Pathway to U.S. National Teams to change in 2018

By Adam Wire | Posted 2/23/2018

The path to the 2019 U.S. National Team will be different than it’s been in past seasons.

USA Football announced Tuesday its schedule for Regionals, which begin March 3 in Phoenix and will take place at 23 other sites between March 3 and June 3.

From there, the path from Regionals to the National Team will differ from previous years.


Past years featured a three-step pathway, as displayed above: Regional Development Camps, a two-day, non-contact camp that included four practices, semi-group work and individual competition; National Development Games, which included a week of instruction and non-contact practice, along with a controlled scrimmage. From there, USA Football personnel selected International Bowl invitees on a rolling basis, based on age for team selection.


In efforts to become more financially-friendly, more coach-friendly and more contact-friendly, once a player attends a Regional, that player is automatically in the selection pool for the International Bowl. USA Football is eliminating the high school development games, and instead is offering a U.S. National Team Training Camp, which is an invitation-only, three-day “shells” camp, an instruction level with a low contact level.


Players will participate in a college-level practice with drills that will include 9 on 9, 7 on 7, half-line drills and full-team 11 on 11. They will learn the art of film breakdown and will analyze the day from college coaches in the film room at night.

This step is not mandatory, but alumni must attend a Regional to be placed in the International Bowl selection pool. This allows the National Team staff to see how alumni have grown, developed, matured and improved their games.

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Regionals will remain two-day, non-contact events where high school athletes are evaluated for U.S. National Team roster spots.

Middle school players, based their performances at a Regional, may also participate in one of five single-day, non-contact U.S. National Team Middle School Showcases (see graphic above). At those events, they will be evaluated to earn a potential spot in one of three U.S. National Team Middle School Bowl games (sixth grade, seventh grade and eighth grade) in July. The schedule for the Middle school players will no longer participate in the International Bowl as in years past.

Click here to see a schedule for the 2018 U.S. National Team Regional schedule.

Click here for more information about the U.S. National Team programs.

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