USA Football

The Crystal Lake Raiders Youth Football and Cheer League realize the sport is more than just a competition or game. It is an opportunity to empower the kids to face their future with confidence.

We care about our athletes. Coaches are trained and certified to provide an enriching environment. The Raiders believe the culmination of mastering fundamentals, safety awareness, positive competition and promoting fun are essential. Besides skill progression, the perseverance and commitment pays off with enhanced self-esteem. This gives them the courage to overcome obstacles, experience the thrill of achieving goals, and to participate with heart in the sport, and in life.

Teamwork, camaraderie and good sportsmanship are emphasized. Win or lose, everyone plays

a role in it, and everyone should accept it graciously. We hope to stimulate their love of the sport and respect for each other, including their opponents. We want to bring together the kids of the community to get the most out of a healthy competitive team experience, and friendships.

Our alignment with Crystal Lake Central and Crystal Lake South High Schools reinforces proper skill development, and easier adjustment from youth to high school sports. Ultimately we hope the kids take these life lessons with them forever and look back at their Raiders experience as great childhood memories. These values and standards, along with the partnership of peers, coaches and parents, are how we have become the premier youth football and cheerleading league of Crystal Lake.


The Crystal Lake Raiders is the premier youth football and cheer league in Crystal Lake, IL. It continues to provide a positive youth sport experience since its inception in 1981. It is a non-profit community program run solely by volunteers. While the program is always evolving, it maintains its strong foundation and success.

As a member of The Chicagoland Youth Football League (TCYFL), we are a part of the biggest and best youth football league in the nation. Our partnership with the TCYFL provides support for a positive and safe environment for 5-14-year-olds. Our flag football program provides an introduction to football with the focus on fundamentals, teamwork and basic strategy. Our travel tackle football program builds on those fundamentals and is divided into levels of competition based on age, weight, skills and experience. Most levels are typically comprised of a Big 10 team (competitive high-level), MAC or WAC team (intermediate-level) and Pac 10 teams (designed for instructional and developmental play). The Crystal Lake Raiders have won more Big 10 championships than any other community.

The Raiders take pride in ensuring the safety of our players. We equip our players with the safest and latest equipment, provide year-round training and run background checks for all coaches and the Board of Directors. We mandate that all coaches for cheerleading and football be certified according to the latest safety recommendations through USA Football, the youth football development partner of the NFL, and Illinois Recreational Cheerleading Association (IRCA).

The Crystal Lake Raiders have several cheerleading options to choose from. We have competitive, non-competitive, mascot and Sparkle teams. We are proud members Illinois Recreational Cheerleading Association (IRCA), which provides support, training and rules to ensure the safety of our athletes.

Both, the competitive and non-competitive recreational cheerleading teams are available to 2nd - 8th graders. No experience is required and there are no try-outs. Teams are developed based on grade level with one to three grades per team. Non-competitive cheer also has a mascot program for K-1st graders. Each of these cheerleading teams performs cheers, stunts, jumps and tumbling on the sidelines during the Raiders football games. Competitive cheer also participates in either competitions or exhibitions, with the possibility of advancing to the State Championship.

We are very proud of our Sparkle squad who has won 6-consecutive IRCA State Championships. Our Sparkle squad offers cheerleading for girl or boy athletes with special needs. Any child regardless of their special needs ability is welcome. The program offers friends, fun, music, dancing, cheering, and the opportunity to perform at Crystal Lake Raider football games and two local cheerleading competitions.

Our fields are natural grass fields, and each field is equipped with a stereo sound system and digital scoreboards enhancing the on-field experience. We offer a variety of food and drinks at our concession stand and Raiders gear at our onsite or online apparel shop (coming soon).

With more than 30 years of providing a positive experience, we have established financial security and funding to continue to grow the program by updating equipment, establishing a safe playing environment, continued coaches training, and enhancing the overall Raiders experience for our participants.


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