The National High School Football Coaches Alliance comprised of high school coaching associations across 41 states, today announced its endorsement of USA Football’s Football Development Model for youth leagues nationwide. The Alliance represents the country’s largest group of state high school football coaches associations. 

The model is in alignment with the American Development Model designed by the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC). USA Football is the sport’s national governing body and a USOPC member. 

A new approach to coaching, learning and playing football, the Football Development Model helps coaches develop the whole athlete based on a child’s age and stage of development. The framework introduces smarter and safer play, centered on fun and fundamental skills while reducing contact. Coaches teach athletes based on their age, skill level and the version of the sport they play, from non-contact (flag) to contact (11-player tackle). 

Leaders for safer and smarter play, Alliance members also hosted more than 80 youth football events nationwide in 2019, including dynamic and fun player clinics and education-based summits for coaches and league organizers. Prior to COVID-19 mitigation and shelter-in-place directives, Alliance members had committed to expand their support of youth football through more than 100 events for coaches, parents and players in 2020. 

“The National High School Football Coaches Alliance recognizes the importance of youth football and endorses USA Football’s Football Development Model at the youth level,” said Alliance President Rob Younger, who also serves as the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association Executive Director. “Even beyond our game, USA Football’s model is what youth sports should look like and will help young players be better prepared to play in high school. This is such a smart framework – it meets athletes where they are and opens an exciting path to play football for life, whether it be recreationally or competitively like what’s played on our level.” 

“High school football coaches associations are vital members of America’s football family – their endorsement of the Football Development Model means a great deal,” said USA Football CEO and Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck. “When the time comes for the football community to responsibly return to play, our model will have the sport return for our kids in a better, smarter and reimagined way.” 

Guiding the model’s continued refinement is the Football Development Model Council, composed of current and former football coaches and experts across neurology, sport science, coach education and other disciplines. Council members represent Children’s National Hospital, the USOPC, Dartmouth College, the American Football Coaches Association, the NFL and others. 

Football is the country’s most popular sport among high school boys, played by more than 1 million student- athletes. 

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