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with USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck
Summer-School, Football Style
News & Notes
Tackle and Flag coaching courses strengthened with player health material
Art of Protecting the Football PAGE 14 USA Football’s Merril Hoge inspires to “Find a Way” PAGE 16
State Forums raise the game and unite America’s football community PAGE 22 Meet a USA Football Member PAGE 23 USA Football Regional Managers PAGE 24 Quick-Hitter Grid PAGE 25 Incentives, Management and Deadlines Key for Fundraising PAGE 26
Indianapolis to become new home of USA Football
health & safety
Doctors weigh-in on parents’ football FAQs PAGE 18 What Football has Taught My Son: Augustine Okoye PAGE 19 USA Football represents youth football at multi-sport concussion summit PAGE 20 USA Football and Shock Doctor show mouthguards matter PAGE 21
A Play for Every Situation
USA Football Officiating Members getting ready for the season PAGE 27 High school and college officials get starts at youth level PAGE 28 Multiple Sports Keep Veteran Officials Sharp PAGE 29
Team USA tops World in nationally-televised showdown
USA Football ready for Women’s World Championship
Football Facts, Stats & Figures
Meet a USA Football Staff Member
What Football Taught Me: Greg S. Jones
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Dear Readers, Summer is here and the start of football season moves ever closer to the front page of the calendar. I am pleased to share our newest issue of USA Football Magazine. The following pages in digital format feature new graphics, web links and exciting video to help get you, our members, ready for the weeks ahead. USA Football regional managers recently completed a successful schedule of State Leadership Forums for youth football commissioners. Our Coaching Schools continue through late July and we look forward to welcoming young players to our Player Academies (pg. 6) that are about to kickoff. In partnership with the Independent Women’s Football League, USA Football has assembled the first U.S. Women’s National Team (pg. 12). The 45-woman squad will travel to Stockholm, Sweden, to compete in the inaugural International Federation of American Football Women’s World Championship against five nations from June 27 to July 3. Coaches will find USA Football’s online Certified Coaching Education Program was recently bolstered with additional chapters covering concussion awareness and management, proper hydration and equipment fitting. Also, USA Football’s Equipment Grant Program received more than 1500 applications for $1 million worth of football equipment from Riddell, which is awarded to youth and high school programs across the country based on merit and need. This issue also includes information on USA Football’s upcoming move to Indianapolis to better serve you (pg. 9), tips on protecting the football from youth and high school coaches and an NFL running back (pg. 14), an interview with Augustine Okoye on what football taught his son, Amobi Okoye, of the Houston Texans (pg. 19) and a Q&A with doctors about youngsters playing football (pg. 18). Click through the following pages for all this and more. And like a veteran offensive line, USA Football’s regional managers and office staff is ready to lead the way and serve you. Refer to your USA Football regional map on pg. 24 to contact your regional manager for help gaining an edge or strengthening your league. In addition you’re only a toll-free call (1-877-5-FOOTBALL) or a mouse click away (usafootball.com) from our office. Good luck this summer as we count down to the kickoff of another great season together. Sincerely,
Executive Director SCOTT HALLENBECK
USA FOOTBALL EDITORIAL STAFF
Managing Editor STEVE ALIC Contributors: GARY DEL VECCHIO, ANTHONY EDWARDS, DAVE FINN, MICHAEL KUEBLER, BILL LeMONNIER, NICOLE LUKOSIUS, TIM POLZER To contact USA Football: (703) 918-0007
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Scott Hallenbeck USA Football Executive Director
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BY MICHAEL KUEBLER
odeled after NFL training camps with top youth and high school coaches, USA Football Player Academies have become recognized as blue-chip football learning experiences. USA Football Player Academies are three days in length and take place this summer in nine cities across the United States. Players aged 7-14 receive individual attention, segmented in two-year age groups. As the official youth football development partner of the NFL, NFL Players Association and the league’s 32 teams, USA Football Player Academies feature keynote speakers from throughout the NFL and other top football organizations. “There were a lot of local coaches there, and it was neat because they had a couple of NFL guys come in there too,” said Todd Casey of Vienna, Va., whose son attended a Player Academy in 2009. “They worked great with the kids and got them excited about what was going on.” The curriculum focuses on fundamentals
through position-specific and age-appropriate development training. What makes the Player Academies different than other camps is the instruction goes beyond the field and even football. “It’s an NFL-style setup,” Player Academy Clinician Frank Kolencik said. “It starts from the beginning from “The kids who come the standpoint to the Academy are that you have the classroom excited about playing [instruction] football and learning.” before you go – David Holm out in the field. After lunch, we address grades and getting into colleges and high schools. I think that right there is one of the biggest separators between the Player Academies and other camps.” From a parent’s standpoint, Player Academies alleviate safety concerns by simulating game situations with controlled contact. “I liked the fact that it was a limited contact
camp,” Casey said. “So there was a little ‘thudding up’ that was going on but no real big knockout hits. My concern with sending him to a full-contact camp is I’m not sure how well they monitor that, and I’m worried about injuries at that point.” All attendees receive an Academybranded practice-tee, shorts, practice jersey and cinch sack, a Shock Doctor performance mouthguard, a USA Football Player Membership and daily lunch. In addition, USA Football provides the following registration incentives: • League Equipment Credit: Receive up to $500 in Riddell equipment credit when players from the same league register • Group Rates: Receive up to 15% off using group rates. Email playeracademy@ usafootball.com for more information • Refer-a-Friend: After registering for a Player Academy, get a friend, teammate or sibling to list you as the referring party when they register, and you will receive a $50 gift card from Dick’s Sporting Goods
PHOTOS BY SHAWN HUBBARD
“The kids who come to the Academy are excited about playing football and learning,” Clinician David Holm said. “Their energy motivates me, and it makes it a great experience.”
“I think back to the camp, and all I’d have to do was just whisper to my son, ‘It’s time to get ready for football,’” said John Ziegelbauer whose son Matthew looked forward to the Player Academy every morning. “Even on game day he never gets up that fast, but he really enjoyed this camp. He had a lot of fun with it and I know he’s eager to go ahead and sign-up again.” USA Football Player Academy keynote speakers for this summer already include past and present NFL players, including Rocky Boiman, Boomer Esiason, Merril Hoge, Don Majkowski, Terance Mathis, Keith Rucker and Lance Schulters. The season kicks off at Lassiter High School in Marietta, Ga., on June 14. Click here to register for a USA Football Player Academy today.
