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contents issue 8 • winter 2008-09

inside slants features

2 Kickoff with Scott Hallenbeck 4 USA Football: 11 Jonathan Ogden
7 “I Played” Heisman Helper Joins USA Football
USA Football Member Charlie Ward
15 Meet a USA Football Staffer: Damone Jones
Teaching a Game He Loves 12 Committed
23 Meet a USA Football Board Member: Jon Butler By Steve Alic More than two dozen USA Football
30 Football Facts, Stats & Figures members contribute to new advisory
8 Coaching Country committees
32 What Football Taught Me Top Prep Coaches from Nine States By Rashad Mulla
Sgt. Tommy Rieman, United States Army Lead USA Football’s 2009 Junior
National Team 28 World’s top national
By Steve Alic
teams eager for
Canton journey
Six nations earn berths for
eight-country IFAF Junior World
Championship field
By Steve Alic


14 Game Changer: USA Football’s Coaching Education

By Rashad Mulla
16 Takeaway-Giveaway with Tom & Larry
By Tom Bass & Larry Canard
17 “What If?”: In-Game Coaching Scenarios
18 Getting an Angle on the Ball Carrier
By Tim Polzer

health & Fitness

19 What Football Has Taught My Son: Joe Laurinaitis

By Nicole Lukosius

league enhancement

20 Celebrating Your Season, Regardless of Record

21 USA Football Regional Managers
22 Meet a USA Football Member: Chad Blomgren

USA Football conducted two Player
Academies in 2008 (above). The three-day 24 Off-season training important for officials
camps for players aged 9-14 will be held in By Dave McMahon
at least 10 cities nationwide this summer. 26 Season in Rewind
Photo by Shawn Hubbard By Rashad Mulla
27 Quick-Hitter Grid
Thoughts from USA Football Officiating Members
Front Cover
Photo by Paul Pollard, inset photo by Sporting News/ZUMA Press/Icon SMI

01 Contents.indd 1 11/17/08 4:02:10 PM


Dear Readers,

Like a favorite meal, after completing a football season, we sit back, reflect and appreciate
how great it was.
Football people don’t sit for long, though. You – the coaches, league administrators and
game officials who make this team-first value-filled game our country’s favorite sport – are Chairman
Jack Kemp
already working toward next year. And USA Football
is committed to be your lead blocker. Executive Director
Scott Hallenbeck
Together we savor the sound of buckling chinstraps
to prepare for our greatest year to date. USA Football
will host more exciting training events than ever before
Usa football
in 2009; almost 120 of them, in fact.
Coming in ’09 is America’s first national team in
editorial staff
the sport composed of high school seniors (pgs. 8-10)
Managing Editor
taking part in football’s first world championship with
Steve Alic
national teams from four continents in Canton, Ohio
(pg. 28). Contributors:
Tom Bass, Larry Canard,
This issue of USA Football Magazine holds insight Nicole Lukosius, Dave McMahon,
and faces of dozens of USA Football members – a Rasad Mulla, Tim Polzer
membership which now stretches across all 50 states
and Washington, D.C. Among this proud football To contact USA Football: 
crowd is 1993 Heisman Trophy Winner Charlie Ward, (703) 918-0007
who today is a high school head football coach in Houston.
Also, learn about the 27 members on pages 12-13 who comprise USA Football’s three new
committees, established to help steer our programs and resources to best serve you.
Find out from the dad of Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis (pg. 19) what football has
taught his son. We’re also proud to share the football story of Operation Iraqi Freedom veteran traction media staff
Sgt. Tommy Rieman (pg. 32).
Beyond these pages, USA Football’s regional managers and office staff is better equipped Publisher
Rudy J. Klancnik
than ever to serve you as we’ve expanded our regions from six to eight (pg. 21). Contact your
regional manager and ask how he can help you gain an edge or strengthen your league. And Editorial Director
Tim Polzer
you’re only a toll-free call (1-877-5-FOOTBALL) or a couple of mouse clicks away from our
non-profit office at
william Bridgeforth
Here’s to a tremendous and happy 2009 for you, your family and the game that inspires us
while building tomorrow’s leaders. Traction Media
Editorial Offices
Sincerely, 7115 Tartan Trl.
Garland, TX 75044

Editorial Department Phone

(972) 896-8006
Custom Publishing
Scott Hallenbeck (972) 898-8585
USA Football Executive Director
USA Football Magazine is published by Traction
Media, LLC©. All rights reserved. Traction Media
does not accept unsolicited manuscripts. Publisher
assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited
manuscripts or art. No part of this magazine may
be reprinted or otherwise duplicated without the
written permission of the editor.

2 USA Football Magazine

02 Letter.indd 2 11/17/08 4:02:31 PM

3.indd 7 11/17/08 4:01:36 PM
Sporting News/ZUMA Press/Icon SMI

04 Ward Feature.indd 4 11/17/08 4:02:42 PM

USA Football Member Charlie Ward
Teaching a Game He Loves By Steve Alic

SA Football members reside in all 50 states.
Differentiated by their backgrounds, they are
united by a passion for America’s favorite sport.
They are auto mechanics, doctors, plumbers,
business owners and, uh, (ahem) … Heisman Trophy winners.
Charlie Ward, winner of the 1993 Heisman Trophy and former
Florida State University quarterback, employs his USA Football
coaching membership as varsity
head coach of the Westbury
Christian Wildcats in Houston. “USA Football
A superbly gifted athlete
in several sports, his present
has given me
calling took him by surprise. an opportunity
“I didn’t think I’d be a coach,
but I’m enjoying it – it’s been very
to learn how to
rewarding,” said Ward, who just put together a
finished his first season as a head
game plan and a
football coach after serving as an
assistant in 2007. Ward spent time practice plan.”
on last January
to purchase his membership and
struck a friendship with USA Football Regional Manager Deno
Campbell. “I never thought I’d be able to teach someone what
I did, but God gave me the opportunity to do so and share my

Paul Pollard
experiences with young guys.”
In addition to winning the Heisman and helping the
Seminoles earn their first national championship in 1993,
the Thomasville, Ga., native was drafted as a pitcher by the
Milwaukee Brewers (1993) and New York Yankees (1994) and “No sport beats football when it comes to teamwork,” he said.
is an accomplished tennis player. Ward, however, made his “If one guy is off, the whole team is off. It’s like your body – if
mark as a professional athlete during a 12-year NBA career. He your thumb hurts, your whole body hurts; it’s all connected.”
was drafted in the first round (No. 26) of the 1994 NBA Draft The son of a football, basketball and golf coach (Charlie
by the New York Knicks, led by legendary coach Pat Riley. Ward, Sr.) and pupil of Florida State’s legendary Bobby
A fan of all sports, Ward points out football’s attributes Bowden, Ward values the coaching training he’s gained from
faster than his early ’90s quarterback draws. USA Football.

The Heisman Trophy won by USA Football Coaching Member Charlie Ward resides in the public library of his hometown,
Thomasville, Ga. Ward’s comments about what winning the Heisman has meant to him:

“It’s a prestigious award and it was great to have such a good

team around me which helped me to win it. At the time you win
that honor, it doesn’t mean as much right then as it does over the
course of your life. When I go to a Heisman event now, that’s how
I’m recognized, as a Heisman Trophy winner. It’s provided me a
number of opportunities. It’s been a blessing.”

04 Ward Feature.indd 5 11/17/08 4:02:51 PM

“USA Football has given me an opportunity to learn how involvement [with USA Football] is helping me learn.”
to put together a game plan and a practice plan,” he said. “I Whether or not you’ve won a Heisman Trophy, Ward
gather information from the website and the membership recommends every coach to join USA Football’s huddle.
web page. I go there to get insight from coaches who’ve done “The training at the coaching schools and the DVDs
it before. offered online are backed by some of the best minds in
“And there are a lot of perks. We got our Captain’s football that you probably couldn’t get elsewhere without
Pack for the kids – that’s big for their morale. Our team having to pay a lot of money,” said Ward. “These things help
captains have a USA Football “C” patch on their jerseys. you teach how to block and tackle, how to play positions you
We’re using the helmet stickers we received in it, too, never played. And you get a chance to meet other coaches, too,
so the resources I’ve gained are valuable as well. My and talk football. That gives you an edge.”

Did You Know?

Charlie Ward was contacted by the Kansas City
Chiefs on Day Two of the 1994 NFL Draft to learn if
he’d be interested in backing up eventual Hall of Fame
quarterback Joe Montana. Ward could not commit
to the NFL until learning where he’d be selected in
the NBA Draft two months later. When the New
York Knicks made him their first-round pick (No. 26
overall), he decided to play pro basketball.

Charlie Ward and current Tampa Bay Buccaneers

standout running back Warrick Dunn were roommates
while playing for Florida State in 1993.
Ward and Dunn, then a senior and a
freshman, respectively, established a
friendship when Dunn needed it most.
The freshman’s mother had recently
been shot and killed in the line of
duty as a police officer. Dunn recently
Ray Stubblebine/Icon SMI

shared his thoughts about Ward with

Warrick Dunn
USA Football Magazine:

“At that particular time in my life I

needed someone who could help me keep
it together. I was dealing with a lot. He took
me under his wing and really just taught
Heisman-like USA Football Members me the little things like being a professional
Is there another Heisman Trophy winner lurking among
USA Football members? and being humble. Just the way he treated
A scan of our member list people and how he accepted everyone on the
revealed members named Marcus team really rubbed off on me. He taught me
Allen and Tim Brown. Brown, a
to always be your best. 
youth coach in the Mid-Maryland
League in Mount Airy, Md., said that
“I think he’d be an excellent coach. He’ll
having the same name as a Heisman teach discipline, technique. He is going to have
Trophy winner was always a positive a sound football team that is going to execute
thing, before adding, “How do you and play well and he will teach them to be men
know I am not the real Tim Brown?”
and the right way to play the game.” 

