The summer months are critical to the development of NFL players, who work tirelessly throughout the offseason to prepare for training camp in late July.
The same is often true for youth football players, who – given the right opportunities – can hone their developing skills significantly during June, July and August. Not only can players improve their ability, but in some circumstances they can enhance their exposure to prospective coaches and increase the chance of playing at the next level.
For young athletes in West Central Florida, a great opportunity to do just that will soon take place in their own backyard.
USA Football is bringing its renowned Player Academies back to the Sunshine State this summer. And, for the first time, scouts will be on hand to evaluate participants for the inaugural USA Football U15 National Team.
From June 21-24 at Jefferson High School in Tampa – just a few miles from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' headquarters – youth players aged 7-14 will have the opportunity to receive top instruction on the football fundamentals of offense, defense and special teams.
USA Football Player Academies encompass three and a half days of instruction. Academy players are split into four age brackets – 7-8, 9-10, 11-12 and 13-14 – allowing for age-appropriate pace and sophistication. The camps' controlled and limited contact incorporates game-like situations.
The clinicians at USA Football Player Academies are recognized and accomplished high school and youth coaches from the surrounding area. With an on-field and classroom football curriculum, Academy players also learn from keynote speakers lending insight and inspiration to excel as both athletes and people. Age-appropriate classroom sessions focus on rules, Xs and Os, film study and more.
New this year is the opportunity for teenagers to be evaluated by regional scouts for the U15 National Team. Participants in the 13-14 age bracket will be evaluated by USA Football regional scouts, the Player Academy director, and the national team director. Each position will have its own unique set of evaluation points that will be reviewed by the selection committee while the registrant is performing drills at the Player Academy. The team roster will be finalized in December 2010.
Players selected to the U15 National Team will be announced in January 2011, and will come together in summer 2011 with three other countries for a week of competition, development, and cultural exchange.
For players who cannot attend a Player Academy, a nomination process will open up prior to the start of the 2010 youth football season.
USA Football was endowed by the NFL and the NFL Players Association in 2002. It is a non-profit organization that serves as the national governing body of football at the youth and amateur levels. USA Football plays host to more than 100 training events each year, offering programs for youth players, coaches and officials.
USA Football is also the Official Youth Football Development Partner of the NFL and its 32 teams, making the Player Academy the premier way to develop youth football players. Academies are designed for players who want to improve their football skills and become the best they can be at their positions.
To register for this year's Player Academy in Tampa or for more information, visit www.usafootball.com/academy. Enter promo code USAFPA for $25 off.