News & Notes
Tackle and Flag coaching courses strengthened with player health material
BY DAVE FINN
merica’s favorite sport runs on team-first values, sophisticated strategy and elements of physicality. USA Football’s successful coaching education courses have covered the sport’s X’s and O’s since 2007. The computer-animated curriculum was bolstered in late April with new material covering concussion, hydration and player communication, player health proper equipment fitting and more. with the help of leading medical “Youth football participation today professionals and organizations is higher than it has ever been, and such as the Centers for Disease USA Football’s coaching courses make Control and Prevention (CDC). the sport better and safer,” said Dr. By the start of the 2010 season, Stanley Herring, the medical hundreds of youth director of the Spine Center football leagues will at Harborview Medical Center have partnered with in Washington State and USA Football to employ a clinical professor at the its coaching education University of Washington. resources, resulting in “Player health – particularly educating more than on matters of concussion 50,000 youth coaches – is rightfully commanding spanning all 50 states. attention in every youth USA Football’s online DR. STAN HERRING sport. With USA Football’s courses and full-day leadership, football coaches are well coaching schools now encompass prepared to monitor their players how to best teach the sport, and know what to do when a young practice organization, coach-to-
athlete’s well-being is in question.” The recent improvements come in video form and are included in USA Football’s eight-chapter flag football coaching course and its 15-chapter tackle football coaching course. Herring, who also serves on the independent non-profit’s Football and Wellness Committee, and USA Football Board Member and former NFL running back Merril Hoge lead coaches through the concussion education and management chapter. In addition to the concussion education portion of the course, Seattle Seahawks Head Athletic Trainer Sam Ramsden leads a 13-minute segment about hydration and the importance of acclimation, communication, understanding the signs and symptoms of heat illnesses and how to respond to them. Gatorade Sports Science Institute also contributes to the chapter. Leading football equipment manufacturer Riddell provides instruction on techniques and advice regarding proper helmet and shoulder pad fitting.
Indianapolis to become new home of USA Football
BY DAVE FINN
PHOTO: LACEY EVERETT, OFFICE OF MAYOR GREG BALLARD
rom just outside Washington, D.C., since 2002, USA Football has furthered the development of the sport closest to the hearts of countless Americans. Fittingly, the organization will be making the move to the center of the American heartland. Following eight successful years on the East Coast, football’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels announced in April that it will relocate its national headquarters to Indianapolis in August – a change executive director Scott Hallenbeck views as beneficial to USA Football’s growth. “Indianapolis is the ideal place for USA Football on many levels and we are excited to make it our home,” Hallenbeck said. “It quickly became apparent to me and to our board of directors that this community provides unmatched advantages from a business and a qualityof-life standpoint.” As USA Football prepares to begin working in the capital of Indiana, the city of Indianapolis is also enthusiastic about the imminent partnership. “USA Football’s decision to relocate to Indianapolis and conduct its national and international operations for the sport in the Circle City demonstrates our continued
On April 20, USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck (left), Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard (center) and Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association President and CEO Don Welsh (right) announced USA Football’s upcoming relocation to Indianapolis.
ability to draw reputable organizations to do business here,” Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard said. “We welcome the investment by USA Football in our community and thank them for choosing Indianapolis, a great football city proud of its NFL championship team with a climate that encourages economic development.” While the organization’s central location will be different, USA Football’s commitment to strengthening the game and supporting those who power the sport will always remain firm.
A Play for Every Situation
With USA Football Playbooks, youth coaches have a play for every situation in their back pocket. USA Football offers two offensive playbooks and one defensive playbook for coaches, whether they’re rookies or veterans looking for a change. All three are available now for the 2010 season. Each playbook is filled with play diagrams outlining formations, position assignments and coaching points, a play sheet for diagramming your own plays and a glossary of terms. Playbook: Offensive Football – A Great Way to Start [Split Backfield & I-Formation] helps coaches establish a dependable running and passing game from a core set of plays and formations based on a foundation of a twoback system with attacks to all areas of the field.
BY MICHAEL KUEBLER
Playbook: Spread Offense details an offense focused around spreading the ball to multiple players, becoming more popular in youth leagues. Each offensive playbook includes run-blocking and pass-protection schemes for each system. Playbook: 4-4 Defense focuses on a run-stopping defense essential for youth teams. It describes simple blitz schemes and provides visual instruction for shades, alignments and position responsibilities. The 4-4 Defense is difficult to read, creates lanes to attack the football and develops a defensive unit that understands pursuit and good tackling. USA Football Playbooks are available online for $25 at the USA Football Shop.
News & Notes
USA Football U19 National Team linebacker Mike Hull (#44) tackles World Team RB Hampus Hellermark of Sweden last January. Hull, who will play at Penn State this fall, was named Team USA’s Player of the Game.
Team USA tops World in nationallytelevised showdown
BY DAVE FINN
hile the gap between the United States and the rest of the world in football continues to close, wiggle room remains for the Americans as illustrated in USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The World” Game, presented by Riddell, on Jan. 30 in Fort Lauderdale. USA Football’s U19 National Team defeated a World team composed of players from eight countries, 17-0. The game was played one day prior to the NFL’s Pro Bowl in South Florida and was nationally televised by NFL Network. After battling to a scoreless tie for most of the first half, Team USA’s Ethan Grant (North Broward Prep, Fla.; TCU) capped off a lightning-quick two-play drive – highlighted by a 50-yard strike from quarterback Tyler Smith (Wilson Area H.S., Pa.; Maryland) to receiver Josh Reese (Miami Central, Fla.; Central Florida) – to give the U.S. a lead it would not relinquish en route to victory.
The World team, spanning four continents of high school-aged football standouts, twice penetrated America’s 20-yard line but was unable to score. Team USA linebacker Mike Hull (Canon McMillan H.S., Pa.; Penn State), who will play for coaching legend Joe Paterno this fall, earned Team USA’s Player of the Game honor with eight tackles and a key red zone interception. “I’m very proud of how the team came together in about four days,” USA Head Coach Chris Merritt of Miami Christopher Columbus H.S. said. “It would be easy for them to think about where they’re going to be playing in college, but throughout the week it was great to see them become a team.” USA Football’s “Team USA vs. The World” series, featuring the top high school-aged players from across the globe, will continue in 2011. Stay tuned to usafootball.com for details.
