USA Football’s First Down: Make football a game before it’s a sport

By Zach Sterrett | Posted 6/13/2019

Helping kids discover and learn football, USA Football has launched First Down, which introduces them to the sport’s basics in a fun, free and exciting way.

Designed as a young athlete’s first step in the Football Development Model (FDM), USA Football’s First Down delivers active and engaging experiences that strengthen athletic proficiency in running, jumping, passing, catching and other foundational skills.


The best part of First Down is it’s all free! Whether you’re a parent looking to register your child for a First Down event or an organization seeking to host the First Down Program, you’re covered with zero cost.

Below are First Down offerings available to you today.

First Down Program

A new offering for 2019, the First Down Program is a resource for youth leagues, after-school programs, foundations and multi-sport facilities to host as one- or multi-day sessions for kids enjoying the fun of football for the first time. These programs belong to you! USA Football provides free resources and support to help you run First Down effectively and successfully.

The process looks like this:

  • Organizations interested in hosting a First Down program complete a questionnaire here.
  • USA Football follows up to gather more information on the desired program.
  • Once approved, USA Football ships a free First Down Starter Kit that includes the following:
    • Program guide with curriculum/drills
    • Equipment (footballs, football bag, ball pump, flag belts, cones, agility ladder, whistles, clipboard, handouts)
    • Online registration tool
    • Marketing tool kit
    • Parent resources

The First Down Program removes cost barriers and offers a fun opportunity to learn the sport before approaching a child’s first season of organized football.

First Down also helps youth programs learn of football-interested families and offers parents an introduction to the quality of a league.

If you would like to host a First Down Program today, complete this questionnaire for USA Football to serve you.

Parents: if you’re interested in learning about First Down programs near your home, create a free USA Football account today at this link. After creating an account, you can find First Down programs and USA Football events under the “Events” tab.

First Down Tour

With dates and locations to be announced soon, the First Down Tour is a series of events comprised of multiple, single-day sessions that bring the fun and excitement of football to kids in select NFL markets.

Staffed by USA Football and hosted at NFL and NCAA facilities, the First Down Tour emphasizes the teaching of fundamental football skills and teamwork through various group activities. Players receive exciting giveaways and have the chance to meet NFL mascots and players.

Stay tuned for a First Down Tour stop coming near you!

First Down Clinics

USA Football is excited to bring First Down to large-scale, tentpole events like the Super Bowl and college football conference championship games. USA Football has already run 2019 clinics at the College Football Playoff, Pro Bowl, Super Bowl and NFL Draft, with plans to host additional clinics later in the year.

First Down Clinics accommodate hundreds of participants with free, 30-minute to one-hour clinics and are often part of the main event’s fan experience.

Should you live in the area or plan to travel to some big-time football games or events this fall, be sure to check if USA Football’s First Down will be there. We hope you’ll join us on the field!