The Goldbacks Youth Football program located in Newburgh, N.Y. has earned Gold Level status through USA Football’s League Excellence Program for the 2023 season.
USA Football’s League Excellence Program is a way for youth football organizations to earn recognition for their commitment to raise operational standards and provide a great environment for athletes and their families.
The Goldbacks have experienced the benefits of the League Excellence Program and all that it can offer to a team firsthand.
“The league excellence program provides a guide of all the steps you should be following and how to achieve them to provide the best experience for your league and players. The ability to offer insurance and background check partners is a great benefit to our league,” said President Rick Ceglio. “We greatly appreciate the support and resources that USA Football offers to our league. The people that work at USA Football are the true stars. They are caring and always available to help in any way.”
Goldbacks Youth Football earned Silver Level status in 2022 and were rewarded in 2023 for continuing to pursue excellence and the highest standards in youth football. The league seeks to reach young, aspiring athletes and motivate them to do their best while also building community through football.
“Our youth football league is special because we're deeply committed to our underserved community,” said Ceglio. “We provide a safe haven for young players to not only learn and enjoy football but also build strong bonds with their classmates. We're proud to offer grants to families who need assistance, ensuring that no child is left out. What sets us apart are the engaging events we organize, such as pep rallies, senior day and end-of-year team celebrations, which create a strong sense of togetherness and belonging. Our league is more than just sports. It's a supportive community that truly cares.”
Ceglio has been the president of the program for six years and has been a coach or board member for ten. The Goldbacks program includes flag teams, both coed and girls, as well as tackle and modified tackle teams.
Throughout the years, Ceglio has been motivated by witnessing the pure joy and excitement the young athletes exhibit on and off the field. Some of the youth fear not being able to play due to costs, but Ceglio has been able to help negate that worry.
“We had a young man who wanted to play for us this year. He came to our offseason workouts but was worried that he wouldn’t be able to play since his family never signed him up due to costs,” Ceglio said. “He asked one of our coaches if he would drive him home and speak to his mom. The coach did and said she could apply for a grant to help with the league costs. She agreed, and the day he received his equipment he had the biggest smile on his face! He didn’t want to take it off because he was so happy to finally be able to play.”
The Goldbacks Youth Football League wants to help their athletes feel at home and cared for. It’s a program that takes giving their athletes access to resources and information very seriously. Ceglio never wants any athlete to feel as though they are not welcomed in the league.
“Seeing young players grow, learn, and form lasting friendships through our program fuels our passion,” Ceglio said. “We're motivated by the joy on their faces and the knowledge that we're providing a safe and inclusive space for them to thrive. Our dedicated volunteers share this commitment to making a positive difference in these kids' lives, fostering a sense of teamwork, discipline and self-confidence. Ultimately, it's the transformation we witness in these young athletes that drives us to operate this exceptional youth football program.”
USA Football congratulates Goldbacks Youth Football on a successful season and thanks them for serving as a model program worthy of Gold Level status.