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USA Football ready for Women’s World Championship
BY MICHAEL KUEBLER
f there was any question about players in the Independent Women’s as basketball, soccer and softball. football’s global appeal among Football League (IWFL). Pickett plays While they now play football women, consider it answered for the D.C. Divas as 20 of the IWFL’s professionally, they also work fulland answered soundly. 51 teams are represented on the time jobs and seek out sponsors USA Football recently announced national team. Players range from top in order to play the sport they love. the roster for its 2010 Women’s newcomers to seasoned veterans. All Team USA consists of attorneys, National Team which will compete in enjoy the opportunity to play football administrators, business owners, the inaugural International Federation in the IWFL and look forward to further coaches, firefighters, police officers, of American Football (IFAF) Women’s their experience by representing their students and teachers. World Championship in Kelly Barker of the Stockholm, Sweden, this Boston Militia paved her summer from June 27-July 3. course to professional Competing with the football beginning with United States for the gold basketball, softball and medal will be Austria, volleyball in high school. Canada, Finland, Germany She went on to play Division and Sweden. II basketball at Bentley The tournament, College and professionally OKIIMA PICKETT LAUREN PRINGLE KELLY BARKER covered by usafootball. in the Netherlands. She has com, will be a football first for a sport country in the sport. now played five years of professional that is growing and is running out of “Being able to play a sport that tackle football and is also a seven“firsts” to produce. for so many years has been out of year veteran of the Boston Women’s The IFAF Women’s World Championship my reach has been something I am Flag Football League. Barker also has is a strong advancement for the game blessed to be a part of,” said the Dallas experience as a collegiate basketball of football and women sports. Diamonds’ Ann Richardson who will and volleyball coach. “There are so many young girls play on the defensive line for Team “It is an honor to be selected to play out there in the world that are USA. “Never would I have thought that I with the best in the country, and I will just hungry to get inside of some could play this sport I love so much on accept nothing less than playing to shoulder pads and a helmet and play a worldwide scale and represent the our full capabilities with the ultimate a ‘real’ game of football,” Team USA United States while doing so.” goal of winning games,” said Barker running back Okiima Pickett said. To go along with playing who will play tackle for Team USA. “I have what it takes to be a very professional football for the With the tradition and history of productive member for Team USA Diamonds, Richardson also works as American football on their side, the U.S. and all of women’s football … I am the owner of an auto detail business. players are confident in a positive result. willing to do whatever it takes and This is evidence of the status of “I love football, and the opportunity to work as hard as it takes both on and women’s professional football. play for my country is so thrilling,” New off the field to get the recognition Some players may have played York Sharks wide receiver Lauren Pringle woman’s football deserves.” football on boys’ teams or flag said. “I want to prove that the inventors The 45 Team USA roster selections football as youths, but most excelled of the game of American football can were made from among the best as athletes in other sports such play the world and come out on top.”
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Art of Protecting the Football
BY MICHAEL KUEBLER
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE GREEN BAY PACKERS
everal of the most famous plays in NFL lore received monikers describing their offensive brilliance: “The Catch” by the 49ers, “The Hail Mary” by the Cowboys and the Steelers’ “Immaculate Reception.” However, one holds its place in infamy for its deflating consequences: “The Fumble.” Every football player, team and fan has suffered through their own version of The Fumble: whether by fumbling on the one-yard line and losing the 1979 junior college state championship in California or by knowing that nine fumbles in an early-season game in 2005 was the only blemish on a 9-1 season for the high school team you coach. These two versions of The Fumble haunt John Rico and Rich Stuart, respectively. As tough as the experiences were, they have also turned into tremendous learning experiences. Rico, a USA Football coaching member, coaches the Central Catholic Saints of the Trans Valley Youth Football League in California. Because of the lesson he learned 30 years ago playing for Cabrillo College, he truly
understands the importance of protecting the football. “Turnovers are the biggest difference-maker in a game,” Rico said. “So I would put fumbling as high as any mistake that you can make, probably the No. 1 mistake with regards to winning or losing.” Stuart, the head coach at Miami Belen Jesuit High School and USA Football’s 2010 U19 National Team running backs coach, clearly recalls his team’s only loss – and their fumble – in 2005. “For the coaches that are still here that were there that day, that’s always some motivation for us,” Stuart said. Both Stuart and Rico use similar drills to teach their ball carriers to protect the football such as the gauntlet drill. In this drill players run with the ball in between two lines of teammates who reach in and try to strip the ball away. Another related drill involves having the rushers run low through a chute and protect the football from pads or other players again. Through the drills, the coaches try to instill proper ball-carrying techniques in their players. After taking the handoff, Rico teaches his players to use both hands
PHOTO: BRIAN FEENER
to hold the football and cover both ends while running through the line of scrimmage and linebackers (levels 1 and 2). Once they are in the secondary (level 3) or out in the open, they can then switch to one hand. Here Stuart teaches “wrist above the elbow.” This keeps the ball high against the body and tucked in tight. While these tips for protecting the football at levels 1, 2 and 3 are common throughout football, the terms and descriptions vary. Green Bay Packers running back Ryan Grant describes the same thing Stuart and Rico teach as “all-in-one” and “high and tight.” “It’s especially important at our level. It’s great fundamentals,” Grant said. “So as soon as you get the ball, it’s all-in-one, and then once you break through the traffic, it’s one hand on the ball, high and tight.” During his three seasons with the Packers, Grant has become one of the NFL’s best at protecting and holding onto the football. In 2009 he was one of four NFL running backs Coach Rich Stuart of Miami Belen Jesuit High School huddles with his running backs during a without a rushing fumble with a USA Football 2010 U19 National Team practice in Fort Lauderdale earlier this year.
minimum of 100 carries. “It’s something that doesn’t come natural to a lot of guys, and I’m not going to say it came natural to me,” Grant said of protecting the ball. “We emphasize it and it becomes a habit because we work on it so much.” One way to make it into a habit is to show your players that you trust them even when they do fumble. “What I usually do when a kid fumbles is give him the ball back right away,” Stuart said. “That’s something I’ve learned over the years just to get his confidence back.” Rico and Stuart both got their confidence back and were given the ball again following their own and their team’s big fumbles. Rico went on to play in the Canadian Football League while Stuart’s Belen Jesuit squad had only one fumble all season in 2009. With the ball back in their hands, they can now hand off their lessons and tips to their youth and high school players. Just as long as they remember “all-in-one” and “high and tight.”
USA Football’s Merril Hoge inspires to “find a way”
BY STEVE ALIC
SA Football Board Member Merril Hoge has football coursing through his veins. The game and its values have shaped his life. He’s played it on the NFL level, coached it in youth leagues, analyzes it on ESPN and now serves it as a member of the USA Football Family. His NFL running back career cut short from concussion, Hoge is featured in USA Football’s concussion awareness and management video for coaches. A father, a football contributor and a cancer survivor, Hoge’s philosophy is “Find A Way,” which is the title of his book rich with inspiring life experiences of a hard-nosed American. USA Football recently spoke with the Pocatello, Idaho native, who leads its 16 board members in career NFL scrimmage yards (5,272) and touchdowns (34). USA FB: As an ESPN NFL analyst with a heavy travel schedule, you have little spare time. What inspired you to be involved with and make time for USA Football? HOGE: I’m a youth football coach first. I was taught the game of football by one of the greatest teachers the NFL has ever known in Chuck Noll (Pro Football Hall of Fame, 1993). I want to give back to our youth the football and life lessons Chuck taught me. Football is the greatest team sport but it’s also a great game to mold and develop young people to be productive and successful in life. USA FB: Your son just finished his fifth season of youth football and you’ve served as his coach for all five seasons. What have you learned from that experience? HOGE: One of the great lessons I have learned from coaching my son’s teams is how important it is to teach in the yardsticks of their years, not mine. And teaching kids the correct fundamentals of the game allows them to have success playing it. And with success, they have fun playing it, too.
