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Pop Warner, USA Football Announce Partnership Benefiting Youth Players

Corporate • February 1, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA (February 1, 2020) – USA Football, the sport’s national governing body and a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee, and Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., the nation’s oldest youth football, cheer and dance organization, announced a multi-layered partnership benefiting youth football players and their families.

Under the partnership to develop and promote safer and smarter play, Pop Warner will encourage its leagues to earn recognition within USA Football’s League Excellence Program, new for the 2020 football season. Through the League Excellence Program, USA Football will recognize and promote youth leagues that adopt its Football Development Model (FDM). The FDM is designed to make the game safer by reducing contact and teaching the game based on an athlete’s age, the skill they are learning and game type.

The model is founded on USA Football’s proprietary education framework with comprehensive guidelines and standards spanning background checks, anti-abuse training, coaching certification, league operation best practices and safety.

Pop Warner was the first national organization to endorse the Football Development Model.

To better understand player development through the sport, the entities will work together to share data and insights on the player progression through the various game types, noting ages and stages of development in order to continually enhance player, coach and youth league education and safety resources. Pop Warner currently offers flag football, Rookie Tackle and traditional tackle options for its leagues nationwide.

Beyond the impact on the playing field, USA Football and Pop Warner also will extend outreach to policymakers on state and national levels, informing them of continued advancements in youth football, such as USA Football’s Football Development Model (FDM), which is designed to reduce contact in youth football and advance the game through standardized education and safety standards, and Pop Warner’s series of safety measures, including the elimination of kickoffs and three-point stances for its youngest participants. USA Football’s FDM is in alignment with the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee’s American Development Model.

“We’re proud to be working in partnership with Pop Warner to shape the future of football,” CEO & Executive Director of USA Football Scott Hallenbeck said. “Together, we look forward to advancing smarter and safer play through our Football Development Model for football families nationwide as well as working to educate policymakers of our commitment to reimagining the game.” 

“We have long been focused on making football even more fun, safer and better for young people, while retaining what makes our great game so special,” said Pop Warner Little Scholars Executive Director Jon Butler. “USA Football is a great partner and a leader in our game, and we look forward to continuing to work with them on approaches like the FDM that support the best interests of the young people who love this sport.”