[Special from usafootball.com]
The 49ers showed their continued support for youth football by hosting the team’s third USA Football State Leadership Forum at its Santa Clara training facility on Feb. 27. USA Football is the sport’s national governing body on youth and amateur levels and is the 49ers’ official youth football development partner.
Youth football leaders – league commissioners, presidents and board members – from across the region gathered at the team’s practice facility to learn more about USA Football’s resources and how the 49ers and USA Football can strengthen their organizations. Leading the forum was USA Football Northwest Regional Manager Bassel Faltas. Jared Muela and Nana Yaw of the 49ers’ community outreach division also attended to present the team’s programs and initiatives designed specifically for the youth football community.
“There was a lot of information about how organizations handle issues and information was shared that will help us make our league better,” said Tom Holloway, vice president of Central Coast Youth Football League (CCYFL) and a first-time attendee.
“The concussion awareness section we went through was very beneficial, since this is becoming more and more of a hot topic,” Holloway added.
USA Football’s resources include coaching education for football’s dedicated volunteers, concussion awareness information, equipment grants, coaching benefits such as online practice planners, and a video drills library, as well as price breaks for the leagues to conduct in-depth background checks on potential volunteers.
The full-day event and discussion allows attendees to take information back to their respective leagues for the 2010 season.
“This was an interactive and informative meeting,” said USA Football’s Faltas. “The 49ers recognize the importance of youth football and its positive impact on the community.”
“This was a wonderful opportunity to not only present the youth football programs we currently run, but to also get feedback from the different leagues on what they would like to see us do going forward,” said the 49ers’ Muela. “I think events like this will help both us and the leagues represented here continue to bring quality programming to our community’s youth.”
“USA Football is doing a lot of good and there were many great things they showed us,” said Art Ortega, the vice commissioner of Peninsula Pop Warner, who was attending the state leadership forum for the third time. “There were a lot of things from the forum that I took away, ranging from their fundraising ideas for our association, the work USA Football does in awarding equipment grants, etc. It was very informative and helpful.”
“The professionalism and dialogue shared among the attendees throughout the day reflects their commitment to the sport,” USA Football’s Faltas added. “It was a powerful day of discussions and I look forward to working further with all of Northern California’s leagues and clubs.”
At each of USA Football’s state forums, one commissioner is selected to attend the NFL/USA Football Youth Football Summit in Canton, Ohio, taking place in July. Diane Castaneda of Hollister, representing NORCAL Youth Football and Cheer, was selected at the forum to attend the summit.
Approximately 200 coaches and administrators from every state take part in this annual event in Canton to discuss topics vital to the continued success of youth and high school football programs.
“I very much look forward to participating in and learning from the NFL/USA Football summit,” Castaneda said. “When I return to our next board meeting, I can relay vital information to our members and share the experience I had while in Canton.”
Castaneda, a league “cheer mom” since 1993 and a “cheer coach” since 2002, has served as her league’s president for two seasons and became her conference’s secretary in 2009.
“When I started my journey with youth football, I knew very little about what is needed to work with parents, coaches and players, but I jumped right in,” she said. “I look forward to learning more and more each year.”
Find out more about USA Football or have a regional manager meet with your league’s leadership by visiting www.usafootball.com.
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