USA FB: You recently wrote a book titled, “Find A Way.” What led you to write it and what does it entail? HOGE: I was inspired to write this when sitting in a chemotherapy chair and reminiscing about the first time I wrote those three words – “Find A Way” – on my corkboard wall when I was 12 years old. I wrote those words in response to all the negative things people would say to me when I told them I would play in the NFL. I was told, “That is so hard to do,” and “The odds of you making it are so slim.” So, my response was to “find a way.” That has always helped me channel my energies toward things I wanted to have happen. These three words have helped me achieve goals like playing in the NFL, overcoming a farming accident as a boy that almost cost me my hand, the death of my mom as a young man, concussions that ended my NFL career and my battle with cancer. USA FB: You’ve said that your daughter, then 9 years old, steeled your will in your fight against cancer (Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma). How did she do that? HOGE: When my doctor confirmed that I had cancer (2003), I still do not have the words to describe how empty and dark I felt. One thing I love more than anything is being a dad, so my immediate concern was to let my kids, Kori and Beau, know that there would be some changes for me in a few weeks. When I told them I had cancer, my daughter ran across the room, jumped in my lap, threw her arms around me and looked me in the eye and said, “Well dad, you’re going to have to ‘find a way.’” I had been using my “find a way” philosophy as a parent and here she was challenging me to do the same thing I had been teaching her. When I heard that, being sick, being tired and dying were not options. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Thank goodness for that kind, wise little daughter of mine.
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health & fitness
Doctors weigh-in on parents’ football FAQs
BY NICOLE LUKOSIUS
ootball is a contact game. It’s also one of the few youth sports that employ protective equipment from head to toe. More than 3 million American youngsters aged 6-14 play organized tackle football, making it one of the country’s most widely played youth sports. According to a 25-year study DR. DAVID JOYNER by the University of North Carolina, the number of injuries sustained playing high school football per athlete is smaller than in other sports, including gymnastics and ice hockey. USA Football recently spoke with Dr. David Joyner, chairman of USA Football’s Football and Wellness Committee, and Dr. John Lehtinen, a sports medicine physician who also serves on the committee, about youth football and parents’ frequently asked questions regarding the sport. USAF: What would you tell parents who are uncertain if their child should play tackle football? Dr. Joyner: Anything you do in life has risks. There are risks in after-school activities with lots of kids playing on the playground and kids get hurt Anything you do in just by playing. life has risks. Football There aren’t great seems to be no more statistics that support one way hazardous than other or the other, but types of activities. there are several – Dr. David Joyner activities and sports that seem to be more hazardous. Football seems to be no more hazardous than these other types of activities. Anything you do in life has risks, and football certainly does, but it’s not an outlier for kids at that age.
Dr. Lehtinen: I guess it really depends on the child’s development and if they have been part of any other sports previously. Try to get a background on what they’ve been doing and that way you can assess their ability based on their skill level, maturity level and level of interest. It can also depend on if it’s the mom and dad that want DR. JOHN LEHTINEN the child to play or if it’s the child who wants to take on this additional activity. I would ask these questions to parents - what’s the goal here? I’m more concerned that kids are involved in some type of physical activity, and whether it’s organized or not is debatable, but as long as they’re physically active, I’m happy having them do whatever physical activity they choose. USAF: What are the greatest health benefits that youngsters gain by playing football? Dr. Joyner: I think being active to start with is very important for our youth because our society is an under-exercised, over-eating population, so promoting physical activity is very positive. Secondly, kids learn teamwork, working together, collaboration skills, things that begin to hold up well later in life. A lot of successful people in the world, not that you have to be a CEO of a company to be successful, but many if not most played football and other sports. You learn many things from coaches - proper technique and position - and hopefully they also learn about hydration and proper ways to take care of themselves. If they incorporate the values that USA Football is teaching, they’ll do a good job. I think it’s just getting them started. P.E. class in schools is really going down in most school districts and is a problem in other places in the world, so promoting athletic development and other physical skills is important. Click here to read an expanded version of this Q&A on usafootball.com.
Amobi Okoye with parents Edna and Augustine on Day 1 of the 2007 NFL Draft after being selected No. 10 overall by the Houston Texans.
BY DAVE FINN
what football has taught my son:
ootball is a fairly recent addition to the lives of Augustine Okoye and his family, yet the game’s effects on his son, Amobi – a starting defensive tackle for the Houston Texans – and all those he has touched have been far-reaching. Amobi and his family moved from Nigeria to Huntsville, Ala., when he was just 12 years old. Amobi tested into the ninth grade upon his arrival to America where he discovered football soon thereafter. After starring at the University of Louisville, he was chosen by the Texans with the 10th overall selection in the 2007 NFL Draft at age 19, making him the youngest first round draft selection in NFL Draft history. USA Football Magazine spoke with Augustine to discuss Amobi’s meteoric rise to the NFL and football’s influence on his son both on and off the field. USA FB: Did football and its core values help to accelerate Amobi’s maturation process as a 19-year-old rookie? OKOYE: Football did accelerate his maturity even from college. I see playing professional football as being in the military because of the discipline in the game and the teams as well. USA FB: How has football helped to mold Amobi as a person off the field? OKOYE: The zero tolerance in discipline maintained by the teams helps the players in a lot of ways, especially off the field. Amobi has combined this discipline with
his home training, family values and his big heart to reach out to children in the Houston area, Huntsville, Ala., Louisville, Ky., and in Nigeria, where he was born. USA FB: When did Amobi become interested in football and when did he start playing? OKOYE: His playing football was actually by accident. We had teased him in a family dinner that he was adding too much weight and needed to trim down a little. So he joined the track team and when his friend who played football was going for practice, [Amobi] asked if he could join him and he replied, “You don’t want to be broken there!” So he took it as a challenge to play football. All this happened in his 10th grade. He knew nothing about football before this time. USA FB: What was the college recruiting experience like for your son and for you as a parent? OKOYE: It was exciting for both of us even though he understood the whole thing better than I did. The negative side of it was that his coaches were always bringing recruiters to my office like three or four times a week. If I did not own my own business I would have been fired by my employers. As parents we did not want him to play because we did not understand the game and also felt it was rough. The good side was that the colleges were offering full scholarships, and you know what that means to parents with three kids in college. USA Football’s Player Membership is free. Sign up today and be a better player.
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HOUSTON TEXANS
health & fitness
USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck helped lead the creation of a national Youth Sports Concussion Coalition to establish consistent concussion-related messaging for coaches, athletes and parents in all youth sports.
USA Football represents youth football at multi-sport concussion summit
he American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and USA Football partnered to conduct a summit on concussion in youth sports on Feb. 22 at the ACSM’s Indianapolis office, drawing national governing sports bodies and medical experts from across the country.
Summit participants, including US Lacrosse and the US Soccer Federation, discussed common goals in youth sports safety. “The leadership that was assembled in one room for this meeting holds the makings of something historic and of fundamental importance,” ACSM Executive Vice President Jim Whitehead said. Representing USA Football in Indianapolis were Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck and Stanley Herring, M.D., co-medical director of the Seattle Sports Concussion Program and a member of USA Football’s Football and Wellness Committee. “This is a youth sports problem affecting multiple sports,” Herring said. “No one’s tried to organize national governing bodies like this before – there was value to this meeting.”