Tim Brown, 1987 Heisman Trophy Winner

6 USA Football Magazine

04 Ward Feature.indd 6 11/17/08 4:03:02 PM

USA Football’s national “I Played” campaign has reached more than 100 million Americans through television coverage on CBS,
ESPN, FOX, NBC and NFL Network this season. Since “I Played” was kicked off on August 3 during the NBC telecast of the NFL’s
Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, several hundred thousand unique visitors have read or submitted an “I Played”
story. To share your football story or to read those sent to USA Football, visit Below are excerpts of recent “I H
Played” story submissions.

Nick Garcia Jestin Samson Robyn Carbonara

Volunteer Firefighter College Student Administrative Assistant
& Emergency Medical Lake Forest, Calif. Elizabeth, N.J.
Technician (EMT) “Do not let what you cannot do I was a tomboy growing up.
McCordsville, Ind. interfere with what you can do.” Football was something that I never got
I started playing football when I was -John Wooden to play with an organized team, except
in the fifth grade. It has always been a Being visually impaired, I applied for flag football when I was 11 years
passion. By playing the game through Wooden’s phrase in whatever I do. old. I always played tackle football in
high school, I got the opportunity to Football has taught me that anything the yard with my brother and the other
learn how to work as a team and build is possible and anyone’s dreams can kids in the neighborhood.
friendships and bonds. come true if one puts forth the effort. When I finished college, I moved to
I carried this with me when After informing my family that I New York City. I soon found out that I
I joined the Marine Corps. I wanted to play football for my high had Type I Diabetes – insulin-dependent
remembered the three-a-days in high school (El Toro High School in Lake diabetes. The symptoms never showed
school and the conditioning practices. Forest, Calif., 45 miles south of Los up until I stopped participating in sports.
My high school football memories Angeles), I trained for the sport. My doctors believed that I probably had
inspired me and helped me get After six months of training, I diabetes since I was very young.
through boot camp. After serving my was ready to speak to varsity head I started exercising as much as I
term, I moved to Indiana where I had coach Jake Haley. Coach Haley and did when I was in college and high
the opportunity to play semi-pro ball his staff agreed that I could play school. I took up long-distance
for a few years. and I was assigned to right guard – running and found it mind-clearing.
The game gave me an appreciation this was all during my senior year. Soon after my first marathon, I was on
for life and the freedom that we all Coach Steve Hohl, my offensive line a Web site for the Washington Redskins.
enjoy in this wonderful country. coach, came up with a plan where They were advertising Washington’s
Traveling from town to town in the center would give me a direction “other” football team, a women’s tackle
our own vehicles in a caravan and such as, “on, in or out” to direct my football team. There were other women
taking in the best of football in the blocks. I attended every practice that loved football as much as I did? I
Midwest – these are memories I will with the goal to play in a game. That thought, “If they can do it, so can I.”
never forget. wish came true. I got to play in a I have now been playing women’s
Football taught me that we are PAT and our last offensive series. It professional football for two years.
as strong as we choose to be and we was so amazing to hear the crowd Always go after your dreams, no
can accomplish anything we put our rise up to chant my name and feel matter what they are, no matter what
minds to. my teammates’ support. your physical attributes.

07 I Played.indd 7 11/17/08 4:03:19 PM

Top Prep Coaches from Nine States Lead
USA Football’s 2009 Junior National Team
By Steve Alic

M ore than 1.13 million young men play high school football in the United States.
Forty-five of them will play on USA Football’s 2009 Junior National Team.
Ten men will coach them.
Led by Chuck Kyle of Cleveland St. Ignatius High School, Team USA’s coaching
staff possesses more than 1,500 prep victories, 31 state championships and 155 seasons
of high school head coaching experience. More than 30 of their players have played in
the NFL and hundreds of others have advanced to college football.
“I really feel honored to be part of this tremendous group of coaches and
lead it,” said Kyle, an English teacher who has guided his Wildcats to three
“National Championship” seasons (USA Today 1989, ’93; National Prep
Poll 1993, ’95) and nine Ohio large-school state titles in the past 20
seasons. “All of these men bring a litany of accolades, but there’s far more
to them than awards and win totals.  
“I’m most impressed – and proud – of how these coaches challenge
and guide their teams to reach their potential as student-athletes
and young men. They share uncommon abilities to prepare, inspire
and connect with their players.”
USA Football’s Junior National Team is America’s first in the
sport composed of top high school football student-athletes from
the country’s 2009 graduating class. The team will compete
among an eight-nation field spanning four continents in the
2009 International Federation of American Football (IFAF)
Junior World Championship in Canton, Ohio’s historic Fawcett
Team USA’s 10-man staff features two offensive line coaches to
quickly prepare blocking schemes for varying defensive fronts with
two or three days of rest between its three games in Canton.
Shawn Wood / Studio 7

Head Coach Chuck Kyle

USA Football Junior National Team

08 USACoaches.indd 8 11/19/08 10:58:11 AM

Cleveland St. Ignatius High West Des Moines (Iowa) Wayne County (Miss.) High Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer Miami Christopher
School, Head Coach Valley High School, School, Wide Receivers High School, Defensive Line Columbus High School,
Kyle became his high Offensive Coordinator A veteran of 16 seasons Team USA’s youngest Defensive Backs
school alma mater’s head A head varsity football as a high school head coach, coach holds 11 seasons of The Indiana University
coach in 1983 and owns a coach in Iowa since 1976, Boyles has guided his teams experience on collegiate and alum has led his Explorers
258-57-1 (.818) record and Swenson owns a career to five state championships high school levels. Gold has to district titles in 2001, ’03,
a state playoff ledger of coaching record of 265-85 – three of those five with his served as defensive line coach ’04, ’05 and ’07, including
51-11 (.823). St. Ignatius’s (.757). Swenson, inducted Wayne County War Eagles. at Wayne State University undefeated regular seasons in
nine Division I state titles into the Iowa Football A high school head coach (2002) and Grand Valley State ’05 and ’07. An assistant coach
under Kyle are the most of Coaches Hall of Fame (1993), of current Washington University (2003-04), helping in the upcoming 2009 Under
any Ohio school since the has led his teams to a state Redskins quarterback Jason lead GVSU to a Division II Armour All-American Game,
state’s playoff format began playoff berth in each of the Campbell [Taylorsville NCAA National Championship Merritt was a head football
in 1972. The Wildcats have past 22 seasons en route to (Miss.) H.S.], Boyles has a in 2003. USA Football’s Gold coach in Germany for four
advanced to Ohio’s state four state championships, Magnolia State prep head is the brother of Ian Gold, years, earning three Euro Bowl
playoffs in each of the past including three with Valley coaching record of 184-21 the former Denver Broncos Championships and a 51-12-2
21 seasons. High School (’02, ’03, ’05). (.898). linebacker. (.800) record.


Cincinnati St. Xavier Bothell (Wash.) High Lake Balboa (Calif.) Chicago Mount Carmel High Dallas Carter High School,
High School, Defensive School, Running Backs Birmingham High School, School, Offensive Line Linebackers
Coordinator Bothell High’s head coach Offensive Line In 25 years as Mount Wilson owns a career
Specht took over as for the past eight seasons, In 2000, Croson inherited a Carmel’s head coach, Lenti has head coaching mark of
head coach for the Bombers Bainter has directed his Birmingham program that was led the Caravan to nine Illinois 226-78-4 (.740). He led John
in 2003 and has quickly Seattle-area program to a combined 3-17 from 1998-99 state championships and 13 Tyler H.S., located in Tyler,
earned two Ohio Division I state championship games in and had not captured its state title game appearances. Texas, to the state’s Class
Coach of the Year honors 2006 and 2007. Having just league title since 1969. Croson Lenti, one of two Team USA 5A State Championship in
(’05, ’07). In his six years completed his 12th season proceeded to lead the school offensive line coaches (Ed 1994 and directed Paris
in leading the Bombers’ as a high school head coach, to league championships in Croson), was the prep head (Texas) H.S. to the 4A State
football program, Specht Bainter has earned King 2000, ’01, ’03, ’06 and ’07. The coach of current Philadelphia Championship in 1988. A
has attained a sparkling County’s Coach of the Year Patriots earned Los Angeles City Eagles quarterback Donovan 17-time district coach of the
55-9 (.859) record and two honor four times. Bothell titles in 2002, ’04, ’06 and ’07, McNabb and has led Mount year, Wilson earned Texas’
Shawn Wood / Studio 7

large-school Ohio state H.S. has claimed four of its finishing 2007 in the USA Today Carmel to 23 consecutive AP High School Coach of the
championships (’05, ’07). conference’s past nine titles. “Super 25” national rankings. state playoff berths. Year honor in 1989 and ’95.

08 USACoaches.indd 9 11/17/08 4:03:47 PM

Chuck Kyle Head Coach Cleveland St. Ignatius
Steve Specht Defensive Coordinator Cincinnati St. Xavier
Gary Swenson Offensive Coordinator West Des Moines (Iowa) Valley
Tom Bainter Running Backs Bothell (Wash.)
Donovan McNabb on Marcus Boyles Wide Receivers Wayne County (Miss.)
Frank Lenti Ed Croson Offensive Line Lake Balboa (Calif.) Birmingham
“Coach Lenti was a great coach who Jeremy Gold Defensive Line Ann Arbor (Mich.) Pioneer
taught all Frank Lenti Offensive Line Chicago Mount Carmel
of us how Chris Merritt Defensive Backs Miami Christopher Columbus
to play the Allen Wilson Linebackers Dallas Carter
game in
the purest
form. He
taught us USA Football Magazine recently reached
to outwork three of the more than 30 former high school
others, to players of USA Football’s Junior National
support our Team coaches who went on to NFL careers.
teammates, and to have pride in ourselves
and our school.

