Youth Football Online has partnered and fully supports the efforts of the California Youth Football Alliance. We recently conducted an interview with the founder of the California Youth Football Alliance. Read below to learn about the alliance and join the fight to save youth football!
We began to come together as the Save Youth Football California Coalition, and as the Alliance we will continue to serve you with an amplified mission and new services. We are here to stay, and we have work to do.
Youth Football Online: What is the California Youth Football Alliance? Why was it founded?
The California Youth Football Alliance (CAYFA), is a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring, improving, and advancing the sport of youth tackle football. We aspire to relentlessly and continually advance the great sport of football so that more generations of student-athletes, coaches, and communities can experience the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical developmental benefits of the sport.
The CAYFA was co-founded by Steve Famiano, Joe Rafter, and Ron White, who were a part of the original Save Youth Football California Coalition that led the charge to defeat the California state bill to ban youth tackle football in April of 2018. They started CAYFA because there is a void in the youth football structure. Youth tackle football is a very diverse community with many leagues/conferences, associations/chapters, and players. By coming together to create a unified voice we protect our right to play youth tackle football as well as strengthen our sport and all those it serves.
Youth Football Online: How has youth football become safer in recent years?
CYFA: Over the recent years, many advances have been made in youth tackle football to make the game safer. These improvements include and are not limited to:
- Increased research into safety and injury considerations by the medical community.
- Modifications in practice standards like amount of contact time.
- Rule changes to eliminate plays that have higher risk of injury.
- New heat acclimation, player hydration, injury prevention, and injury recovery standard procedures.
- New blocking and tackling techniques that are designed to remove the head from the game.
- Coaching certifications that compel a level commitment to the latest coaching best practices.
- New technology products and equipment that enable a safer player environment.
- Increased parent awareness and education on the rewards and risks of tackle football.
This list is only a start. More is to be done, and the CAYFA intends to inspire and drive continued advancement in California.
Youth Football Online: How do kids benefit from playing tackle football?
CYFA: While a few paragraphs would never suffice to sufficiently define the benefits of tackle football, we have summarized our views herein. Kids playing tackle football learn a combination of values like teamwork, self-discipline, overcoming adversity, sacrifice for others, academic-rigor, healthy nutrition, leadership, and acceptance by bringing together a diverse cross-section of the community. Tackle football uniquely integrates these values due to the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical requirements of the sport.
Further, youth tackle football promotes an active lifestyle that helps combat obesity rates in youth, which have increased by 300 percent over the past four decades and that lead to a broad range of health problems previously not seen until adulthood, such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and elevated blood cholesterol levels. Tackle football also helps combat behavioral health problems that are linked to increased risk of sleep disturbances due to increased use of mobile phones & gaming consoles screen time. Tackle football offers every level of athlete regardless of speed, experience, or body type the ability to compete with their peers and themselves to experience athletic success.
Youth Football Online: What is your vision for youth tackle football?
CYFA: As you can see, youth tackle football provides value and has been on a path towards improvement. With all this progress to date, we have more to achieve. Our vision is for youth tackle football to be the safest sport in California. We welcome others across America to join us in making an impact in their state.
Our goals to progress this vision are:
- To research and develop safety improvements for the entire football community.
- To equip youth administrators with safety policies, processes, and technology that are enthusiastically adopted by their organizations.
- To inspire coaches to consistently demonstrate their commitment to safety by learning and teaching the safest techniques using the safest drills available.
- To educate parents to expect and monitor a safe environment for their student-athlete to play football.
- To enable student-athletes to play football using the safest techniques available.
Specifically, we will need to commit more effort to improving and advancing:
- Coaching techniques including differentiating levels and specification of certification.
- Equipment and technology that it is more affordable, available, and manageable in a predominantly volunteer workforce.
- Administrative procedures to optimize operations on and off the field for Leagues/Conferences and Associations/Chapters.
- Rules and game formats so we can continually reduce risk.
- Whole player development that unleashes the intellectual, emotional, social, and physical capabilities of the student-athlete.
- Our culture, so that safety is an enduring values like discipline and teamwork.
Youth Football Online: What can the Youth Football Community do to make the game safer?
CYFA: To achieve this vision and these goals we will need legislators, administrators, coaches, referees, players, families, suppliers, and the youth football community at large to come together like never before. Our path to success is paved with the same values intrinsic to the very sport we love. An informed and engaged administrator, parent, referee, and player is our greatest asset. In general, regardless of your role, we propose the following actions to make the 2019 season better than 2018:
Engaging the CAYFA to explore how we can partner in your local community; and
Conduct your offseason preparation with improvement and safety top of mind as you plan for the fall of 2019; and
Deepen your commitment to safer play through consistent and diligent rule enforcement; and
Play a more active role with safety standards in your football teams.
Watch for legislative developments in 2019, and take action to support AB1.
Be sure to follow CYFA social media channels! Join the fight to save youth football!