The ACSM invited sports medicine leaders to the full-day meeting while USA Football reached fellow national sports governing bodies to attend. “Having US Lacrosse and the US Soccer Federation at this summit underscores the attention placed on concussion awareness and education,” USA Football’s Hallenbeck said. “We commend sports organizations committed to their young athletes’ well-being and we encourage others to join us.” Twenty individuals from 14 organizations participated in the summit, including the Brain Injury Association of Washington, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), NCAA, NFL, National Federation of State High School Associations and Sanford Medical Center. Among the summit’s objectives was to discuss common language between youth sports organizations pertaining to concussion. USA Football and the CDC introduced a concussion awareness and education plan for the youth football community in December 2009, which the CDC has shared with other sports’ national governing bodies, including those for lacrosse and hockey. Attendees also discussed existing youth sports concussion legislation, including the Zackery Lystedt Law, a Washington State law passed in May 2009 that requires parents and athletes to read and sign an information sheet about concussions; the removal of a youth athlete who is suspected of sustaining a concussion in a practice or game; and written clearance for that athlete to return to play from a licensed health care provider knowledgeable in the diagnosis and management of concussion.
health & fitness
USA Football and Shock Doctor show mouthguards matter
BY MICHAEL KUEBLER
ll sports have their associated equipment. Some is used for function, some for style. Still other pieces are used for safety and protection. Football is no different. Its players wear helmets, gloves, pads, eye black and cleats with each having its own purpose. There is one small piece of equipment that is rapidly growing in importance in football and all sports: the mouthguard. Mouthguard technology has advanced immensely. They are no longer simply pieces of rubber or
Youth football coaches, parents and players need to be aware of the growing importance of mouthguards. Not only do they need to know the safety and performance benefits, but also how to choose the right mouthguard. Shock Doctor and USA Football provide some tips to follow:
3 Make sure the
mouthguard fits tight yet comfortably without affecting breathing or speaking.
3 Mouthguards of optimum
thickness, such as multilayer mouthguards, absorb more impact.
3 A mouthguard designed
to protect the lower teeth can provide additional protection.
plastic that you rip out of a package and pop in your mouth. They can be molded to personal, form-fitting specifications both at home or by dentists. The mouthguard has historically been viewed as something that protects your teeth. This is still true as an athlete is 60 times more likely to damage their teeth if they are not wearing a mouthguard according to the National Youth Sports Foundation for the Prevention of Athletic Injuries. But they do more. Mouthguards also protect against dangerous lacerations in the mouth. They assist in preventing jaw fracture and can protect the TM joint (jaw joint) from dislocation. “Mouthguards play a pivotal role in protecting athletes,” said Jay Turkbas, senior vice president of product development at Shock Doctor, USA Football’s official mouthguard partner. “Shock Doctor is committed to leading the efforts in mouthguard technology, research and education.” Safety and protection are not the only areas that mouthguards improve. Research is being conducted to confirm that mouthguards can increase player performance as well. It is believed that a properly-fitted mouthguard allows an athlete to breathe and communicate better, will stay in place without creating a distraction to allow the athlete to focus on performance and provide stability to the jaw.
Linebacker Steele Divitto of USA Football’s U19 National Team, seen here employing his Shock Doctor mouthguard, helped shutout the “World Team” this past January, 17-0, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (see page 9). Divitto will suit up for Boston College this fall.
Shock Doctor mouthguards protect all of USA Football’s national teams. “As the official mouthguard of USA Football, Shock Doctor is committed to providing youth football players with mouthguards that provide the highest level of protection,” Turkbas said. “We support USA Football in providing training and education to players, coaches and officials. Shock Doctor was also honored to support USA Football’s recent ‘Team USA vs. The World’ game and to provide our state-of-the-art mouthguards to all the players.”
State Forums raise the game and unite America’s football community
BY DAVE FINN
n football fields spanning from the Statue of Liberty to the sandy beaches of Hawaii, youth leagues thrive in their own unique way. But all of them have one thing in common: ART ORTEGA an impassioned commitment to further strengthen the roots of America’s favorite sport. As USA Football helps unify the youth football community with best practices and exciting new standards, NFL teams showed their continued support toward the cause by hosting USA Football State Leadership Forums from January through May. From coast to coast, youth football commissioners, presidents and board members gathered for exciting days of learning and idea sharing at USA Football’s forums, many of which were hosted by NFL franchises and led by USA Football regional managers. “USA Football is doing a lot of good,” said Art Ortega, the vice commissioner of Peninsula (Calif.) Pop Warner who attended the forum at the 49ers’ Santa Clara, Calif., training facility on Feb. 27. “There were a lot of things from the forum that I took away, ranging from their fundraising ideas for our association, the work USA Football does in awarding equipment grants
and more. It was very informative and helpful.” At each of its forums, one attendee was selected to represent that region at the 2010 NFL/USA Football Youth Summit in Canton, Ohio, in July. Approximately 200 coaches and administrators from every state take part in the annual event to discuss topics vital to the continued success of youth and high school programs. “USA Football brings people together involved with youth football that wouldn’t normally interact with one another to share ideas and knowledge,” said Darren Fortin, president of the Illini Youth Football League in Harvard, Ill., and an attendee at USA Football’s Chicagoland
Leadership Forum on March 6. “We share issues that affect our leagues at these forums and take good ideas back to our organization to make it better.” In addition to providing attendees with comprehensive football knowledge and player safety education, forums housed discussions on issues such as how to best promote player registration, coaching and officiating training resources, a national youth football playing standard, pre- and post-season events and fundraising guidance. “The safety of our players is extremely important and USA Football’s concussion information package is vital for anyone in football,” said Clyde Olson, commissioner of the Jersey Shore Pop Warner Football League who attended the Tri-State Leadership Forum at Giants Stadium on March 13. “USA Football is doing a great job with youth football programs so far and I look forward to what they have to offer in the future.”
For the third consecutive year, one youth league commissioner from each USA Football State Leadership Forum is selected to participate in the NFL/USA Football Youth Football Summit in Canton, Ohio. This year’s summit will take place from July 20-22 in the NFL’s birthplace. The NFL/USA Football Youth Summit assembles nearly 200 youth and high school coaches from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For a list of the 36 summit participants selected from USA Football State Forums, click here.
Meet a USA Football Member
ohn Moore remembers the days when he played youth football. He also recalls and commends the job done by his junior college coach. Today Moore runs a youth program as part of the CrossPoint Community Church’s community outreach in Katy, Texas, and values the training his coaches receive through USA Football. Moore recently spoke with USA Football Magazine to discuss his league and USA Football. USA FB: What got you involved in youth football? MOORE: I was involved in youth football when I was a kid. Since I was about 9 years old, I was playing youth football. I went through school and played junior high, senior high and junior college football and then coached my son for a number of years. Then when I came to work for the church, we decided to use football as one of our outreach programs here. We started with NFL Flag Football and gradually moved into tackle football as well. USA FB: When and how did you learn about USA Football? MOORE: Probably about a year ago, and I believe it was an email I received from USA Football as an advertisement. USA FB: What inspired you to become a USA Football member? MOORE: The concept behind having a national governing body for youth football was something that was needed for a long period of time. There were a lot of independent groups out there, and nobody reeled everybody in and got them formalized under one governing body. With that comes a lot of the great stuff USA Football provides like the coaches training, which I think is invaluable.
