While the organization is relatively young, USA Football came on the scene in 2002 and has not slowed down since. In fact, the speed at which it has expanded is not only a testament to the organization’s work, but also to the immense appeal of football in America and around the world.
Greer M. Monterastelli, senior manager, event services for USA Football, says the success of the organization is incredibly promising and there is always potential for more growth.
USA Football is the national governing body for the sport of football, working with the National Football League as its official youth development partner. The organization hosts about 100 youth events during the year, including fundamentals clinics, player academies or youth football camps, and coaching schools, which are clinics for youth and high school coaches. The main goal of these events is to provide young players and teams with resources in order to build their skills and boost participation in the sport.
A recent program that USA Football launched is the Player Progression Development Model, which Monterastelli describes as a one-of-a-kind tool that develops athletes.
“What we’ve done is we’ve taken all the skills and techniques for the game of football, but it’s broken down in an age appropriate manner,” Monterastelli says.
By breaking it all down into various age groups, coaches are better able to address skills in a way that is both cognitively and physically appropriate for the age they are working with, he adds. This tool is just another way that USA Football is helping players, by providing as many resources as possible to the youth football community.
“We’re striving to introduce people to USA Football and introduce them to the resources that are available to them,” says Monterastelli. “We do everything we can to help grow and develop the game, both nationally and internationally.”
And the international growth has certainly been impressive. According to data from USA Football, in 2007 there were 40 countries with national federations for American football. Now there are 62, meaning 22 countries were added in the course of four years. The organization hopes to maintain this growth rate, and Monterastelli said it will continue to field national teams at events all over the world.
As far as local participation is concerned, hundreds of teams and programs continue to form, and USA Football is eager to help them get on their feet.
“About 75 to 80 percent of all youth football played in this country is through independent leagues,” says Monterastelli. “We offer them resources that they may not have access to otherwise.”
He notes a particular event in Indianapolis, called the Central Indiana Border Wars, where thousands of athletes from North and South of the city go head-to-head in a two-week competition. USA Football recently partnered with the organizers for the event, providing them with tools that allowed them to operate more efficiently.
“We helped them build a registration system, which allowed them to collect rosters and do all their verifications easily,” says Monterastelli. “From an event management standpoint, they told us it really helped their volunteers successfully put on that tournament.”
In order to build its presence, USA Football is reaching out to more and more communities around the country. It has eight regional managers who work solely on spreading the word about the organization and telling people about all the wonderful resources that USA Football has created.
“We’ve been slowly getting involved in the sports commission and CVB world,” Monterastelli says. “We’ve started to create relationships and work with cities on potential events.” He says the organization is always looking for places and people to partner with, especially for larger events and tournaments.
USA Football has gradually made its way across the country and around the world, and there is no telling how far it can extend its reach.
“We are a resource,” says Monterastelli. “Our goal is to develop the game. There’s no boundary to American football.”