Chris Hovan on Chuck Kyle

“If I were asked to be a part of a national
team competing against the world’s
“Listen, don’t talk. If he is coaching, you listen. Just take it
best football teams, I would cherish that
all in because the man is a
opportunity. First, it would be an honor to be
wealth of knowledge. He’s a
considered one of the best in the country.
great coach who cares about
Second, to be able to compete for your
his players and is pretty much
country against the best in the world would
the best you are going to find
be great. The pride and support of the whole
in this sport.”
country would be an adrenaline rush.”
– Tampa Bay Buccaneers
– Philadelphia Eagles quarterback
Donovan McNabb, who played under defensive end Chris Hovan on Chuck Kyle, who he played for at
Frank Lenti at Chicago Mount Carmel H.S. Cleveland St. Ignatius H.S.

Jason Campbell on Marcus Boyles

“Coach Boyles is the type of coach who will get the best out of you.
He really helped me improve as a player and he will do the same for
these players. He is the type of coach who respects you as a person
and expect s that same respect in return.
“If I were in high school again, I would play for the U.S. National
team. I’d want to go up agains t some of the best players in the world
and show what I can do agains t that competition.”

– Washington Redskins quarterback Jason Campbell, who played under

Marcus Boyles at
Taylorsville (Miss.) H.S.

10 USA Football Magazine

08 USACoaches.indd 10 11/19/08 4:33:08 PM

USA Football Shop
USA Footb
all Shop is
open 24/ 7

making a difference

Interested in a one-man USA Football Coaching or Officiating “The kids hear the same sermons over and over, and the DVDs give
School from your favorite chair? Well, dream it and you can do it. you some ideas that will get their attention,” he said. “I’d definitely
Whether you’re seeking coaching recommend them to other coaches. I’m going
resources or the latest in football apparel, to give them to the other coaches on the team.”
enter the electric huddle at USA Football Scott Tutterow of Winston-Salem, N.C.,
Shop ( Here a commercial airline pilot and five-year
you’ll find USA Football’s revolutionary high school football officiating veteran, has
Coaches Handbook, a library of 11 USA sharpened his skills with USA Football in
Football coaching and officiating DVDs – his DVD player.
produced in conjunction with American “I had not played football in such a
Football Monthly Magazine – and more. long time, I want to see what coaches are
Damon Huntzberry of Smithsburg, teaching to be better informed on what I
Md., owns his own construction might see during a game – that’s why I got
company, but still finds time to all of the coaching DVDs,” said Tutterow.
coach kids in grades 5-8. He was “This allowed me to get back into
looking for something new to add the swing of things and helped me
to his practice plan, so he bought look for the right keys. I watch
DVDs on practice planning, the different formations so I can
fundamentals and drills, coaching understand what’s going on when
offense and coaching defense. I see it live. The DVDs are great.”

Jonathan Ogden

Bill Wood
Joins USA Football
By Nicole Lukosius

Jonathan Ogden may not be out on the USA Football contributor.”

football field every Sunday anymore, but The 11-time NFL All-Star and former
America’s favorite sport is still a big part Baltimore Ravens offensive tackle retired
of who he is. in June 2008 after taking the field for 12
Still inspired by a game he’s loved all his tremendous seasons. As a USA Football
life, Ogden recently joined USA Football in a spokesperson, Ogden will promote the
spokesperson role. independent non-profit as a guest on
“I’m excited to join the USA Football sports radio talk shows across the country.
family,” Ogden said at the time of his Among his most discussed topics will be
announcement. “Playing this game for USA Football’s Junior National Team (see “We’re proud to have Jonathan join
more than 20 years, it opened doors pages 8-10) and the IFAF Junior World USA Football,” said USA Football Executive
to life-long friendships, a tremendous Championship (page 28). Ogden also will Director Scott Hallenbeck. “Teamwork,
education, a Super Bowl ring and more. appear frequently at sacrifice and responsibility are woven into
“But I didn’t get there by myself. Along Ogden was named college football’s football’s fabric. Those qualities are found
with my parents, I had coaches to guide best offensive lineman in 1995 while at in how Jonathan played the sport at every
me, encouraging me to excel. The lessons UCLA and was added to the Ravens’ ring of level. His love for the game melded with
I learned playing football will stay with me honor at M&T Bank Stadium before a home his integrity and leadership are a great fit
for life, and I’m proud to share them as a game this past October. for USA Football.”


11 Web Store.indd 11 11/17/08 4:04:09 PM

cott Neibert knows a thing or two
about football rules.
The Jefferson County (Mo.) Youth
“Any time we can get coaches and administrators together
Association coaching director has helped to exchange ideas, it’s better for us as individuals and
write rulebooks for two leagues and has 18 better for the leagues. It’s an opportunity to make some
years of coaching experience.
This is the resume of one of USA Football’s suggestions and recommendations for USA Football, based
27 committee members. on our own personal experiences.”
USA Football and its regional managers
recently established three committees John Manna, president of the Heartland Youth Football League, Omaha, Neb.,
composed of members in all eight USA Youth Football Coaches Advisory Committee
Football regions. Comprised of eight-to-10
members, the committees share insight resources and ideas in areas of coaching, Kevin Bushnell, executive president
and help guide USA Football in shaping league administration and rules. of the Arizona Competitive Youth
Neibert was named to USA Football’s Football League, accepted a position
Rules Committee, which provides insight on on the USA Football Administrators
“Instead of reinventing youth football-related rules and standards, Advisory Committee. Bushnell brings 10
the wheel, we can get such as the composition of a USA Football years of involvement within his 73-team,
Rulebook and recommended national 2,500-youngster league, which spans more
together and make youth
playing standards. than 20 Arizona communities.
football better. I can use the “After 18 years of coaching youth The Administrators Advisory
information that I get from football, I have an idea of what rules have Committee, featuring commissioners from
to be specialized,” Neibert said. “This leagues of all sizes, evaluates and reviews
all these different league committee will work well to strike a balance. USA Football resources made available
representatives.” Being exposed to what other people do and to youth football league administrators.
have done can only help.” These resources include online education
Leroy Hollins, founder and director courses, league volunteer background
of Louisiana Youth Football, Youth
Football Rules Committee

USA Football
USA Football Administrators Rules Committee
Advisory Committee Kevin Bushnell


Kevin Bushnell Chandler, Ariz. Arizona Competitive Youth Football League Dean Layman Columbus, Ind. Col
Steve DeLuca Paisley, Fla. DeLand Youth Football League - Pop Warner Don Lindberger Harleysville, Pa. Har
Bob Gnoza Georgetown, Mass. Cape Ann Youth Football League Mark Meana Vienna, Va. Fair
Tom Lansing St. Charles, Mo. Gateway Football League Jerron Moore Boise, Idaho Boi
Dwayne LeGrand Biloxi, Miss. St. Martin Youth Football Association Ben Narramore San Diego, Calif. Pal
Mike Milani Columbia, Md. Mid Maryland Youth Football and Cheer Scott Neibert Arnold, Mo. Jeff
Erik Richards Duluth, Ga. Gwinnett Football League Tom Rau Grand Blanc, Mich. Mic
John Veentjer Bellevue, Wash. Greater Eastside Junior Football Association Jason Soistman Glen Burnie, Md. Cen
Jeff Zylman Blue Island, Ill. Metro Youth Football League Horace West Davenport, Fla. Mid

12 USA Football Magazine

12 Committees.indd 12 11/17/08 4:04:47 PM

More than two dozen
USA Football members
contribute to new advisory committees
By Rashad Mulla

The Youth Coaches Advisory Committee

“I [joined] the committee to includes Keith Jupiter of Baton Rouge, La., “I like the mission, I like
an accomplished coach at the Scotlandville
improve coaching education Sports Academy. Jupiter’s experience and the approach, and I think
and the overall experience emphasis on character and discipline will it’s important for youth
benefit USA Football’s members.
that leagues should offer to football to establish some
“I have always been interested in
today’s youth. The sharing helping kids better themselves, whether it common ground.”
of ideas and experiences be through football, character building,
Jerron Moore, executive director
academic progress reports or discipline,”
hopefully will help to Jupiter said. “Everyone has to find a little
of Boise Noon Optimist Youth
Football, Boise, Idaho, Youth
improve youth football all time in their day to help kids.”
Football Rules Committee
The Youth Coaches Advisory Committee
over the country.”
tests and provides feedback on USA
Football’s coaching resources, which include
Bob Gnoza, vice commissioner of
computer-animated training courses,
“I feel like I’ve been given
the Cape Ann Youth Football League,
Georgetown, Mass., Youth Football practice planner software, a 3-D online drills the opportunity to make a
Administrators Advisory Committee library and more. difference. I’ve met coaches
All three committees have already held
meetings to discuss coaching resources, from all over the country
check subsidies, coaching insurance and administrative strategies and rules. and used their insight and
football equipment grants. “I think we’ve got a good team here,”
“A lot of leagues are where we were ten Bushnell said. “The committee members
years ago,” Bushnell said. “I’d like to pass my encompass many different viewpoints. We’re Dwayne LeGrand, president
experience along.” from large, association-based leagues and of the St. Martin Youth Football
small startup leagues.” Association, Biloxi, Miss., Youth
Football Administrators Advisory

USA Football Youth Coaches

Scott Neibert

YOUTH FOOTBALL ORGANIZATION Advisory Committee Keith Jupiter

Louisiana Youth Football League
Columbus Police Athletic Activities League NAME CITY, STATE YOUTH FOOTBALL ORGANIZATION
Harleysville Eagles Youth Football Gus Bernal Ventura, Calif. Ventura Buccaneers
Fairfax County Youth Football Rod Dollar Baselton, Ga. Mill Creek Athletic Association
Boise Noon Optimist Youth Football Shelby Goldblatt Carmel, Ind. Carmel Dads Club Tackle Football
Palomar Pop Warner Conference Terry Hyde Vancouver, Wash. Clark County Youth Football
Jefferson County Youth Association Keith Jupiter Baton Rouge, La. Scotlandville Sports Academy
h. Michigan High School Athletic Association John Manna Omaha, Neb. Heartland Youth Football League
Champion Officials Group Christos Spirou Long Island, N.Y. Oceanside Stallions Football
Mid-Florida Football and Cheerleading Conference Ron Word Nashville, Tenn. West Nashville Broncos Football