Name: John Moore Resides: Katy, Texas USA Football Membership: Commissioner Position: Director of Sports Ministry League: CrossPoint Youth Football League Number of Players: 500 Number of Coaches: 44
USA FB: Has your membership benefited you? MOORE: Definitely, especially the Certified Coaches Education Program as well as the other tools out there for the coaches, such as the practice planner and playbooks. USA FB: What is your favorite football memory? MOORE: When I was playing in junior college, I played for a very cool coach, a great coach, who always had us completely prepared for the games. We were always confident going into the games. So he was a good motivator and really emphasized being prepared for things. USA FB: What do you enjoy most about youth football? MOORE: The kids. I really enjoy watching their enthusiasm and their excitement and seeing them learn. USA FB: What advice would you give to other commissioners with respect to USA Football? MOORE: Don’t go out there and try to reinvent the wheel. USA Football has everything you need to put on a great program.
USA Football Regional Managers
America’s favorite sport is powered by you – dedicated youth league commissioners, coaches, game officials and volunteers. For each of you, there is a face and name to place in your football Rolodex: your USA Football Regional Manager. USA Football Regional Managers are current and former coaches, players and administrators working for you. Each has the experience needed to help you make your league or team even stronger with USA Football’s resources. Contact your USA Football Regional Manager to learn how you can kick off your free commissioner membership or to ask about coaching certification, the nearest USA Football Coaching School, Player Academy or State Leadership Forum. Stay in touch with your regional manager, whether it’s to share news about your league or team or to ask about member resources. In addition, you may always contact our office, through usafootball.com or by phone at 1-877-5-FOOTBALL. Let us know how we can serve you better. Together we’ll ensure that teamwork and leadership continue to serve as the laces binding our favorite game.
Northeast Region Northwest Region
Great Lakes Region
Southeast Region South Region
With members in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, USA Football recently caught up with four Commissioner members from coast to coast. Below are their straight-ahead thoughts on football topics including stadiums, tailgating and touchdowns.
COMMISSIONER: ORGANIZATION: RESIDENCE:
Most rewarding aspect of running a youth football league Favorite football moment
Northern Vermont Youth Football Colchester, Vt.
Watching high school football games and recognizing the players’ names who played youth football as kids Playing my first college football game and looking into the stands to see my Dad watching Getting all of Northern Vermont Youth Football programs on board to take the USA Football coaches course and requiring coaches to become members Ickey Woods doing the “Ickey Shuffle”
Englewood Youth Football Southeast Tennessee Athletic Conference Englewood, Tenn
Being involved with and getting to know our community’s youth and having a positive influence While coaching, my linebacker called to me and pointed to a cloud in the blue sky as the offense came up to the line. He was just having fun. Team effort in structuring coach training and certification standards
Columbia Youth Football League Columbia, Mo.
Watching the kids having fun and learning a great sport My last game as a coach and watching my kids celebrate after winning in overtime Growing from 450 to 700 players with the work of our volunteers and reorganization of our Board of Directors Just the excitement in the eyes of the player that scores University of Missouri Memorial Stadium Running a youth football camp with the University of Missouri A big grill
Arizona Pop Warner Phoenix, Ariz.
Assisting in development of our youth and preparing them for their future endeavors Our Far West Jets winning the 2009 Division II National Championship in Orlando Leading an organization committed to excellence and leading by example
Your greatest achievement as Commissioner
Coolest touchdown celebration Best football stadium Best fundraiser you’ve run Most important tailgate necessity Favorite USA Football Commissioner member resource Three people you’d like to watch a football game with
A youth player scoring a late-game TD and having it called back after spiking the ball like the pros Our own at Englewood Elementary School Pancake breakfasts Comfortable chairs for my wife. If momma ain’t happy, nobody’s happy State Forums, Coaching Schools and coaches training My sons Brady, Jackson and Will
Terrell Owens autographing a football University of Phoenix Stadium, home of the Arizona Cardinals Golf Tournament
New Dallas Cowboys Stadium League raffle with each program donating a prize Right-sized grill and all the beef to go with it The online articles I’d have to say four: my wife and three children
Coaching education material Vince Lombardi, Tony Dungy and John Madden
John Madden, Coach Gary Pinkel (Missouri) and my friends
USA Football offers resource-packed memberships to give coaches, game officials, youth league commissioners and players an edge. Learn more at www.usafootball.com/register.
Incentives, Management and Deadlines Key for Fundraising
BY MICHAEL KUEBLER
ith the tough economy, fundraising can be increasingly important for youth leagues. Chuck Leonard, President of the South Tahoe (Calif.) Pop Warner Football Association, has some fundraiser tips that are key for being successful: • Have a short, defined CHUCK LEONARD timeframe. • Use incentives for the kids. • Include more than one main prize in a raffle. • Have one central person run it. Leonard’s main fundraiser is a raffle for a Hawaiian vacation to a condo donated by a parent for a week. Local merchants donate other prizes. The fundraising coordinator of the league manages the raffle which runs for only a month. The kids and teams all have incentive rewards to reach. “We find that giving the kids an incentive helps a lot,” Leonard said.
It sure has as the raffle nets $46,000 for the league. The South Tahoe league doesn’t let its efforts rest with just the raffle. The league is looking into selling BRAX Spirit Cups, USA Football’s exclusive fundraising partner. The Spirit Cups are 18-ounce, heavy plastic cups featuring all 32 NFL teams with a 3-D holographic design. “BRAX has been awesome, and we will recommend selling the cups to all five communities we play football against this season and beyond,” Elyria (Ohio) Youth Football President Patrick Verburg said in a testimonial. “The cups look great. The kids loved them, and the parents said ‘Nice job’ to me for selecting such a cool fundraiser.” Whatever fundraiser your league uses, if it’s run properly and efficiently, it can help both the league and lower fees for the families. “By doing [the Hawaii raffle], that takes a lot of the strain off of our budget,” Leonard said. Something everyone could use these days. Youth football leaders can get more fundraising ideas from usafootball.com’s Fundraising page presented by BRAX Spirit Cups.
Shock Doctor Mouthguard Giveaway in USA Football Shop
With every July purchase, USA Football Shop customers will receive a free Shock Doctor mouthguard valued at $25 (limit one mouthguard per order). Shock Doctor, the market and technology leader in mouthguards, is the official mouthguard partner of USA Football and its gold-medal national team program. USA Football Shop offers an array of exciting items for every coach, player, game official and fan. USA Football and national team apparel, coaching handbooks, playbooks, rulebooks, instructional DVDs and more will raise your game this season. Visit USA Football Shop today and take advantage of this free special offer.
