Kick Off the Season with USA Football’s First Down

By Gehrig Parker | Posted 8/21/2019

We're about halfway through the NFL preseason. College football kicks off its 150th season this Saturday. Thousands of high school and youth programs are grinding toward Friday night lights and fall Saturday afternoons. There's no doubt football is back!

Your organization can help celebrate the return of America's favorite sport by hosting a First Down Program. First Down introduces kids to football’s basics in a fun, free and exciting way.


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 experiencing the fun of football for the first time. Best of all, these programs belong to you! USA Football provides free resources and support to help you run your program 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. Just as important, it aids youth programs in identifying football-interested families and offers parents an introduction to the quality of your organization.

Hundreds of First Down events have been successfully hosted in places like Lithonia, Ga. and Sandusky, Ohio. Hear what those organizers had to say about their First Down Program experience from the time they signed up through the day they hosted the program.

“First Down provided us a perfect opportunity as we were looking to expand our footprint into an underserved area in our community. Not only were we able to introduce our organization, but we also brought football to a group that could benefit from it. From securing our date to marketing to getting attendee rosters prior to check-in, it was everything you could want, and USA Football’s support made it easy to organize. We’ve even have seen some kids register to play football within our league, which is something we’re really excited about. We’d love to have one annually.”Dennis Allen, Association President for the Lithonia (Ga.) Lions

“To improve the great game of football, we need to continue delivering fun experiences and educating players and their parents, and the First Down Program allowed us to accomplish both these things. Logistically, the process was as simple as could be from the time I clicked the link to express interest until receiving our kit. Working with the USA Football staff in the weeks that led up to our event was seamless and ensured that everything ran smoothly the day of. It was great welcoming many news faces we didn’t recognize into our program to provide them with a first-time football experience. We focused on delivering FUNdamentals and smiles, and accomplished both at the end of the 2 hour clinic with over 100 participants.” – Todd Kreimes, President of Perkins Youth Football (Sandusky, Ohio)


To host a First Down Program today, complete this questionnaire for USA Football.