12 Committees.indd 13 11/19/08 11:59:37 AM

Coaching center

USA Football’s Certified Coaching Education Program
Scoring Big By Rashad Mulla

oungsters aren’t the only ones in (S.D.) Youth Football League. “It gives our “Youth league commissioners and

youth football gaining knowledge coaches a wealth of knowledge.” coaches benefit from resources like the
about the game. USA Football’s Baldwin’s league, C.C.E.P.,” said USA Football Executive
Certified Coaching Education Program which includes Director Scott Hallenbeck. “They are
(C.C.E.P.) is helping America’s youth eight head coaches, remarkably dedicated volunteers who
football coaches hit the virtual classroom. registered all eight love this game and want kids to learn
USA Football’s C.C.E.P. is a multi- for the course’s first it and gain from its team-first values.
level online coaching course accessible at level. According We’re proud to provide coaches a state-, bolstered with computer to Baldwin, the of-the-art training program. There
Health & fitness

animation and audio narration. It David Baldwin C.C.E.P. helped his are always more yards to go, but we’re
encompasses coaching philosophy, practice program’s coaches, moving the chains.”
planning, communication with players who are the face and backbone of the Level One of the C.C.E.P. takes
and parents and methods of football organization. approximately two hours to complete
fundamentals instruction, including Eloy Bonuz, president of the Calhoun and coaches must receive a cumulative
proper blocking and tackling techniques. County (Texas) Youth Football League, score of at least 80 percent on its 11
Having just completed its first season, enrolled all 18 quizzes. Level Two features 26 more
USA Football’s C.C.E.P. drew coaches of his league’s quizzes and greater sophistication. Upon
from 44 states and Washington, D.C. head coaches and course completion, coaches receive a
Youth league administrators from large, assistant coaches in USA Football coaching certificate and

mid-sized and small leagues mandated the the C.C.E.P. have their name added to usafootball.
program for coaches in their organization. “Several coaches com’s national coach registry. USA
Dean Layman, second-year director were teaching Football has also built a re-certification
of the Columbus Eloy Bonuz
techniques they test for C.C.E.P. graduates to stay sharp
(Ind.) Police were taught as next season.
Athletic Activities players years ago,” Bonuz said. “The USA To learn more about USA Football’s
League, enrolled all Football course is up-to-the-minute with online coaching curriculum and state-of-the-
56 of the league’s proper technique and fundamentals.” art coaching resources, visit

head coaches and

assistant coaches “USA Football’s coaching education program has given me and the
in the C.C.E.P.
Dean Layman rest of the board a higher level of trust in the coaches we’ve brought
He requires the
coaches to finish the course’s second level, on,” said Patrick Kapus, commissioner of the Manassas (Va.) Youth
which features 26 more quizzes than Football League. “It gives the public and the parents a higher comfort
Level One (11 quizzes), employing greater level too, knowing that the coaches are prepared.”
sophistication and training.
“We strive to teach fundamentals of
the game at this stage,” said Layman,
whose 10-year-old league serves more “After attending a presentation by USA Football, we decided the
than 600 players and 40 teams. “All of our C.C.E.P. would be a good opportunity for our coaches to learn
coaches and assistant coaches now have a
and advance on their own time,” said Abram Thalhofer, a league
foundation with which to work on.”
“The C.C.E.P. has allowed our administrator for Whatcom County (Wash.) Youth Football. “And
coaches to gain the basic knowledge and instead of asking how to do something, with [the C.C.E.P.] they can
understanding of the game,” said David always go back and review.”
Baldwin, a board member of Chamberlain

14 USA Football Magazine

14 COACHING.indd 14 11/17/08 4:05:19 PM

Meet a USA Football staffer

Damone Jones Marketing manager

You joined USA Football’s staff this past What does football mean to you? school because Philadelphia didn’t have
May. What appealed to you most when Football has been very good to me. It unlimited-weight leagues. I was a big kid.
considering the position? paid for my college education, my grad
The chance to work for an organization school education and introduced me to my How do you enjoy your time away from the
with a goal of improving young people’s best friends. It toughened me up during my office?
lives through sports. Sports I spend a lot of time with my wife and
have a special, powerful way take in the many things that Washington,
of positively impacting lives. D.C., has to offer – movies, music, museums.
And reading and lifting.
What are your primary  
duties as USA Football’s What are your goals for
marketing manager? USA Football in 2009?
To help us reach the More than anything
right people – coaches, else, I want to see our
officials and administrators Junior National Team win
– and make sure they know the gold medal in Canton,
what USA Football offers Ohio, next summer.
them. With players, families and coaches from
Damone Jones
four continents, the IFAF Junior World
You earned a football Championship stands among the most
scholarship to Penn State. What did you formative years and is largely responsible historic events football will have ever
learn from Coach Joe Paterno? for the type of person I am today. seen. And playing the games in the shadow
You’re never as bad as you think you of the Pro Football Hall of Fame will be
are when you’re down, and you’re never as When did you first decide you wanted to fantastic. I’m sure the ghosts of people like

Photo by Brian Feener

good as you think you are when you’re up. play football? Jim Thorpe, Paul Brown, George Halas
We were taught to remain as even-keeled When I was 6 and first played in and others will proudly peer into Fawcett
as possible in everything we do, remain the school yard – it was two-hand Stadium to see young men from eight
humble and work our rear-ends off. touch. I couldn’t play tackle until high countries playing their sport.

Strength of Schedule
USA Football will conduct nearly 120 training events in 34 states throughout 2009 for coaches,
league commissioners, game officials and youth players.
USA Football Coaching Schools, Officiating Schools, Officiating Seminars and three-day
Player Academies for players aged 9-14 will prepare thousands for next season. Seats for State
Player Academies
Leadership Forums, events designed for league administrators, are offered on an invite-only
basis. If your league has not participated in
past State Forums and would like to do so this
year, please reach your USA Football Regional
Manager (see pg. 21).
View the 2009 events schedule at by rolling your mouse over
tabs found on the homepage titled, “Coaches,” State Forums
“Officials” and “Players.” Easy online registration
Coaching Schools for USA Football events will be available through by New Year’s Day.


15 Staffer.indd 15 11/17/08 4:07:03 PM

Coaching center
Takeaway-Giveaway with Tom & Larry

Should your best athlete

play quarterback?

QB position requires the The best athlete can’t be

best athlete under center showcased at QB
By Tom Bass By Larry Canard
Health & fitness

Gone are the days when the quarterback only had to While it is important to have a good athlete playing the
take the snap and hand the ball to another offensive player quarterback position, I think there are other elements to the position
in order for your offense to function. that are more important.
Offensive coaches are deviating from First and foremost, the quarterback needs to be
the usual offensive formations with not smart and mentally tough. At the youth level and
only adjustments in the alignment, but beyond, players will forget where to line up
also with the personnel they have in and what to do on any given play.
the game. The quarterback needs to know
Initially, passing accuracy and understand what all 11 players
was the primary requirement for are supposed to do. In other

the quarterback. Defenses soon determined that words, the quarterback should give you a coach
covering the receivers was not the only answer on the field during games.
in stopping the passing attack. Putting pressure While it is not fair, the quarterback also takes
on the quarterback, defenses learned, also paid much of the blame when things on offense don’t
great dividends. go well. For this reason, mental toughness is a must.
The goal then became to have a quarterback I look for kids who don’t get too excited when
with much greater athletic skills who could move things go really well, because that usually
within the pocket, and move out of the pocket to means when things go bad they will not

throw on the move when necessary. The quarterback get down. They are then able to lead by
is required to not only be an accurate passer, but also example.
be a major participant in the running game. Before the ball is snapped, all eyes are on
The position now demands that you line up your the quarterback. If he is far and away your best athlete,
best athlete at the quarterback position if you are to it becomes difficult to put him in situations in which
have success running any one of the new hybrid type of he can excel. I prefer to take one or two more gifted
offenses. With the use of the Wildcat offense, the quarterback is athletes and balance out the formations with them.
now asked to line up as a wide receiver, run disciplined pass I put them in position to receive the ball with fewer
routes, catch the ball and be an effective blocker. defenders to beat.
Being your best athlete should never be the only criteria Taking a marginal athlete who is smart and
in determining who will be your quarterback. The player tough and putting him at quarterback to guide
needs to be a leader, have the mental ability to understand more talented skill position players takes the
the offense, possess the physical skills for the position and be defensive focus off of him. He is thus a more
mentally tough enough to handle the pressures of the position. difficult player to defend.

Tom Bass and Larry Canard combine for more than 50 seasons of coaching on the youth, college and NFL levels and illustrate that there’s
more than one way to win a football game. Both contribute to the innovative benefits included within USA Football’s Coaching Membership.
Go to today, click the “Membership” button to join the USA Football family and gain more from Tom & Larry.