In Their Own Words: Game Officials
USA Football Officiating Members share insights on getting ready for football season
BY DAVE FINN
ike players and coaches, football officials have an offseason and routines to get ready for the next season’s kickoff. New officials may be entering their first season, while seasoned veterans might be back for their 20th year in the game. Two USA Football officiating members recently weighed in on everything that goes into being ready for September. What do you do to prepare for a season as an official? SOISTMAN: Study the rules of the game. I try to read the rule books once a month from May until the season starts. I will also read any case books or other rules quizzes that I can locate online. Check with your local group to see if they have any rules, study groups, or other type of off-season training material. Something that I have recently started was an offseason conditioning program. At some point we have to realize that we are getting older. Review game film of yourself or other officials if possible. I am a firm believer that you can improve the most by watching yourself on film. You may be doing things that you don’t realize. Update your uniform, oftentimes officials dig out their uniform the day before the first game. I try to get all my stuff out months in advance to see what items I need and what items need replacing. KILLIAM: There are three things that I do: study rules all year; keep physically active and healthy so that I’m
City, State: Glen Burnie, Md. Levels Worked: High School, Division III, American Indoor Football Association Experience: 14 years physically ready to officiate a game; and study my positioning and my keys and responsibilities within the game. If you’re a referee you’re responsible for the quarterback, if you’re a back judge or a field judge or a side judge, you’re responsible for certain receivers or guys blocking on the line. And you’ve got to make sure you’re ready for every single type of play that you’re going to see. What advice would you give someone thinking about becoming an official? SOISTMAN: Find a local officials group that will provide you with training. Many officials groups have mentor programs in which you will have a particular person to go to with any problems, issues, or just help in general. If you know an official who has been around for awhile, ask them to be your mentor. You should know the rules but don’t overburden yourself with them right from the start. The rules will come. Know the mechanics – mechanics are in place to assist you in officiating
City, State: Appleton, Wisc. Levels Worked: Division III (WIAC) Experience: 16 years
the game. They are designed to put you in the best place to officiate the game. Read them and master them. Ask for feedback. Take it, listen, and put it to use. If you don’t understand something, speak up. The chances are very good that if you have a question, someone else out there had the same question. And most of all, have fun. KILLIAM: I would advise them to get in and give it a try. Find somebody who knows officiating or somebody who is an official and give it a shot. It’s as much fun as you can have, really. You’re part of the game, it’s a way to stay close to the game and not let the game go on without you. I would also suggest contacting the state athletic association to get a listing of your local officiating associations. A local officiating association will be able to set you up with a mentor and also direct you to clinics that will teach the fundamentals of officiating. This, in association with the USA Football training information, will help you become a great official.
High school and college officials get starts at youth level
BY MICHAEL KUEBLER
y main interest in officiating is to give back to the sport.” Those are the words of Ray McCormick who lives in Normal, Ill., and officiates Division III college games in the NAIA. The technical analyst for State Farm Insurance has officiated for 22 years after getting his start at the youth and high school levels. For McCormick, who also played football as a youngster and in high school, a friend is what ultimately drove him to officiating both literally and figuratively. After three years of trying to influence McCormick to become an official, his friend told him he’d be at his house on Monday to pick him up to sign up. McCormick remembers the lack of instruction available when he started and cites USA Football’s officiating resources as valuable tools for today’s officials. “The material that is provided, if I had that when I started, I could have gone a lot further a lot quicker,” McCormick said. “I highly promote belonging to USA Football’s [membership] especially for new officials starting out.” Tom Rau is a high school football official in the Genesee Country (Mich.) Coaches and Officials Association. He also officiated at the youth level and has been calling games for 33 years. He lives in Grand Blanc, Mich., and works as an account manager for Country Fresh Dairy.
Football official Tom Rau (middle) began officiating football to stay in the game after his playing days. His son, Tom (far right), would follow in his footsteps.
PHOTO COURTESY OF RAU FAMILY
“I love the game and I’m not much of a spectator,” he said. Rau’s love of the game goes back to when he played in high school. After breaking his leg in a recreational league as a player, Rau was out of football for a few years. An ad for officials in a local newspaper caught his eye and brought him back on the field. Rau even got to officiate some of his son Tom’s junior varsity games. He once found himself in a tight spot when he threw a flag for roughing the passer, which called back an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown by his son. “My umpire’s bringing the ball back up field, and he says you’re not going to be very popular at home today,” Rau said. Everything must have turned out all right at home that night because the younger Rau also officiates at the college level. Family issues aside, officiating can be a daunting task for any new
official. Perhaps the No. 1 difficulty is being assigned games when starting out. Like most professions, you get caught between needing experience to get work and needing work to get experience. Another obvious struggle is learning the rules and their application. Rau deals with young, new officials often now and advises them to take advantage of the camps, clinics and training in order to get past initial roadblocks. “Take advantage of the camps and take advantage of the training,” Rau said. “Because the sooner you learn the right mechanics and application of the rules, the sooner you’re going to move up. And getting games is going to come through observers in the approved association.” Whether you’re a past player or fan looking to get out of the stands and into the game, check out usafootball.com to learn how to become an official.
Multiple sports keep veteran officials sharp
BY DAVE FINN
ene Steratore, most commonly recognized as an NFL referee, has also officiated 383 Division I men’s basketball games, including San Diego’s 70-69 first-round upset of Connecticut in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Throughout the country, there are more officials just like him. One sport – especially football – and its rules are intricate enough for officials to master, but imagine adding one or two more to your plate. Tom Hahs and John Nash, two USA Football officiating members, know what that’s like. Hahs primarily dons the stripes for football (he is a Division I official in the Ohio Valley, Mid-American and Big Ten conferences) and basketball (high school) as well as occasionally calling youth baseball games. Even among different sports, Hahs observes key similarities that translate from season to season. “You’ll likely have issues with coaches, I think there’s a lot of overlap there,” the Bourbonnais, Ill., native said. “You’ve still got to handle different personalities and coaches on the sidelines and on the bench. And it doesn’t make a difference what sport you’re playing, kids will be kids. You have to keep control on the field and on the court. “I think one [sport] complements the other. It’s still a sport, you still have rules. You have to make decisions.” In addition to the common ground that exists across sports, Nash, who works baseball and football on the high school and Division III levels in the Chicago area, uses aspects of one sport to help him improve in another. “Especially in baseball, you get a lot of feel for letting the play happen and then making a call,” Nash said. “I
think baseball has helped me a lot with slowing down and letting everything happen before making a call.” Despite cross-sport similarities, it remains a challenge for officials to make the transition from one game to another. Not only are rules completely different, but the style and pace vary depending on the sport. “One of the differences is basketball is a little bit of a faster game, in the sense that they’re up and down the floor,” Hahs said, “And you might have to make a decision a little quicker than you normally would on a football field where you have time to kind of think about it.” While basketball may maintain a quicker tempo than football, the dynamic between working games on the diamond and the gridiron is completely different. “In baseball you do more standing around, a lot of squatting,” Nash said. “So you need a lot of leg strength and endurance. With football it’s a lot more running and sprinting and stuff and especially working deep, there’s a lot more backpedaling.” In order to make the switch, both Hahs and Nash have their own techniques for jumping from football season into their other sport, and vice versa. Beyond the nuts and bolts of calling penalties, fouls or balls and strikes, Nash also sees far-ranging benefits that transcend the field or the court for officials who involve themselves in multiple sports. Adds Hahs: “I would highly recommend not to limit yourself to one sport.” Officials looking for resources to prepare for football season can visit USA Football’s Officials Center for articles, officiating education, rules interpretation and expert analysis.
football facts, stats & figures
BY DAVE FINN
SA Football Coaching Schools are likened to a fullday training camp for youth coaches, but the real beneficiaries are the players whose coaches are prepared in Xs and Os and learn how to address player
health issues, like concussion and proper hydration. USA Football recently surveyed more than 500 coaching school attendees from coast to coast to learn more about them and their coaching school experience.
