After a successful stop in the Bay Area last month, USA Football’s 2019 Protection Tour traveled 400 miles south on Saturday to the current home of the Los Angeles Chargers – Costa Mesa, Calif. – for a football-filled day of excitement and learning.
The event was performed in conjunction with the opening week of Chargers training camp, with participants and their families being able to watch the team practice and get pictures and autographs from players before starting their own on-field activities.
Riddell was onsite first to fit all the athletes for helmets for their upcoming season, as well as provide safety guides for parents on how to keep their child heathy and protected. Next, USA Football Master Trainer Terry Summerfield and his team of area coaches led the kids through components of USA Football’s nationally endorsed Heads Up Football program. Parents were invited down onto the field to take part in the session with their kids, something everyone really appreciated. Said one parent, “I love that [USA Football and Riddell] are invested in the kid’s safety and are teaching all of us, not just the kids, the proper techniques.”
It was a game day atmosphere at Costa Mesa High School, with Chargers cheerleaders, a live DJ and a simulated tunnel run-out. The kids also got to run through a series of non-contact drills aimed at teaching skills for all positions. “I liked that I got to be a wide receiver and a running back in the drills,” said Adrian, age 10. “I usually play defense on my team, so I liked getting to learn new stuff.”
Chase Hartman, the Chargers’ Community Relations Manager, reflected on how the Protection Tour stands apart from other youth events. “This is our seventh year doing the Protection Tour and every single season it is one of the highlights of our youth football outreach. This year, pairing it with training camp offered a really unique experience and allowed the kids to interact with NFL players while also developing their own skills.”
The Protection Tour will travel across the country for its next stop on August 10 for an evening under the lights at MetLife Stadium, in partnership with the New York Giants. This event is currently sold out but interested parties may join the waitlist here for a chance to attend.