For years, the nation’s top youth football teams finished their winning season against other local teams and had no chance of measuring their ability against the nation’s best in post-season play. With the construction of the $700 million Johnson Controls Pro Football Hall of Fame Village in Canton, OH as well as the launch of the National Youth Championship, the youth football world just got more exciting.
It is this National Youth Championship that is creating some stir. Described as the “Little League World Series of Youth Football,” top football teams from across the country have been selected in eight age groups (four weighted and four unweighted) to compete in regional play. Top teams will have the opportunity to play for a National Championship at Tom Benson Stadium at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton from December 14-17. This facility is infamous as the home of the NFL’s first preseason game.
Unlike post-season jamborees or football festivals where any team can simply compete, the Pro Football Hall of Fame Championship identifies top teams through a selection process. Decision makers such as NFL executive Ray Farmer and current national college scout Gary Howard, along with 50 local and regional scouts throughout the country are involved in this process. Using game film, team record and strength of schedule as primary scouting tools, the selection team ultimately picks a handful of teams per age in each city.
“Every great team has a great story and this championship platform celebrates true teams and tell their incredible story”, Howard noted.
One of the promoters of the event is Rich McGuinness, one of the most influential names in American football today. The architect of national football properties such as the U.S. Army Bowl on NBC, McGuinness joined the Pro Football Hall of Fame group to reimagine football and build the world’s biggest and best youth football event. His showcase events for hundreds of NFL players who went on to play college football then become first round picks and eventually All-Pro selections.
“The youth football world has been waiting for this event for years”, McGuinness said. “An event exclusively for the nation’s top teams, selected by top scouts from the NFL and college ranks, with regional play and a big-time championship game at the Most Inspirational Place in the World”, McGuinness
Over the past few weeks, many of the nation’s top team have been announced through a “National Watch List” and at live events around the country with Hall of Famers before local and national media. More selection events are scheduled through November as the season comes to a close. All the participating teams will be provided character development by NFL greats and NFL coaches.
Nationally ranked Inland Empire Ducks (14U) was the first team invited in Southern California last week at an official selection event. “The I.E. Ducks are honored to be the first Cali team invited to represent the best football state in the country at The Hall”, stated Team Director, Keefe Pierson.
Top teams have been submitting their nominations on-line for the past several weeks and every team is thoroughly evaluated.
The tournament has made some noise online where parents, coaches, and players alike celebrate their team’s success using the #calltothehall across social media.
The nomination process is still open, get started here!