16 USA Football Magazine

14 COACHING.indd 16 11/17/08 4:05:34 PM

What If?
USA Football Coaching Members share in-game decision-making
By Rashad Mulla

Robinson: Go for two. I would definitely go

Name: Vernon Briggs for the win. I’d split the wide receivers way outside,
and I’d split the guards to spread everything out.
City, State: Concord, N.H. I’d then run a quarterback keeper right up the
Youth League: New Hampshire Pop Warner middle. This gives the quarterback a little more
Coaching Experience: 7 years room than usual, because the defensive lineman
Base Offense: I-Formation will line up opposite the offensive linemen.
Base Defense: 6-4-1
Type of USA Football membership: Coach, Administrator “What If” … you’re up 14-7 with one
minute left in the game. The other team has
Name: Kenneth Swieter the ball on your 30-yard line with no timeouts.
It’s 3rd and 15. Do you play prevent defense or
City, State: Midwest, Wyo. do you aggressively rush the passer?
Youth League: Wyoming High School Activities Association Briggs: I’d send my defense after the
Coaching Experience: 7 years quarterback. In my 6-4 defense, I’d send both of
Base Offense: 2 TE, 2 RB the ends in, blitz two linebackers up the middle
Base Defense: 5-2-4 and give the middle four defensive linemen the
Type of USA Football membership: Coach benefit of the doubt, whether they want to play the
pass or run. This creates more pressure on their
Name: Ed Robinson quarterback, who already is facing more pressure
than the defense. This also creates the possibility
City: Harrison, Ark. of a turnover or sack. If they run a draw or other
Youth League: Harrison Consolidated Youth Association run play, you still have the pressure.
Coaching Experience: 5 years Swieter: Rush the passer. Throughout
Base Offense: Wishbone most of the game, I would have been making
Base Defense: 4-3 the passer make quick decisions. More time
Type of USA Football membership: Coach can backfire. I see it all the time where the
other team will go prevent, give the offense
In youth football, coaches encounter believe we can convert a two-point conversion a few yards and hope they don’t give them
multiple situations that call for quick- with a quick slant pass or an outside sweep. I anymore after that. I’d have a five-defensive
thinking. Whether you run the West Coast pitch it to the running back and have him take back formation, with five linemen and one
offense or I-Formation, among the beauties it around either edge. Taking the risk shows linebacker. The defensive backs would play
of football is that there’s more than one way the team you have confidence in them, and coverage, one side of the defensive line would
to win a game. Three USA Football coaching at the end of a championship game, they run a stunt rush and the linebacker has the
members recently shared their ideas on how have to be confident. decision to rush the passer or play in coverage.
they’d attack various in-game scenarios. Swieter: I would talk to my players Robinson: I’d play prevent defense. In my
and see how they feel about the situation. situation, we’ve got good speed, and we know
“What If” … you’re playing in a I would want to get their input. All of they’re going to pass it. The outside linebacker
championship game. There are 10 seconds them strongly agreeing to go for it would can cover the backs, the defensive backs can
left in regulation and your offense just convince me to go for two. I’d run my play man to man, and anyone off the line can
scored a touchdown, but you are trailing “34 Triple Option” out of a split back play preventative defense. This will prevent the
7-6. Do you kick the extra point or go for formation. I’d fake it to the right side back long ball, and you know they’re either going to
the win with a two-point conversion? and have the quarterback run left, with pass it or run a trick play. The linebackers that
Briggs: I’d go for two points. You have the option to pitch the ball to the left side guard the backs can rush the quarterback when
to leave it all on the field. With my offense, I running back and have him run a sweep. he runs outside of the pocket.


14 COACHING.indd 17 11/17/08 4:05:49 PM

Coaching center

Getting An Angle On
The Ball carrier
Techniques and drills for your defenders

By Tim Polzer

he fastest, most instinctive defenders
can have their aggressiveness
nullified by a taking the incorrect

angle to the ball carrier. A simple cutback
or change of pace by a ball carrier can leave

Health & fitness

the best defensive players grasping at air. So

how does a coach teach his players to take the
correct pursuit angle to the ball?
Darlington, defensive
coordinator of the
2007 USA Football
gold-medal Senior
National Team and
defensive coordinator RB

at The University of
George Darlington San Diego, uses a George Darlington’s Angle Drill
simple technique: have your defenders focus
on the ball carrier’s near hip. lines up. Merritt’s Drill:
“When a defender overruns the ball, it’s Left and right corner backs line up two With his ghost offense set up at its own
usually due to a lack of focus,” Darlington yards outside the cones. Linebackers line up 10-yard line, Merritt placed additional cones
said. “Great running backs are able to cut inside and safeties shuffle inside and out. at the following yards lines: 5, 20, 35 and 50.
back, so don’t let him. A defender should A running back points to where he is Defenders are assigned specific cones

focus on the ball carrier’s near – or inside running, off-tackle or outside. depending on position: The “play side”
– hip. You want your defender thinking, ‘I As the ball carrier walks toward the defensive end, cornerback and outside
don’t want that inside hip to come across my hole or edge, defenders focus on his inside linebacker are assigned the first cone,
body. If I can keep that inside hip in focus, hip and adjust to the angle. defensive tackle, inside linebacker and free
I’ll have a chance to be a good tackler.’” The drill can be simulated slowly enough safety are assigned the second cone. The
Darlington explains that 90 to 95 percent to obtain the defender’s initial focus before “back side” inside linebacker and defensive
of the time, a defender will approach a ball increasing the speed to game speed. tackle are given the third cone and “back
carrier from either an outside-in or inside-out ________________________________ side” corner, outside linebacker and
angle. For example, a cornerback will usually defensive end are sent to the fourth cone.
pursue from outside-in to the middle of the Chris Merritt, defensive backs coach A coach, standing at shotgun depth, makes
field. Linebackers usually work inside-out and for USA Football’s Junior National Team the defensive call and simulates the snap. Once
safeties vary, though most ball carriers take and head coach of Christopher Columbus the defensive lineman penetrates one yard
them inside-out. Darlington suggests a drill High School in Miami, Fla., offers another deep, the coach will point to either direction
designed to teach defenders how to take the drill that does more than teach proper and the defense will sprint to their assigned
correct flow to the ball carrier as a unit. pursuit angles. cones using the proper pursuit angles.
“We not only use it for teaching the When players arrive at their cones, they
Darlington’s Drill: proper angle of pursuit, but we also use it “chop” their feet in place until the coach
Place cones where a tight end normally as a conditioning drill,” Merritt said. blows the whistle.

18 USA Football Magazine

14 COACHING.indd 18 11/17/08 4:06:14 PM

Health & fitness

What Football Has Taught

My Son: Joe Laurinaitis
By Nicole Lukosius

ames Laurinaitis, a standout middle How has football helped James off the field?
linebacker at Ohio State University, Discipline has helped James in the
certainly got his athleticism from his classroom. He’s an academic All-America,
parents. His father, Joe, is a former professional too. His brother, Joe, has always been proud
wrestler known as “Animal,” and his mother, of him, but he’s even more proud of him
Julie, competed as a bodybuilder. now because of the way he handles the
Now a senior, James has earned several top success he’s had.
honors – the Nagurski Award for the nation’s
best defensive player as a sophomore and the How has having two professional athletes as parents
Butkus Award for the nation’s best linebacker as a junior – and his influenced him?
father believes there is more to come. You can’t force a person to be a good athlete. Good athletes are
No other sport teaches the values of teamwork and dedication born, just like good leaders are born. With James, he has the genetics
like football does, and James’ parents couldn’t be more proud from his mother and I, but nothing comes short of hard work.
of his success. USA Football Magazine recently spoke with Joe
Laurinaitis to learn what football has taught his son. What is your fondest memory of his football career?
Two years ago against Texas is when James really made his
When did James start playing football? statement. He had an interception, two forced fumbles and 13
Outside of Minneapolis, there is no Pop Warner in the suburbs, tackles. Once when Texas was driving, James forced the tailback to
so you don’t start playing until fourth grade. But before kindergarten, fumble. Donald Washington picked up the ball and headed up the
he’d say, “Throw the ball here,” so it started at a really young age. field, and that was a game-changing play. At halftime I said to his
mother, “Look at this kid – he belongs here.”
What has playing football taught James?
The value of teamwork – you have 10 other guys on your team, What would you tell other parents about letting their child play football?
and whether you’re on offense or defense, you can’t do it all by I just say support your young athlete. If his buddies are playing
yourself. When you’re on offense, you need a good line to throw or football and they’re out in the yard, and your kid is doing well,
run the ball. And you need a good defense to stop the other team’s encourage him to play. The equipment is so good these days, the
run or pass, so it helped him see how important teamwork was. chances of getting hurt are so slim.

Off-season program for helmets and pads By Rashad Mulla

Matt Althoff, the University of Virginia’s you determine what new equipment you need to order
Director of Equipment Room Operations, is each year. As you check the equipment back in, make a
responsible for managing the university’s three visual inspection of it and note anything that is broken or
student-athlete equipment rooms. In his fifth year needs to be replaced.”
in this position, and his 11th at the university, It is recommended to recondition helmets and
Althoff is a certified member of the Athletic shoulder pads each year by a certified reconditioner
Equipment Managers Association (AEMA) and from that National Operating Committee on Standards
currently serves on its board of directors. Matt Althoff for Athletic Equipment.
USA Football recently spoke with Althoff to discuss three Althoff also stresses proper equipment sanitizing and
keys regarding off-season equipment storage and management. storage. Equipment needs to be sanitized and disinfected to
“After retrieving equipment back from each athlete, take an help prevent the spread of MRSA and other staph infections.
inventory,” Althoff said. “A good inventory system will also help Once this is done, store equipment in a cool, dry room.


