USA Football introduces new Road to The One

By Samuel Teets | Posted 3/28/2024

Beginning in 2024, USA Football is introducing a new Road to The One Flag Championship that alters who is eligible to play and how teams qualify for the tournament. The One is USA Football’s annual flag football national championship in July for youth through adult age groups. The tournament follows the five-on-five playing style and rules that will be used in the 2028 Olympics in Los Angeles.  

There are three types of events teams looking to join USA Football’s 2024 competition cycle should understand, beginning with sanctioned tournaments.  

USA Football Sanctioned Tournaments 

USA Football sanctioned tournaments are events run by independent tournament operators. Sanctioning standards are set to enhance the quality of events for athletes, coaches, officials and spectators. These events will take place throughout the country in 2024.  

Starting in 2024, every athlete participating in a sanctioned tournament must have a current USA Football Athlete Membership. Minor-aged athletes must have their Membership purchased by a parent or legal guardian. Failure to fulfil this requirement no less than three business days prior to a sanctioned tournament may result in the athlete not being allowed to participate. Athletes will be grouped by age level based on their age as of Jan. 1 of the competition year.  

Coaches participating in sanctioned tournaments must have a current USA Football Coach & Commissioner Membership no less than three business days prior to the event. Any athlete or coach who doesn’t have an active Membership won’t be eligible to participate in sanctioned tournaments. Visit to learn more about the benefits of membership. 

Teams that compete in sanctioned tournaments will earn points toward the USA Football Team Rankings. Teams can improve their ranking by competing in more USA Football sanctioned tournaments and placing well in those events. High ranking teams are eligible to receive bids to The One.  

Team rankings also help establish seeding going into pool play at USA Football Qualifiers. Rankings will be updated monthly.  

If you are a tournament operator, you can apply today to sanction your tournament with USA Football! 

There will not be 6U and 8U divisions at The One, but those divisions are still encouraged to participate in sanctioned tournaments.  

Athletes participating in USA Football sanctioned tournaments are eligible to be scouted for positions on the junior and adult U.S. National Teams. Top performers may receive invitations to the 2025 U.S. National Team Trials or the National Team Development Program’s 2024 USA Football Select Teams.  

Check regularly to stay up to date on the latest sanctioned tournament schedule. Event information will be posted as sanctioned tournaments are added. Dates and locations are subject to change.  

USA Football Qualifiers  

Teams will have opportunities to secure bids for The One by winning their division level at one of four USA Football Qualifiers. The USA Football-operated events will be located in four regions of the country with stops in Tinton Falls, New Jersey, Houston, Texas, Tampa, Florida, and Las Vegas, Nevada.  

The winners of sanctioned tournaments aren’t guaranteed bids to The One, but winners of Qualifiers receive full bids. Winning a division at Qualifiers is the only way to guarantee an invitation to The One.  

Athletes and coaches do not need to be USA Football Members to participate in Qualifiers, but they will need to join Membership to play when Qualifiers return in 2025. Athletes participating in these events may be scouted for the U.S. National Teams or Select Teams.  

U.S. National Team Talent ID Camps hosted with local NFL teams will be held in all four Qualifier markets on the day after the Qualifier tournament. Additional Talent ID Camps may be added throughout the spring. The camps allow athletes ages 11-18 to compete in combine testing, one-on-one drills and five-on-five team competitions in front of U.S. National Team coaches and personnel. 

The One Flag Championship 

The One is a USA Football-operated national championship designed to provide the sport’s top athletes with premium experiences and opportunities to compete against fellow elite athletes.  

The One was an open tournament that all teams were eligible to sign up for in 2023. This year, teams will be invited based on their performances at Qualifiers and team rankings established by outcomes at sanctioned tournaments.  

To be eligible to participate in The One, athletes must have played for their team at a sanctioned tournament or Qualifier. New athletes may not be added to rosters between a team’s final event and The One. Athletes and coaches are encouraged to join USA Football Membership.  

Age ranges 10U and up are eligible for The One. Athletes are not allowed to play for multiple teams. They must compete on one team and in the proper age division. Playing up an age division is not allowed.  

Now that you’re up to date on the Road to The One, learn more about the benefits of USA Football Membership and sign up today!