every effort to enable their children to attend scheduled practices and games, whenever possible.

The AFS policy on playing time

Though winning certainly has a place in Middle School athletics, it is not the primary focus of our coaches, teams, or program. Rather, we hope to provide a positive athletic experience for all student-athletes, in part, by giving them the opportunity to test their skills in a game situation. Coaches will make every effort to play every student-athlete in each game. There is no guarantee of exactly equal playing time for every child, and parents are asked to respect the coaches’ decisions about playing time.

Equipment requirements and uniforms

Soccer players must have shin guards and non-metal cleats. T-Shirts and shorts are fine for soccer practice, and all players will be issued game jerseys and shorts. Cross-country runners should have appropriate running shoes for practices and meets. Practice apparel for cross-country consists of T-shirts and shorts. Runners will be issued shorts and tops for meets. Tennis players need their own racquets and appropriate footwear. They will be issued AFS Tennis uniforms for matches.

All issued uniforms should be returned to the Athletics Office in a timely manner upon completion of the season. Families will be billed for outstanding uniforms.

Ensuring the health and wellness of student-athletes

AFS partners with NovaCare Rehabilitation Services for our athletic-training needs, and we have a Certified Athletic Trainer, Alexis Bonisese, on staff. If an athlete suffers an injury during a practice or game, the coach will notify Alexis, who will assess the child’s injury,  initiate appropriate treatment and be in immediate contact with families about serious injuries. Alexis supervises rehabilitation for all sports-related injuries for AFS student-athletes, so if your child is unable to perform due to injury, he or she will need to be engaged in rehabilitation exercises with Alexis. If an injury requires a visit to a doctor, the student will need to provide the AFS Athletic Department with a “return to play” form signed by the consulting medical professional.

Alexis can be reached at abonisese@abingtonfriends.net or 215-881-7692.

Concussions and Middle School athletes

AFS has undertaken many initiatives that focus on the recognition and treatment of concussions. AFS coaches are trained on concussion recognition and treatment. All AFS student-athletes and families are expected to read and sign the Concussion Information Sheet and Concussion Acknowledgement Form as part of their Athletics Permission Form. In addition, all student-athletes involved in one or more “contact sports” (soccer, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, lacrosse) at AFS are required to take an ImPACT baseline neurocognitive test prior to beginning participation. Student-athletes will generally be tested once every two years. A student-athlete who exhibits symptoms of a possible concussion will be closely monitored by his or her coaches and by AFS’s Certified Athletic Trainer, Alexis Bonisese.

Upper School

The Upper School athletics requirement

At AFS, we believe that athletics are an integral part of our educational program. The AFS Athletics program is composed of both interscholastic and instructional athletics options, which are offered seasonally throughout the academic year. The activities take place mostly after the completion of the school day.

Every Upper School student is required to participate in at least one season of athletics during each of his or her upper school years.  Students who participate extensively in a sport or physical activity that AFS does not offer (for example, dance, horseback riding), are eligible for exemptions to this policy. All questions about the athletic requirements should be directed to Jeff Bond.

Interscholastic athletics involve membership on a sport-specific team, daily practices directed by a qualified coaching staff, and a schedule of competitive contests against other schools. Instructional athletics is a more individualized, non-competitive program that introduces students to lifetime physical-fitness activities. Both interscholastic and instructional athletic offerings fulfill the AFS Athletics Requirement.

At AFS, there is a place in the interscholastic athletics program for every interested student-athlete. We do not cut athletes from our programs. In many sports, AFS offers several levels of play. If a student wants to play a sport, he or she will be able to do so at the appropriate level.

Submitting your child’s required Athletic Physical (PIAA) Form

All students need to have their Athletic Physical Form (link to pdf) on file or uploaded into Caredox to be able to participate in AFS Athletics. This form requires a comprehensive medical history and signature from a medical professional. This document also includes information about concussions and sudden cardiac arrest.

Athletic season start dates and preseason practices

Pre-season practices for the Upper School’s fall interscholastic teams traditionally begin during the last two weeks of the summer. An exact preseason training schedule will be posted on the AFS Athletics website in mid-July. The fall season of AFS’s instructional Personal Fitness program generally begins during the first week of the school year.

