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Carolina Panthers

Panthers, USA Football partner to strengthen youth football


The Carolina Panthers recently welcomed youth football leaders from throughout the region for an exciting day of learning and idea sharing at USA Football's Charlotte Leadership Forum. League commissioners, presidents and board members gathered at Bank of America Stadium on March 6 and discussed resources and other support currently offered by the Panthers and USA Football. The full-day meeting was led by USA Football Central Regional Manager Joe Owens.

USA Football is the Panthers' official youth football development partner and is the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels.

"This was a wonderful event, and I would recommend that a representative from every youth football program in North Carolina attends each year," said Rick Emert, president of the North Carolina Youth Football League. "Learning more about what USA Football has to offer - like coaching schools and concussion education - is information that I can relay to all of our team presidents to ensure they are well-trained and prepared for each season."

USA Football's resources include coaching education for the game'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.

"USA Football has a nice system in place and offers numerous tools that make youth coaches better," said Ronald McDaniel, national conference commissioner of the Piedmont Youth Football League. "It's important to bring league administrators together like this on a state-by-state basis to ensure we are aware of issues affecting youth football in our region."

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 the Panthers and other NFL teams, we are helping unify the sport on youth levels," said USA Football Southeast Regional Manager Rick Peacock. "Ultimately it's the kids who love to play football who benefit from these meetings. They're going to enjoy the sport even more when coaches and league commissioners are prepared and employ the resources offered."

At each of its forums, USA Football selects one attendee to represent that region at the 2010 NFL/USA Football Youth Summit in Canton, Ohio, in July. Steve Cooke, commissioner of Greenville (S.C.) Park and Recreation, was chosen to attend this year's three-day summit. Approximately 200 coaches and administrators from every state take part in the annual event to discuss topics vital to the continued success of youth and high school programs.

"I'm interested in meeting other like-minded individuals that are interested in the game of football and who take a special interest in the youth experience, its safety measures and understand what qualities football instills in kids for later in life, not to mention visiting the Hall of Fame, too," Cooke said.

Learn more about USA Football or arrange to have one of the organization's eight regional managers meet with your league by visiting or calling 1-877-5-FOOTBALL.

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