How many years have you coached football?
Had you attended a USA Football Coaching School in the past?
Rate your coaching school experience.
Other > 1 year 6+ years
“Excellent” or “Good”
Of the 255 players selected in the 2010 NFL Draft, more than half hail from one of seven states (Florida, Texas, California, Georgia, New Jersey, Ohio and Virginia). The first five of these seven accounted for nearly 60% of the draft’s 32 First Round selections.
2010 NFL Draftees’ Home States
Florida Texas California Georgia New Jersey Ohio Virginia
13.3% 10.2% 9.8% 5.9% 4.7% 4.7% 4.7%
5% 10% 15%
USA Football Equipment Grants
USA Football will award $1 million in football equipment grants through our official partnership with Riddell. Nearly 800 youth and high school programs spanning 46 states and Washington, D.C. applied for a USA Football equipment grant in 2009. Below are states that received the greatest number of grants which were awarded based on merit and need:
1. California, 59 2. North Carolina, 49 3. Ohio, 48 4. Pennsylvania, 45 5. Florida, 41
Percent of 2010 NFL Draft
Meet a USA Football Staffer
Gary Del Vecchio
What are your primary responsibilities for USA Football? I lead the membership program for USA Football. I oversee the Member Services department as well as the regional managers. I am responsible to ensure that a regional manager has the tools necessary to show members and potential members how we can help strengthen their leagues. Another part of my job is to make certain that we provide the highest quality of customer service through our Member Services department. What is the most rewarding part of your job? Two things: I am able to work in America’s favorite sport and I am able to help provide a safe and enjoyable football experience for the youth football community – from commissioners to coaches to players and parents. It’s rewarding to see the work that we put in and the resources that we provide having a positive impact on youth football families.
What does football mean to you? Football is a sport I grew up playing every day. I developed a passion for it as a kid and that passion has led to me this position. Football provides participants with life-long lessons and memories. How do you enjoy spending your free time out of the office? Spending time with my family is No. 1. And as they would tell you, I am an avid sports fan so I enjoy attending and watching sporting events of all kinds. I also enjoy playing golf (not well) when the opportunity presents itself. In your opinion, why are USA Football members important for youth football? Youth football commissioners, coaches and officials have a huge impact on the lives of the children they interact with. Almost without fail, adults remember their youth football coach and what he or she taught them. It is a special connection and USA Football brings a critical education component to these roles. We help commissioners, coaches and officials perform their role to the greatest extent possible in order to positively influence the players and parents who drive this great sport. What are your goals for USA Football this year? Increase the adoption of our youth football resources through membership and certification programs. Expand our reach and impact by providing valuable programming and benefits to our growing number of members. And I’m also preparing for some new and exciting programs that USA Football will launch in 2011 that will further propel our members and the sport.
PHOTO: ANTHONY EDWARDS
What Football Taught Me
Greg S. Jones, Bookkeeping Express CEO
AS TOLD TO TIM POLZER
Football’s life lessons have taken Greg S. Jones from the youth fields of Western Pennsylvania, to massive Beaver Stadium on the campus of Penn State, and eventually into the corporate arena. Jones worked his way up from Punt, Pass & Kick participant to captain of the Nittany Lions under Joe Paterno in 1980 and still feels like every business day requires the same competitive approach and teamwork learned under the legendary Penn State coach. In 2007, Jones and two partners acquired Bookkeeping Express, a company based in McLean, Virginia that sells bookkeeping franchises across the country. Bookkeeping Express has franchises in 14 states provide accounting services for small businesses typically earning revenues of $5 million or less. Jones still leans on his experience as a linebacker to call the signals of Bookkeeping Express’s growth and rally its franchisees. “Whatever your passion is, you’ve got to work on it every day,” Jones says. “It ties into football: When you’re leading a company, you’re part of a team. If it’s structured properly and if it’s led properly it will win.” Jones recently spoke to USA Football Magazine to share what football taught him.
’m a Western Pennsylvania guy who grew up in Newcastle, about 50 miles northwest Pittsburgh, and I started playing at 7 years old. I played Midget Football – as we used to call it back in the day – and then continued to play through my high school and college career at Penn State. Playing football has been a major part of my life and I continue to use the lessons I’ve learned off the field in the business world. When I’m asked how I apply football to business, the first thing I think about is the discipline. It takes discipline to get up every day and do the things you have to do. It’s not easy for a lot of people, especially when it’s 90 degrees and you have to put on the Greg S. Jones pads and go through the same plays that you’ve practiced the past three months or whatever the case may be. I look at football and business using the same principle: What you put into it is what you’re going to get out of it. Most of the people who rise to the top of the NFL or the business world get it. They make it look so easy on Sunday or Saturday, but in reality their performance has been 12 months in the making. They get up every day to have the discipline and persistence to get back in there. In the business world it’s the same battle. I don’t know anyone who makes it in business without having a passion and getting up everyday swinging. Football taught me to put my full effort into everything I tried. When I played in high school, I had to learn how to excel on the field with the help of my teammates. I wasn’t a kid who had the confidence to take on the world. What I always enjoyed was being part of a team. I knew I didn’t
have all the skills. I couldn’t take on every lineman. I didn’t have blazing speed. But there were other guys on my team who did, so you relied on them to do their job and you would do yours. Business works the same way. Football also taught me about the value of preparation. Some of my best times and memories, even coming out of the off-season, was when we were all working together, working out in the gym or the weight room, getting ready for the next season. We all had this aspiration of doing something special next year. I feel the same when I’m working at Bookkeeping Express. Playing football at Penn State obviously was a world of difference compared to high school. I walked in and saw these monsters, bigger, faster players than I had seen in high school. I asked myself: “How the heck am I ever going to be able to compete?” I learned that size and speed aren’t everything. More goes into it than physical talent and appearance. The biggest life lesson I learned playing football at Penn State: Don’t assume these people around you – whether it’s in business or in sports – are who they seem to be. The second biggest thing I took out of playing football at Penn State was that it never stops. Whatever your passion is – football or business – you’ve got to be into it every day. Business can be competitive in many areas, whether creating a competitive culture within your own company or taking on a company with a competitive product. It’s funny, but the competitive challenges in business will work themselves out like a football team. We study and have strategy sessions hoping to get over the next mountain. The entire process boils down to: “How are we going to win this next big game.”
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