Season start dates and preseason information for Winter and Spring sports can be found on the athletic calendar and are announced to Upper School students over the course of the school year.

Upon enrollment, any new student interested in playing a sport should contact Jeff Bond to indicate interest and to learn about possible off-season skills-development opportunities.

The Upper School practice and game schedule

Upper School Athletics at AFS are a five- or six-day-a-week commitment for 1 ½ to 2 hours per day. Personal Fitness meets for one hour a day, five days a week.

Information about games and practices are posted on the AFS website and updated regularly. Changes to the athletics schedule are posted on the Athletics website, on the calendar and on the AFS Twitter https://twitter.com/afs_roos.

If inclement weather forces cancellation of a game or practice, students may leave upon the completion of the school day.

Getting home after practice or games

Families are responsible for arranging transportation home after the completion of practice.  A courtesy shuttle transports students to the Jenkintown train station. For a fee, students may also sign up for door-to-door van service. Families interested in either of these “late van” options are advised to contact AFS Transportation Coordinator Chris Santaniello, at 215-886-4350 x. 3981.

Transportation to and from away games

All student-athletes will be transported to the site of the contest and back to AFS by school bus or van. Parents who travel to the game may take their children home directly from the game if they let the coach know of their intentions before leaving the site of the contest.

Information about away games, including location and directions, can be found on the athletics calendar. Approximate return times also are posted on the calendar.

Missing practice or games

While we in the the Athletic Department certainly understand that the hectic nature of adolescent life may cause students to need to miss practices or games for other important commitments, we hope that all prospective student-athletes and their families view participation in the athletic program as a serious and worthwhile commitment. It is our hope that students will accept the responsibility to inform their coaches beforehand of these rare conflicts, and that parents will make every effort to enable their children to attend scheduled practices and games whenever possible.

AFS policy on playing time

Though winning certainly has a place in the AFS Athletics program, it is never the sole focus of our coaches, teams, or program. Rather, we hope to provide a positive athletic experience for all student-athletes, in part by giving them the opportunity to test their skills in a game situation. Coaches will make every effort to communicate directly with student-athletes about playing time. There is no guarantee of exactly equal playing time for every child, however, and parents are asked to respect the coaches’ decisions about playing time.

Equipment requirements and uniforms

AFS issues game uniforms for all of our interscholastic teams. Practice apparel varies by sport, and usually players will provide their own practice gear. AFS provides much of the equipment necessary to play interscholastic sports, except for personal items like mouthpieces, goggles, headgear, and shin guards. Any student-athlete who wishes to use his or her own equipment during the season is asked to check with his or her coach prior to doing so.

All issued uniforms should be returned to the Athletics Office in a timely manner upon completion of the season. Families will be billed for outstanding uniforms.

Ensuring the health and wellness of student-athletes

AFS partners with NovaCare Rehabilitation Services for our athletic training needs, and we have a Certified Athletic Trainer, Alexis Bonisese, on staff. If an athlete suffers an injury during a practice or game, the coach will notify Alexis, who will assess the child’s injury, initiate appropriate treatment and be in immediate contact with families about serious injuries. Alexis supervises rehabilitation for all sports-related injuries for AFS student-athlete, so if your child is unable to perform due to injury, he or she will need to be engaged in rehabilitation exercises with Alexis. If an injury requires a visit to a doctor, the student will need to provide the AFS Athletic Department with a “return to play” form signed by the consulting medical professional.

Alexis can be reached at abonisese@abingtonfriends.net or 215-881-7692.

Concussions and Upper School athletes

AFS has undertaken many initiatives that focus on the recognition and treatment of concussions. AFS coaches are trained on concussion recognition and treatment. All AFS student-athletes and families are expected to read and sign the Concussion Information Sheet and Concussion Acknowledgement Form as part of their Athletics Permission Form. In addition, all student-athletes involved in one or more “contact sports” (soccer, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, lacrosse) at AFS are required to take an ImPACT baseline neurocognitive test prior to beginning participation. Student-athletes will generally be tested once every two years. A student-athlete who exhibits symptoms of a possible concussion will be closely monitored by his or her coaches and by AFS’s Certified Athletic Trainer, Alexis Bonisese.