SYA Sideline and Competitive Cheer FAQs

1. SYA sideline cheer teams cheer for what sport?  We cheer for SYA Football (Ankle biter (age 6-7, under 75lbs)), 80 lb, 90 lb, 100 lb, 115 lb, 130 lb, and 155 lb weight class). Cheerleaders will cheer for the appropriate age football team (i.e., K, 1, and 2 Cheer Teams will cheer for Ankle biter or 80 lb weight class).

 We also cheer for our local community. Throughout the season, cheerleaders will cheer for the following:

  • Cheer for at least 8 regular season football games (August – October);
  • Cheer for playoff and championship games (November);
  • Participate in special events such as:  
    • Opening Day Football Games;
    • SYA Night at Centreville High School;
    • Centreville Day;
    • Centreville and Westfield High School Homecoming parades; and
    • Centreville High School Cheer (CVHS) Regionals Competition.

2. When are games played for SYA football and SYA sideline cheer?  Most games are on Saturday or Sunday from 8 AM to 9 PM. You will be notified of game schedules before the first game of the season. However, there may be field and game changes due to weather, referee issues, location, etc. Every attempt will be made to notify you in advance of any changes, but changes may come as late as the day of the event. Regular season football games start in early September and end in late October. The four top teams in every division continue on to the playoff games in November. SYA Cheer Teams WILL cheer at playoff and championship games in November.

3.  When does SYA Extreme begin competing?  Extreme teams begin competing in January.  One to two competitions are scheduled each month from January to April  The final competition is typically held the first weekend in May.  Extreme teams may be registered to compete in five to eight competitions per year depending on event scheduling. Competitions are generally held on Saturdays and Sundays.

4. Where are the games played?  SYA Football is part of the Fairfax County Youth Football League (FCYFL). SYA home games are played at the CVHS Stadium, Braddock Road Park, and CVHS practice field #1 (turf field next to the Stadium). Away games are played across Fairfax County. Some cheerleading squads choose to follow a football team and cheer for them throughout the season, while others only cheer at home games. This decision is made by the coach, although the coach can decide to get input from the parents. Most younger squads enjoy traveling with a football team.

Why do I never get to cheer on the CVHS Stadium field? FCYFL schedules games on fields based upon division: American, Central, and National. American football teams are usually slated to play on the stadium fields, with the Central and National teams on the secondary fields.

Why are my games so early? FCYFL schedules games based upon weight class. Ankle biters and younger players are scheduled for early morning games, and older players are scheduled for games later in the day. Game schedules may change if there is a conflict with a coach or particular field.

5. For competition cheer, where are competitions held?  SYA Extreme competitive cheer teams attend competitions held primarily in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia.  Extreme may also travel to other states, (i.e., Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida, etc.) for special end-of-season competitions if bids are won by teams to attend those events.

6. Why are cheerleaders placed at the 30 yard line to cheer?  The majority of FCYFL games are played on grass or turf fields where there is little space between sideline and fence/roll off area. For the safety of the players and cheerleaders, the commissioners of football have determined that for all non-stadium fields, cheerleaders need to stand between the 30 yard line and the end zone. This is strictly for their safety, and due to significantly more plays being run out of bounds between the 30 yard lines, potentially causing injuries. FCYFL has left the decision of whether cheerleaders can cheer inside the ropes up to the individual commisioners. SYA DOES allow cheerleaders to stand inside the ropes. Cheering inside the ropes is NOT allowed in Manassas or Chantilly.

Additionally, for all games on stadium fields, only players, coaches, and cheerleaders are allowed on the field and track at all times.

7. Do sideline cheer teams cheer in inclement weather?  Yes, unless otherwise notified by your assigned coach. Fairfax County has many turf fields, and this is an advantage as to avoid rescheduled games to weekdays or beyond the regular season.

