United States against international competition.
“There’s a certain way about a head coach,” Ingram said.
“He has a calming demeanor and temperament. He knows
right and wrong; he knows what to say. I’ve seen all kinds of
coaches, but the good ones always seem to have a glow.”
The best coaches and players earn the opportunity to advance
to the program’s third level – the International Bowl. Each age
group, from Under- 14 to Under- 19, fields a team to play against
an opposing nation at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
“Whether it’s the Regional Development Camps or the In-
U.S. National Team alumni include St. Louis Rams running
ternational Bowl, all of the teams have college coaches within
them,” Shea said. “It’s great for training. From the athlete’s
perspective, it gives him a chance to become comfortable
with college-level coaches, sit in meetings and get one-on-one
instruction and feedback. We have Division 1, Division 1A,
Division 1AA – all different levels of coaches participate.”
The highest level of national team competition – and the
program’s fourth step – are IFAF World Championships. U.S.
National Teams competing for this title travel around the
world in pursuit of a gold medal against the world’s best.
Approximately 70 countries spanning six continents play
American football. In 2014, USA Football sent its Under- 19
National Team to Kuwait. This summer, the IFAF Under- 19
World Championship will be held in China.
back Todd Gurley, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Jameis
Winston and Arizona Cardinals defensive back Tyrann Mathieu.
Over the six-year history of the program, Shea has taken
particular pride in seeing players, such as Alabama commit
Jared Mayden, go through every level of the program to earn
opportunities to play big-time college football.
“We see athletes who enter our program as eighth-graders
and progress through the sport to play on the college level,” Shea
said. “Perhaps the most exciting aspect of my work is seeing the
progression, improvement and achievement of our athletes.”
BY DAN GUTTENPLAN
USA FOOTBALL IS THE ONLY ORGANIZATION IN the sport that provides high school players the opportunity to represent their country while gaining instruction from and training under current college
coaches. As the sport’s national governing body and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Football is entrusted
to build and run the United States’ only national team program
in its sport for international competitions and championships.
U.S. National Team events are granted NCAA permission to
have for current college coaches to train athletes.
Student-athletes in grades 6 to 11 enter the program
through USA Football Regional Development Camps and
reach its highest level of competition with the International
Federation of American Football (IFAF) World Championship
for high school and college players, competing for a gold
medal on a worldwide stage.
“We’re looking for the best players throughout the country
The first step, participating at Regional Development
to represent America,” said Garrett Shea, Senior Director, USA
Football. “It’s not just pure football players; it’s athletes both
on and off the field. We want leaders with high character and
football values – certainly top-notch football players. It’s our
expectation that we can find both.”
The National Team has age brackets ranging from sixth-
graders at the Under- 14 level up through 12th-graders at the
Under- 19 level.
Camps, is available to all athletes in grades 6 to 11. The
two-day camps emphasize athlete development and serve as
tryouts for the U.S. National Team.
“Any athlete should have the opportunity to earn a spot on
the U.S. National Team through their play on the field,” Shea
said. “We allow players to come out and spend two days with
us, with instruction from a college-level coaching staff, to
compete and be evaluated.”
The top players from the Regional Development Camps are
selected to participate in a weeklong program, the National
Team Development Games, which offer fully-padded and
non-contact competition for players in grades 6 through 11.
Aaron Ingram serves as USA Football’s Manager of Player
and Coach Personnel. He is tasked with building the best
coaching staff at every level of the U.S. National Team
program by sorting through a pool of 1, 100 candidates. He
hires more than 900 coaches for the Regional Development
Camps and selects the best of the best to represent the
Represent Your Country on the National Team
Top players from the USA Football National Development Games are selected to play for the
U.S. National Team in international competitions.
Current college coaches are granted permission by the
NCAA to train athletes at U.S. National Team events.
to USA Football
STEP 1: REGIONAL
The two-day training and
competition camp for
players in grades 6 to 11
serves as a tryout for the
U. S. National Team.
STEP 2: NATIONAL
The weeklong program
offers fully-padded and
games for players in grades
6 to 11. Participants are
selected from the Regional
IN TERNATIONAL BOWL
Top participants from the
National Team Development Games are selected
for U.S. National Teams to
compete in international
competitions for student-athletes in grades 7 to 12.
STEP 4: IFAF WORLD
Hosted by the International
Federation of American
Football (IFAF), the U.S.
National Team, comprised
of high school and college
players spanning a range of
ages, represents the United
States on a world stage to
compete for the a gold medal
in American football.
PLAYER TODAY! VISIT
How to Join the USA Football National Team Program
USA Football has 27 Regional Development Camp markets across the
nation, including three camps in Texas, two in Florida, one in Georgia and
one in North Carolina. Players and coaches interested in learning more
about the program can visit: usafootball.com/nationalteams