19 HEALTHSAFETY.indd 19 11/17/08 4:07:23 PM

LEAgue Center
Celebrating Your Season,
Regardless of Record
Responsible Coaches and Responsible Sport Parents Redefine Success

By David Jacobson, Positive Coaching Alliance and Responsible Sports

sportsmanship, not only during the moment,
but also at the end of the season when taking
stock of all that has happened.
Celebrate effort. When young
athletes give it their all, week in and week
out, on game day, during practices and
even off the field, they need to know their
Health & fitness

effort was noticed and appreciated. That’s

what keeps the effort coming in sports,
and the more they understand that effort
is rewarded, the likelier they are to expend
similar effort in school, around the house
and in their communities. Celebrate the
exceptional efforts these athletes make!
Celebrate mistakes. Sounds crazy,
doesn’t it? But we don’t mean celebrate the
mistakes themselves. We mean you should

Parkview Mustangs Youth Football & Cheerleading (Little Rock, Ark.) is not only celebrating their celebrate the players who used those
season, they are celebrating having won a $2,500 Responsible Sports Community Grant from mistakes to learn and improve. That will
Liberty Mutual this year. Visit to find out how you can participate. keep them free from the fear of mistakes,

which leads to fewer mistakes, so that
s the fall football season ends, coaches and parents begin to assess the season’s next season they will more likely have the
successes. For some, that evaluation is measured only in wins and losses. chance to celebrate scoreboard success!
But the reality of sports – from the youth “Celebrating” a losing season may
level to the pros – is that not all teams can be league seem hard at first, but it teaches a life

champions. Responsible Coaches and Responsible Sport lesson that will stay with players: “Just
Parents look beyond scoreboards and standings. because you didn’t win doesn’t mean
At season’s end, regardless of your record, the team all is lost. You’ve strived, learned and
from Responsible Sports encourages you to redefine winning and celebrate the successes improved, and those are their own
you see when viewing sports from a broader perspective. Whether there is a zero in your rewards.” Focus on celebrating all that
“L” column or your “W” column, here are four achievements to celebrate. was good, positive and valuable about the
Skills improvement. While the scoreboard might not show it, most of your season and your players will be motivated
players probably improved their skills this season. You can celebrate everyone from the to rejoin the team next year with even
quarterback who cut down on interceptions to the linemen who learned new blocking greater enthusiasm and dedication.
techniques to the defensive backs who stayed in front of receivers. By applying this For more valuable tips on Responsible
“Coaching For Mastery” approach to football, coaches can celebrate the success of sheer Coaching and Responsible Sport Parenting,
improvement each week and at the end of the season, stoking the players’ desire to play visit
again next year – regardless of this year’s record. Responsible Sports is a national program
Sportsmanship. Your players’ sense of sportsmanship – or “Honoring the Game” in that brings together USA Football, Liberty
the words of our Responsible Sports partner Positive Coaching Alliance – is ample cause Mutual Insurance (www.libertymutual.
for celebration. Long after this season, your players will benefit from the type of character com) and Positive Coaching Alliance (www.
that lets them congratulate opponents on a great win or show restraint if an official makes in an effort to benefit
a questionable call. Responsible Coaches and Responsible Sports Parents should praise millions of young athletes, parents and coaches.

20 USA Football Magazine

20 LEAGUE.indd 20 11/17/08 4:07:50 PM

USA Football Regional Managers
A merica’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 kickoff your free administrator membership or to ask about coaching
certification, the nearest USA Football Coaching School, Player Academy or Officiating School. 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, based outside of Washington, D.C., through 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
Ed Passino
Northwest Region Great Lakes Region (703) 992-8246
Bassel Faltas Central Region Scott LeVeque
(571) 730-4816 Joe Owens (571) 730-4815 (571) 730-4822

West Region Southeast Region

Bucky Brooks Rick Peacock
(818) 921-7616 (703) 992-8107
South & Mid-Atlantic
Deno Campbell
(703) 992-8653


20 LEAGUE.indd 21 11/17/08 4:08:07 PM

Meet a USA Football Member
Chad Blomgren
ootball has a way of bringing people together and What inspired you to join USA Football?
instilling a sense of unity. The middle child out of five There have been limitations on what types of tools, clinics,
boys, USA Football Administrator playbooks and practice planners are out there.
Member Chad Blomgren began playing To have an association like USA Football whose
America’s favorite sport in seventh grade, and mission is to improve your knowledge and the
it has been a big part of his life ever since. players’ knowledge, I just can’t help but take
A self-proclaimed “purple people eater” – or advantage of that.
Minnesota Vikings fan – Blomgren grew up in
Hills-Beaver Creek, a small Minnesota town What is your job as the second- through sixth-
where 9-man football was the game. grade director?
Determined to share his passion with his My No. 1 goal, as is the goal of our president, is
two sons, Blomgren volunteers his time serving teaching the fundamentals to the kids, making sure
on the Elk River (Minn.) Football Association the coaches are equipped and prepared to teach
board and is now the director for those fundamentals, that the coaches
grades two through six. CHAD BLOMGREN allow for a great experience for the
Blomgren recently spoke with players, and most importantly, that
Resides: Elk River, Minn.
USA Football Magazine to impart his we bring back as many young men to
story and the value of being a USA USA Football Membership: Administrator this program every year as possible.
Football member. Position: Director, Elk River Football Our goal is to meet in the off-season
Association, Grades 2-6 with the board and to mandate that
What is your favorite football at least the head coach from each staff
memory? complete USA Football’s online coaching certification.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I was brought up to
play defensive end, and we were playing this team that had a real How have you benefited from a USA Football Administrator
strong-horse running back. I was told by my older brother and Membership?
coaches to stay ‘home’ in my position and take three steps across It’s a venue where you can pick the brains of other
the line of scrimmage and angle in to the play. On my first play administrators and coaches and learn from some of the best ones
from scrimmage, I did that and here comes this kid who is 50 out there. Chances are there’s someone who has experienced the
pounds heavier than me, and I stuck him in the backfield. It was problem you’re facing, and there’s an answer out there you won’t
one of the more memorable tackles of my high school career. have to come up with on your own.

What interested you in becoming involved with youth What do you enjoy about this position?
football? I get enjoyment out of hearing from parents who share some
I was never able to have my father be my coach because the of the great experiences their kids are having in football. While
coaches were always from the school programs. The only way you we don’t measure the success of our program on wins and losses,
can play football as a youth here is through our Elk River Football we do measure it on the growing number of boys that we have
Association and all of the coaches are volunteers. So the fact that I coming to play at Elk River. It is truly the only way in town that
have the opportunity that my dad didn’t have means a lot to me. boys can play football.

Thank you, USA Football! Dear USA Football,

USA Football, with help from partners Schutt
At times we can take gifts for granted and miss the moment to say ‘thank you,’ so
Sports and Gilman Gear, awarded $500,000 in
‘Thank you!’ What you have done for our program has been a blessing and very much
equipment grants to more than 350 youth, middle
appreciated. God has blessed you with a special gift (through football) – to make a
school and high school football programs based
positive effect on the life of a child. I hope and pray that your blessings will continue
on merit and need during the 2007-08 school year.
to manifest. With much humilty and gratitude, our football program thanks you for
Recipients have responded with a deluge of kind
all that you do and for all that you have done.
“thank you” letters to our non-profit office. An
excerpt of one such note is printed here:
Willis Alexander
Head Coach, Frederick A. Douglass H.S., Oklahoma City, Okla.
22 USA Football Magazine

20 LEAGUE.indd 22 11/17/08 4:08:23 PM

Meet a USA Football board Member

Jon Butler
Executive Director, Pop Warner Little Scholars

elping steer USA Football’s mission as the sport’s national governing body on youth
and amateur levels is its 18-member Board of Directors. The board is composed
of leaders throughout the football community who share a deep appreciation for
America’s favorite sport. This issue of USA Football Magazine introduces you USA Football
Board Member Jon Butler, Pop Warner Little Scholars’ executive director since 1991.

How did your youth football coaches impact your personal development?
My coaches played a huge role in my attitude and in building determination and
competitiveness. I started playing organized football in the sixth grade and played a
number of other sports, too.

You’re a former high school football coach. What did that experience afford you and
how has it helped you in leading Pop Warner? 
It helps me relate to coaches and understand what they go through on a day-to-day basis. What does youth football need to do in
Secondly, it helps me understand many of the obstacles faced in fielding a football team. order to grow and become even better
for kids and families involved in it? 
Pop Warner mandates that head coaches attend a USA Football Coaching School or Most importantly, communicate
complete its online Certified Coaching Education Program (C.C.E.P.).  Why is coaching positively and effectively that youth
education important to you?  football is just as safe as other youth
First, too many potential coaches think they should be a Vince Lombardi- or Woody sports. Beyond that, I strongly believe
Hayes-type – driving and hard-nosed. Especially in today’s society, that type of attitude that all youth sports programs should
frequently backfires and turns kids away. Second, being able to market to parents that require education for at least head coaches,
our coaches are trained helps overcome the widespread misperception that football mandate background checks on everyone
encounters more injuries than other youth sports. who has regular, repetitive contact with
children and at every practice and/or
Where have you seen USA Football make its greatest strides during your tenure on the board? game, require the presence of at least
USA Football’s coaching education program has been a great, valuable step forward for all of one person – at minimum – who has
us. Now that the online functionality has been added, it enables our 8,000 head coaches to take the First Aid training or who has taken the
course even though many don’t have access geographically to USA Football Coaching Schools. P.R.E.P.A.R.E. course.