8. Do sideline cheer teams compete at competitions?  SYA Sideline Cheer Teams do not compete. SYA Competition Cheer Teams cheer during football season and compete at national level competitions throughout Virginia and Maryland. Please see SYA Extreme’s Web page for additional information.

9. Can my siblings cheer on the same SYA sideline cheer team?  If there is a two-year age difference, they can cheer on the same team or cheer for a sibling’s football team if the coach can accommodate.

10. Can my siblings compete on the same SYA Extreme competition cheer team?  Age restrictions are in place for certain competitive cheer teams depending on the level of the team.  Age guidelines are published each year in the May/June timeframe.  Level divisions have a minimum and maximum age limit for each team.  If siblings are at the same skill level and are age appropriate, it is possible for siblings be placed onto the same team, but such placement is not guaranteed.

11.  Can my daughter cheer on the same sideline cheer with a friend? Yes, but please put a request on the registration form.

12.  Can my daughter be on the same competitive cheer friend with a friend?  Possibly.  Age restrictions are in place for certain competitive cheer teams depending on the level of the team.  Age restrictions are published each year in the May/June timeframe.  Level divisions have a minimum and maximum age limit for each team.  If friends are at the same skill level and are age appropriate, it may be possible for them to be placed onto the same competitive cheer team, but such placement is not guaranteed.  Competitive cheer teams are restricted to a total of 36 athletes per team.

13. Do I have to buy a sideline uniform or warm-ups?  SYA provides a uniform top and skirt for the season. A deposit check is collected at the beginning of the season and returned at the end of the season when the uniform is returned washed and in good condition. If the uniform is not returned, the check is cashed.

Parents/guardians may be asked to purchase supplemental uniform pieces (bow, socks, body liner, briefs, leggings), plus white cheer shoes. 

14. Do I have to buy a competition cheer uniform or warm-ups?  SYA provides a competition cheer uniform to all athletes that must be returned at the end of the season.  Other items purchased for our competitive athletes do not have to be returned.  

15. Are practices mandatory?  Yes. Coaches go to great lengths to plan, prepare, and attend all practices. Cheerleading is a progressive sport and missing practice will hurt the team, the individual cheerleader, and his/her stunt group. When he/she attends the next practice, he/she not only has to make-up the skills (i.e., cheer, dance, stunt) missed, but he/she also has to learn the skills being taught at the current practice. This could mean that another cheerleader has to be pulled out to help or the coach has to reteach the entire group.

16.  When and where are practices held for SYA sideline cheer teams and SYA Extreme competition cheer teams?  Sideline cheer teams will practice one night per week at an elementary school in Centreville, Virginia, or at SYA Extreme's gym facility, the SYA Atmosphere, located at 13941 Willard Road in Chantilly, Virginia.  Sideline cheer practices are generally scheduled around/after 6 pm for one hour. 

Extreme competitive cheer teams will practice at the the SYA Atmosphere.  Each team practices one day per week for 90 minutes and once on Saturday or Sunday for two hours.  Additional practices may be scheduled as needed.  Practices may begin during the week as early as 5:30 pm, and on the weekends as early as 9 am.  Practices generally end by 9 pm during the week and on the weekends.

17. Is cheerleading considered a team sport?
Absolutely YES! Your children will condition, run, jump, cheer, tumble, lift, stretch, stunt, and dance 2-4 days per week depending on age level. We need ALL team members to demonstrate their skill levels. We want every cheerleader to realize how important she is to the team and that it takes all of them to succeed.

18. Do you need coaches?
Absolutely YES! We are always looking for coaches. Whether you have previous experience with cheerleading or have a great cheerleading attitude, contact us and fill out the volunteer registration form online. All coach candidates (past, present and future) are formally interviewed to determine their background and commitment to the program as well as to ensure they are a good fit with our team. To find out more, contact Commissioner Tammy McCarron at


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Office Location:
5950 Centreville Crest Lane
Centreville, VA 20121
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 471
Centreville, VA 20122
Phone: (703) 815-3362
Fax: (703) 815-2180