Lafayette Football and Cheer, one of the longest-standing beneficiaries of USA Football’s Youth Coach Certification program, has set the standard for player safety and development in the northwest Indianapolis-area for the last 50 years.
Despite its longevity, Lafayette Football and Cheer faced a few hardships along the way, even going as far as not knowing if they would be able to continue operating, until they became familiar with USA Football.
“USA Football has helped save our program,” said Dan Garvey, President of Lafayette Football and Cheer. “It has been such a blessing. They really have given us such backing and support from the moment that we enrolled, and it has helped keep our program going in the right direction, while keeping the game of football alive.”
Garvey was hesitant to require his coaches to get certified through USA Football, believing it might deter volunteers from wanting to be involved in the program. It ended up doing the complete opposite for him and his organization.
“We were a bit afraid we were going to lose coaches, but it turned out to be the complete other way around,” Garvey said. “It has worked in our favor because we are now getting more people interested in working with us when they find out about all the tools and resources that they get access to when they become certified.”
Lafayette Football and Cheer’s experience with USA Football’s Youth Coach Certification isn’t an isolated incident. According to coach response and survey results from 2022, 95% of coaches felt they could transfer the knowledge they learned through the certification process to the football field. Additionally, 94% of coaches believed the certification aids in keeping athletes safe.
Putting coaches through USA Football’s certification program allows Lafayette Football and Cheer to get the most qualified personnel on their staff to help ensure player safety and development, while achieving the league’s mission.
“It [USA Football’s Certification Program] allowed us to involve coaches that were very interested in what we were doing as a league,” Garvey said. “We take it [player health and safety] very seriously. We have a meeting with all of our coaches every year to make sure that everyone is up to date on our emergency action plan. That, along with our mission of getting young athletes to compete in life and on the field while developing character and instilling sportsmanship and the love of the game, are our primary goals.”
Garvey gets the most pride and joy out of seeing the kids happy and emphasized the importance of creating a healthy and safe environment for youth participation.
“Everything we are doing is about safety and making the kids smile. We want them to come back wanting more, and with USA Football’s help, we have been able to achieve that goal of ours for years.”
USA Football’s Youth Coach Certification is now available for 2023. The athlete’s experience and safety are always the top priority when building a healthy football community. Accredited by the U.S. Center for Coaching Excellence, USA Football’s Youth Coach Certification for contact and non-contact play is a comprehensive curriculum covering health and safety, abuse prevention, skill and technique development for tackling and blocking, and the Football Development Model for only $15 online.
This year, USA Football is offering even more certification options to benefit leagues like Lafayette Football and Cheer. There are now two levels of online certification, featuring elective courses and dedicated flag and tackle options that allow coaches to select the best path for their needs.
Coaches and commissioners also have the opportunity to bundle their certification with other benefits through USA Football’s new Membership Program, which packages resources and engagement opportunities.
All of these resources exist to help dedicated league leaders like Garvey offer young athletes, parents and communities the best experiences through the game of football.