History

About the Dearborn Tractors
 

The Dearborn Lions is one of three franchises in the city that are administered by the Dearborn Youth Football Association (DYFA.org).  The other two franchises are the Dearborn Pioneers (www.dearbornpioneers.org) and the Dearborn Thunderbirds (www.dearbornthunderbirds.org)

The DYFA was created in 2000 to offer football and cheerleading opportunities to Dearborn youngsters ages 8 through 13.

At one time, the city had three youth football teams—Lions, Mustangs and Thunderbirds—but one by one the teams disbanded, the last being the Mustangs more than three decades ago.

As a result, for the next 20 years or so, Dearborn children had to join football and cheerleading teams in other communities.

In 2000, however, a new generation of parents and community activists came together to create the DYFA, bringing youth football and cheerleading back toDearborn.

Originally, the DYFA chartered two franchises—the Blue Lions and Silver Lions—based upon the idea that kids destined to play their high school football at Fordson would be part of the Blue Lions and those headed to Dearborn High or Edsel Ford would be members of the Silver Lions.

The ultimate goal, though, was to have three franchises, each to serve as a feeder program to one of the three public high schools.

In 2001, the Blue and Silver Lions joined the Downriver Junior Football League (DJFL) and played their inaugural season.

During the subsequent years, 250-260 children participated annually in the DYFA’s program, and each franchise enjoyed its share of success on the field, winning at least one DJFL championship. 

In 2013, the DYFA created a third franchise—the Thunderbirds—and left the DJFL to join the newly created Western Wayne Junior Football League.

Each of our three franchises now feeds into one of the city’s three public high school football programs—the Tractors to Fordson, the Thunderbirds to Edsel Ford and the Pioneers to Dearborn High.

The DYFA Board of Directors oversees the registration process and the major financial aspects of all three franchises.
Each franchise, however, has its own Board of Directors and exercises a considerable degree of autonomy while administering its own operation.