USA Football’s board of directors

Ray Anderson Jon Butler Roger Goodell Keith Rucker
Exec. V.P., Football Operations Executive Director Commissioner Head Football Coach
National Football League Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. National Football League Cincinnati Mt. Healthy H.S.
Jason Belser Tom Cove Scott Hallenbeck Frank Sanchez
Senior Regional Director President & CEO Executive Director Vice President
NFL Players Association SGMA International USA Football Boys & Girls Clubs of America
Richard Berthelsen Carl Francis Jack Kemp Grant Teaff
Interim Executive Director Director of Communications Chairman, USA Football Executive Director
NFL Players Association NFL Players Association Former U.S. Congressman American Football
Joe Browne Alexia Gallagher Mark Meana Coaches Association
Exec. V.P., Communications Director, NFL Youth Football Dept. Chairman Deborah Yow
& Public Affairs National Football League Fairfax County (Va.) Athletic Director
National Football League Bob Gardner Youth Football League University of Maryland
Chief Operating Officer Brian Mitchell
National Federation of State Former NFL Running Back
High School Associations Program Host, Washington Redskins
Radio Network

23 Board.indd 23 11/17/08 4:08:45 PM


Off-season training
important for officials
By Dave McMahon

Bill LeMonnier
ootball is more popular than ever in the profession, finding a mentor is an
which translates to a tight off-season important first step.
schedule for its officials. “There are guys out there who would
That’s why it’s so important for football love to work with you and sit down and
officials to hone up on their profession offer suggestions,” LeMonnier said. “All
once a season has concluded. it takes is seeking them out. If someone
Bill LeMonnier, USA Football’s wants to not only get better, but also
Health & fitness

officiating consultant, spends more time advance, and you have the desire, you have
every year on the field as an official in to find a mentor to tell you the ins and outs
the Big Ten Conference and in the Arena of what it’s like at the next level.
Football League. He also spends more time “If you have a mentor who can get the
every year enhancing his knowledge. supervisor’s ear, and the name gets repeated
“The way it’s gotten today, with so much to the supervisor, that’s going to help.
football being played, you have to work year- Supervisors are at clinics. Go and meet them,
round on your training,” LeMonnier said. let them put a face to the name. Give them an
“I’ve seen way too many guys wait impression. Networking is all part of it.”
until Aug. 1 to worry about their Officials enter the sport at younger

fitness. Number one, you need to do ages every year and LeMonnier has
it for yourself, for your own health. found them well-equipped to do the job.
Number two, you don’t need to be able “Overall the ability of the young officials
to play the game, but you do need to coming in far exceeds the level I was at when
look the part and be able to run. You’ve I started,” he said. “They just need the game
got to work on fitness year-round.” experience. New, young officials are going
USA Football’s officiating members to get an opportunity to move up a lot
have a treasure trove of information quicker today than they did before.”

and skill-development programs available a lot of dialogue about rule questions, Even so, LeMonnier encourages them
to them. interpretation, and everything else.” to get as much work as possible and always
“The USA Football rules interpretation is an Clinics are another sure-fire way to strive to improve.
outstanding feature,” LeMonnier said. “You can improve skills and technique. “Anytime you get complacent in what
click on a topic on the Web site and go to the “When I started as an official in 1973, you’re doing, anytime you think you’ve
rule itself for examples of how it’s used. There there were two clinics in the country,” got a handle on it, that’s when you start
also are video examples. You can take a look at LeMonnier said. “Now there are probably to slip behind,” LeMonnier said. “The
the same thing from four or five perspectives.” 25-35 in the off-season. And they’re game continues to evolve. It’s not the
LeMonnier has found that small-group jammed, every one of them. There’s no game my father played. Whether it’s the
meetings with other officials can also bring space available once they’ve been posted. speed, offenses or techniques, the game is
development in the area of rules during the Guys are hungry. They eat this stuff up evolving. It’s not our game. It’s their game.
off-season. and they can’t get enough of it. And they They’re not going to adjust to us; we’ve got
“Guys will put together quizzes for sure don’t do it for the money. They do it to adjust to the game.”
their group in order to improve their rule because they love the game so much.” USA Football’s 2009 Officiating School
knowledge,” LeMonnier said. “The great With video so easily accessible, film and Seminar Schedule will be posted at
thing now is if you can’t meet as a crew study has become another easy element to by New Year’s Day. Roll
in person, you can do so over email. You add to an official’s off-season development to the gray “Officiating” tab and click,
can also go to, which offers program. And for those just beginning “Officiating Schools.”

24 USA Football Magazine

24 OFFICIATING.indd 24 11/17/08 4:09:09 PM

Wojcikiewicz keeps busy in the off-season
Jim Wojcikiewicz, a football official from Lockport, Ill., makes Division III college and indoor football games. He began his 19th
off-season improvement a priority. The USA Football officiating season at the high school level in 2008, and has 10 years under his
member takes a three-pronged attack to bettering his skills. belt as a Division III official.
First, he stays in shape physically by “It was a great job when I was a student at the University of
running 10Ks and half-marathons. Next, Iowa,” Wojcikiewicz said. “I would work intramurals a couple of
he does a lot of film study, whether from days a week and youth games on Tuesday and Thursday, so I had
high school, college or NFL games. And plenty of games. I was very, very fortunate.”
around March 1, he begins shoring up on Whether he’s off from his Chicago-area home to southern
rules. Wisconsin or northern Indiana for a Division III game on a
“I study rules for about 15 or 20 Saturday, Wojcikiewicz has seen a game evolving before his eyes.
minutes a day, every day of the week,” “I like that the game is getting better and faster. It’s my
Wojcikiewicz said. “I try to cover different responsibility to keep up with it, and that’s a challenge in itself,”
rules and philosophies. At this point in my career, a lot of what I Wojcikiewicz said. “If you don’t keep up with it during the off-
ask myself is ‘How do I philosophically apply that rule in a given season, you will not do it during the season. You don’t necessarily
situation.’” learn when you’re on the field. The off-season is the time to learn.”
Film work is an easy way to get several of his peers together in Wojcikiewicz usually attends two clinics a year, one for high
the off-season. school officials and another for college officials. He also shares his
“I try to get other people to watch film with me, whether knowledge about the profession when he speaks annually at one
it’s film of games that I’ve worked or that I didn’t work,” high school clinic.
Wojcikiewicz said. “Other people can pick up on things that I Wojcikiewicz, who works in sales, plans to remain involved in
may not see. The more eyes you can get watching and providing America’s favorite sport for years to come, which is why he works
feedback, the better. You can also put yourself in different at it in the off-season.
situations. I might look at a call and say, ‘If I was the back judge, “It’s extremely important to get work done in the off-season,”
what would I call?’” he said. “If you don’t keep improving, people will absolutely pass
Wojcikiewicz began his career while he was a student at the you by.”
University of Iowa. He currently works high school varsity, – Dave McMahon


24 OFFICIATING.indd 25 11/17/08 4:09:31 PM


Season in Rewind
USA Football Officiating Member Reviews Season Two;
His First With USA Football
By Rashad Mulla

yle Hastings recalled feeling the same jitters
in 1997, before playing his first college football
game as an Olivet Nazarene University Tiger.
Fast-forward to the 2008 football season. The
former Tigers offensive lineman and position coach
was amped up again, anxious to take the field, this
time donning an official’s stripes. Hastings was
Health & fitness

about to begin his second year as a Chicago Catholic

League high school football official after a playing and
coaching career.
“I’m a lot more confident now,” said Hastings, a first-
year USA Football officiating member. “But I still have
butterflies in my stomach after 15 years of football.”
Hastings, 29, spent his offseason going over
mechanics, positioning, football rules and
implementation. He turned to USA Football’s officiating
membership to help improve his on-field performance

through’s tutorials and video clips.

“It has been a huge asset to my officiating,” Hastings USA Football Officiating Member Kyle Hastings is gaining confidence and
said. “I don’t know 100 percent of the rules, but I can compliments on the field.
always refer to the website.”
An umpire, Hastings said his 2008 season went well.
“I felt confident when I stepped on the field and even
more confident when I stepped off,” said Hastings, a
member of the Central Officials Association in Illinois.

During the offseason, Hastings reviewed film of

his rookie season work. He wanted to improve his
mechanics and understanding of the rules.
Bill Hellmer, a 30-year officiating veteran who
oversees the Chicago Catholic League’s 130 officials,
noted the second-year official’s improvement.
“He’s progressing along the curve as a second-
year official should be,” Hellmer said. “There is a
noticeable difference in his demeanor on the field.
He knows where he has to be on the field.”
USA Football officiating consultant Bill LeMonnier,
a Big 10 and Arena Football referee, said Hastings’
hunger to learn is the key to his improvement.
“He’s really receptive and open,” LeMonnier said. “He doesn’t any way possible.
want things sugar-coated.” “I’m trying to referee in front of the TV,” said Hastings, who
During this offseason, Hastings plans to study more film, has now officiated more than 80 youth and high school games in
improve his mechanics and review USA Football’s officiating his two seasons. “I have a couple of mentors that I’ve watched for
resources. Hastings seeks officiating knowledge and experience in awhile. I try to learn from them.”

26 USA Football Magazine

24 OFFICIATING.indd 26 11/17/08 4:09:50 PM

quick-hitter grid
With members in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, USA Football recently caught up with four officiating members
spanning the Great Lakes to the Southwest. Below are their straight-ahead thoughts on topics from football to food to music.

Official: Rich Almeroth Alan Turman John Wiercinski Bob Hyde

Location: Tucson, Ariz. Shreveport, La. Comstock, Mich. Emmett, Idaho

Hardest call Holding Unsportsmanlike Anything that Holding

to make conduct on a coach impacts the
outcome of the

Advice for a Relax Study Keep your Know the rules

new official hard head up

Last book “Sacred Marriage” USA Football Officials “Born to Referee” “Knight:
you read by Gary L. Thomas Handbook by Jerry Markbreit My Story”
by Bob

Favorite My son, Michael Van Halen Anything R&B Metallica

musician Almeroth

Pre-game Chocolate Spicy Spaghetti or Lasagna

meal or snack Shake Slim
Snickers &
Mountain Dew

Best team Minnesota Texas Christian

nickname in University University Southern Illinois Salukis
football Scottsdale Golden Horned Frogs
(Ariz.) Community Gophers
College Artichokes

Football official Rich Hall, NFL Umpire Mike Carey, NFL Tony Michalek, NFL Bill LeMonnier, College
you respect Referee Umpire (Big Ten) & AFL Referee
the most

USA Football offers resource-packed memberships to give coaches, officials and youth league administrators an edge.
Learn more at 27

