Steelers, USA Football strengthen youth football

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By taking part in USA Football's Western Pennsylvania State Leadership Forum at Pittsburgh's North Hills Junior High School on March 6, the Steelers brought together 22 youth football leaders from Western Pennsylvania to discuss ways to strengthen their organizations. USA Football is the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels and is the Steelers' official youth football development partner.

Leading the forum was Ed Passino, USA Football's Northeast Regional Officer.

"There were a lot of good topics discussed," said Joe Boltz, president of the ABC Youth Football league, which covers Armstrong, Butler, Clarion, Mercer, Jefferson and Clearfield counties. "It was good to just get ideas from the other programs and to see how they deal with things. Some of them verified that what we're doing is on the right track."

USA Football's resources include coaching education, concussion awareness information and equipment grants. There are online practice planners and a video drills library to help the coaches, as well as price breaks for the leagues to conduct in-depth background checks on potential volunteers.

Passino and the league commissioners also discussed player registration, officiating training resources, a national youth football playing standard, pre- and post-season events and fundraising guidance.

"With the support from NFL teams like the Steelers, USA Football is helping unify the sport on youth levels," said Passino. "Ultimately it's the kids who love to play football who benefit from these meetings – they're going to enjoy the game more when their coaches and league commissioners are prepared."

One participant at every USA Football state forum is selected to attend the NFL/USA Football Youth Football Summit in Canton, Ohio, in July. Approximately 200 coaches and administrators from every state are invited to this annual event to discuss topics vital to the continued success of youth and high school football programs.

Christopher Curran, a coach for the Mt. Lebanon Football Association, was selected to represent the Western Pennsylvania state forum at the Summit.

"USA Football's Western Pennsylvania State Leadership Forum is a great opportunity to hear from youth football leaders from our area so that we can get a better feel of how we can assist in the development of youth players and coaches," said Mike Marchinsky, Youth Football/Marketing Manager for the Steelers. "Many of the events we currently offer, such as our Youth Coaches Day at Training Camp, were started after hearing from those who attend this forum."

Learn more about USA Football or to have a regional manager meet with your league's leadership by visiting www.usafootball.com or call 1-877-5-FOOTBALL.

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