24 OFFICIATING.indd 27 11/17/08 4:10:12 PM

World’s top national teams
eager for Canton journey
Six nations earn berths for eight-country IFAF Junior World Championship field
By Steve Alic

destination for pro football’s greats, overtime Gold Medal game decision to on Wednesday, July 1 and Saturday, July 4,
Canton, Ohio, also becomes the USA Football’s senior team in the 2007 before the Championship Game on Sunday,
targeted town of high school players IFAF Senior World Championship. Held in July 5.
from all corners of the world in 2009. Kawasaki, Japan, NFL Network televised the The Bahamas enter international
Six nations from three continents contest nationally in the U.S. competition for the first time when
recently clinched berths for the 2009 “I give sincere appreciation to IFAF and traveling to Panama for a qualifying game
International Federation of American USA Football for hosting the first Junior on Saturday, Jan. 24, in Panama City.
Football (IFAF) Junior World The winner will visit Mexico on
Championship, to be held Saturday, Feb. 14, in Mexico City for
in Canton’s historic Fawcett the right to join the Junior World
Stadium from June 27-July 5. The Championship field.
tournament is football’s first world Oceania will be represented by
championship among high school- either Australia or New Zealand,
aged national teams. A total of 52 who will meet in Canberra,
countries are IFAF members, each Australia, during the Australia
with a national federation dedicated Day weekend national holiday on
solely to the sport. Saturday, Jan. 24.
Canada, France, Germany, Japan, “It is a testament to American
Sweden and the United States are in. football’s strength that we have
Two berths remain for Australia, 2009 IFAF Junior World Championship such a diverse group of countries
the Bahamas, Mexico, New Zealand determined to compete at
and Panama. Qualified: the game’s highest level,”
Sweden earned its Canton Pan America: Canada, United States said Tommy Wiking,
ticket by finishing second, behind Europe: France, Germany, Sweden president of Paris-based
Germany, in the 2008 European Asia: Japan IFAF. “This first Junior
Junior Championship. The top three World Championship will
teams from Europe’s eight-nation Qualifying games: stand among the most
tournament (Germany, Sweden and Pan America significant international events in
France, respectively) qualified for Jan. 24, 2009: Bahamas at Panama football’s rich history. Our languages
next summer’s world championship. (Panama City) and cultures may differentiate us,
“For us, being in the first IFAF Feb. 14, 2009: Bahamas-Panama Winner at Mexico but we’re united through our passion
Junior World Championship in (Mexico City) for football and the team-oriented
Canton is historic – an experience values that it inspires.”
without comparison,” said Team “We, as a small nation in the
Jan. 24, 2009: New Zealand at Australia
Sweden head coach Jan Jenmert. football community, are very, very
(Canberra, Australia)
“A lot of our inspiration in our proud to take part in this, and we
developing journey has been the will do everything in our ability
magnitude of this event and the fact that World Championship in Canton,” said Teruo to prepare our team for next year’s event,”
this tournament is held in the cradle of our Taniguchi, president of the Japan American Sweden’s Jenmert added. “It is really
beloved sport. Football Association (JAFA), established important for us to play against the great
“Not only is it held in the U.S.A., but on in 1934. “With the success of hosting the nations of football – the U.S.A., Canada,
historic ground in Canton, Ohio, which has Senior World Championship in 2007, JAFA Mexico and Japan – and we will take the
been a huge energizer for our entire staff and is eager to continue football’s international opportunity to learn as much as possible
players.” development.” from that experience.”
Japan, representing Asia, saw its senior The IFAF Junior World Championship For more on the 2009 IFAF Junior World
national team narrowly lose a 23-20 double- kicks off on Saturday, June 27 and continues Championship, visit

28 USA Football Magazine

28 JWC.indd 28 11/17/08 4:10:28 PM

Fawcett Stadium Earns
photo courtesy of the pro football hall of fame

national honor
ro Football Hall of Fame Field at Fawcett Stadium in Canton, Ohio, the site of the 2009 IFAF Junior World Championship, was
recently named the country’s best high school football stadium by ESPN. Built in 1924 with a capacity of more than 20,000, one of
the country’s best football venues is the home field for three high schools and two colleges. Named for the late John A. Fawcett, a local
civic leader and Canton Board of Education member, the venue features artificial turf, a pro-style press box and lighting system. The site also
hosts Ohio high school football state championship games.
In addition, the stadium is home to the NFL’s Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, which traditionally begins the NFL season every August.
Standing adjacent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Fawcett Stadium underwent a sparkling $4.3 million renovation in 1997.
The 2009 IFAF Junior World Championship kicks off on June 27.


28 JWC.indd 29 11/17/08 4:10:34 PM

Football facts,
stats & figures
USA Football continually conducts and uncovers research to share with you, our members. We speak with league administrators, youth
coaches, game officials and parents to learn how America’s favorite sport can be even better. Every issue of USA Football Magazine shares
“Facts, Stats and Figures” pertaining to the football community.

USA Football’s 37 coaching schools in 2008 drew nearly 7,000 coaches from more than 30 states. Consistently striving to better serve the
game, USA Football surveyed more than 700 of its coaching school participants this year and discovered the following findings from this group:

How many years have How much did you learn at your Would you recommend Would you consider
you coached football? USA Football Coaching School? USA Football Coaching attending this event
Reinforced things Schools to others? next year?
0-1 year I knew – 8%
6+ years
33% Learned a
2-3 years Learned a
lot of new
28% few new
things – Yes – 97% Yes – 94%
things –
3-5 years 39% 53%
Source: 2008 USA Football Coaching School Surveys

According to the most recent participation study conducted by the With a free USA Football administrator
National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), the number membership, every youth football league can
of boys playing high school football nearly doubles the next-played sport. receive a $10 subsidy from USA Football
on gold-standard background checks
The most popular high school sports played by boys during the for its coaches from the National Center
2007-08 school year: for Safety Initiatives (NCSI). Of the
1.2 thousands of background checks run
1,135,361 1200000
Million across America with USA Football’s
financial assistance, 4.3 percent have
drawn “red lights.”

900000 A breakdown of “red light” determinations
made through USA Football’s Background
616,034 Check Subsidy Program:
478,029 Any felony; a crime punishable by confinement
greater than one year – 45.4%
Any lesser crime involving force or threat
of force against a person – 36.4%

Any lesser crime involving controlled

Tackle 0 substances (does not include alcohol) – 13.9%
Football Track &
Field Basketball Any lesser crime in which sexual relations is
Soccer an element (including pornography) – 3.2%
Source: 2007-08 NFHS High School Athletics Participation Study Source: NCSI, October 2008

30 USA Football Magazine

30 Stats.indd 30 11/17/08 4:11:04 PM

31.indd 7 11/17/08 4:01:47 PM
What Football Taught Me
Sgt. Tommy Rieman, United States Army
As Told To Tim Polzer

During Operation Iraqi

Freedom, Sgt. Tommy
“Basically everything I learned in football when they encountered enemy
fire in the form of three rocket-
Rieman distinguished I have also used in the Army.” powered grenades (RPGs) and
himself through gallant three roadside bombs.
acts of courage and bravery under fire, and expertise as a “light fighters” infantryman. During the ensuing firefight, Rieman
he believes his years of playing football helped After volunteering for service in Kosovo returned fire while positioning himself
him become an honored soldier. as part of Operation Noble Freedom, Rieman between his fellow soldiers and the enemy. He
Rieman was introduced to football at the re-enlisted for an assignment in Germany sustained severe bullet wounds in the chest
youth league level and earned the status of where he joined Echo Company, 51st Infantry and arm but continued returning fire until
captain as quarterback and safety for Simon Long Range Surveillance (LRS), where he his unit was safely outside the kill zone. The
Kenton High School in Independence, Ky. completed Special Forces training. sergeant later came under fire again until
Rieman received offers to play football at In early 2003, Rieman and his LRS, machine gun fire silenced the enemy.
several small colleges, but he instead chose to unit were charged with scouting the way for Following his return to the United States
enlist in the U.S. Army. ground operations in Iraq. Echo Company in 2004, Rieman was awarded the Silver
The same determination that drove him entered ahead of armored units spearheading Star for “acts of conspicuous gallantry
to succeed in football pushed Rieman through Operation Iraqi Freedom. and courage under fire while serving as an
many of the Army’s challenges including In December of 2003, Rieman and his unit Assistant Team Leader in Echo, 51st Infantry
Airborne School training and achieving were on a surveillance mission deep in Iraq Long Range Surveillance Company.”

s a kid, I always wanted to be And football doesn’t leave your
G.I. Joe, and as a teenager, I heart just because you spend months
always wanted to play college overseas fighting for your country.
football or join the Army. I’ve been My fellow soldiers and I always talked
lucky to include football and the football, and thanks to AFN (Armed
Army in my life. Forces Radio Network), and
Basically everything I learned in other Web sites, we could keep up
football I have also used in the Army. with our favorite teams and stay in
In fact, I live every day of my life using the know. Football gave us something
the lessons football taught me. to think about – something important
Discipline, camaraderie, teamwork; in our lives back home – when we
I think they work hand-in-hand. Both Sgt. Tommy Rieman, center, stands between former had some time between missions.
require fighting for something much Marshall University Football Coach Jack Lengyel and Sometimes we would stay up all night
greater than yourself. That’s what being Pro Football Hall of Fame Cornerback Mike Haynes. Sgt. to watch NFL games – they didn’t
Rieman’s acts of courage were honored by the Pro Football
part of a team is all about – coming kickoff until 3 a.m. in Iraq – but it
Hall of Fame this past August.
together to accomplish a goal. That’s was worth it.
what we do in the Army, and that’s what I did when I played football. I encourage kids to go out for their youth football leagues as
Football is the greatest sport in the world. The game symbolizes soon as they are old enough. And for those kids who choose other
America. When you think of America, you think of football – youth sports, I encourage them to try out again in their freshman year
football, high school football, college football, pro football – you of high school. It’s not too late to benefit from the lessons football
think of greatness. Every boy wants to grow up to play in the NFL. can bestow on you.
From my first years playing for the Boone County Pee Wee Football Each issue of USA Football Magazine reveals what America’s
Redskins through high school, I always loved to hit. At Simon Kenton, I favorite sport has taught accomplished individuals in varying
played quarterback, but also loved to play safety. I also learned how to career fields. These football accounts illustrate how today’s players
be a leader, a quality that carried over into my Army career, too. become tomorrow’s leaders.

32 USA Football Magazine

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