Wednesday, 22 February 2017 04:54

Why Play GYFL Spring Football?

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The Grassroots Game Changer Ceremony at the U of Maryland The Grassroots Game Changer Ceremony at the U of Maryland


It is surprising to me that the parents of the Elite players even need to ask this question, but apparently they still do, so I will answer it for you.  There are a variety of reasons why Grassroots Spring Ball is a critical component for your son, if and only if, your goals are to maximize his chances of playing College Football one day.

I am not talking about playing High School Football.  Yes, we want your sons to be GREAT HS football players.  Yes, we want him to get the exposure to the High Schools first and foremost, and their is no place like the Grassroots Spring to help get that done for your son.  If he is in the 5th, 6th, or 7th Grade, the Grassroots Spring is just critical because the Fall 8th grade recruiting board begins to be set in the Spring. HS coaches flock to the JV Spring to find the 7th Graders that they want to recruit in the Fall.  So for a 7th Grader, it is simply a no-brainer, NOT just to play Spring Ball, but to play in Grassroots because we are the League that the coaches KNOW is the best of the best. Just playing Spring Football is NOT going to get your kid the exposure that you want. There are a number of Spring Leagues trying to copy what we do, but there is only ONE Grassroots.

FBU 9th Grade All Americans at the Alamodome (GYFL Alums) 

For the wise parents that want to get an early start on this process and put their kids at the front of the line, you will bring your son to the Frosh League, and by the time he is an 8th grader, if he is the real deal, he will not only have a regional reputation, but he will have a National Reputation. The truly brilliant parents will bring their kid in the 5th Grade for the Frosh League if he is good enough to compete with the 6th Graders.

However, it is the 8th Grade Parents that really need to read this.  Those are the parents that have committed to the public school of their choice, or are getting their acceptance letters from the Private HS of their choice in February, particularly if they are an elite GYFL kid. Some of those are the ones who may believe the game is won.  Some of them think they don't need Grassroots anymore because they go the school and the financial aid package that they wanted.  If the only goal was to get to the high school of their choice, then the game is won and they don't need to play in the Spring.

Some of them think they are good and it is time for them to rest.  Some of them are even hearing from the HS coaches that they don't need to play in the Spring because it is "Too Much Football", or they "Just need to train with the team to get ready for HS."  Again, if High School was the only goal, then all of those factors would be true.  But if College is the goal, then there is a lot more to do.

With regards to the coaches will will discourage their incoming kids from playing, I get it.  This has been the case since 2010. But, let me be real with you...... Let me offer one of those HS coaches their own incoming freshman team and see if they say it is too much football.  They will be signing you up to play immediately. If it is too much football, why do many of the top HS programs in the DMV partner with GYFL youth programs and encourage their kids to play? Many of them actually coach on the staffs.  You guys know which HS programs have significant affiliations with GYFL Spring Football programs just like I do, and there are more lining up everyday, because they understand the benefits of playing football, if you want to be a great football player.

If Spring Football wasn't crucial, why does every college in the country play Spring Football. They know it is dangerous. Their kids would love to rest too.  They know the value of training. Yet every college does it. They do it because they know Spring is when players get better and compete for positions.  They spend all that time in the winter training and preparing, and in the Spring they get to be evaluated.

We do the same thing in Grassroots Spring.  I modeled the whole league after the elite HS, College, and NFL experience, since those are the goals that the GYFL kids have.  In the winter we train like the HS and College kids train.  In March we hold combines and mini-camps like the NFL does.  In the Spring we play Spring Football like the College Programs do, because it is a formula that works.  We have a track record of GYFL alums going to college that is unrivaled and the masses of our elite players all played 8th Grade Spring.  Check out the Track Record by clicking on this link when you have a chance.  We are not taking credit for those kids getting offers, but we are a part of the process.

For the 8th graders let me be clear, you must be the best possible football player you can be in order to dominate HS.  If you don't dominate HS you will never get to college. We don't do Spring Football for 8th graders to help them get recruited to High School!!! We already did that. We play Spring Football to help them prepare to dominate in HS, as well as to help them get recruited to COLLEGE!!!!!!

it is NOT just about getting to High School guys.  The right HS fit is the #1 most important element in your college recruitment.  Nothing is more important than that. But just getting to the school of your choice is not enough.  You must be great...... not good.  You must be great.  You can go to any of the top HS and talk to the kids and parents that DID NOT get any offers, or did not get the offers for the level that they believed they should have.  There are reasons for this and Grassroots Spring has an impact that you won't understand until you are a Junior in High and you either have every offer that you can think of, OR YOU DON'T have any offers.  

The perfect storm is when we get HS coaches that work with us and support us 100%. It becomes a true win-win relationship for all concerned.  Unfortunately, not all of the coaches have seen the 8th Grade GYFL vision yet.  They can easily see the 6th and 7th grade and support it 100%.  But, once some of them have gone through the process and successfully recruited the kids they want, they don't see the benefit of Spring Ball and will discourage you from playing, citing potential injury, or the desire for their kids to train with the team.  

If the HS of your choice wants you to train with the HS team that is great and you should do that, but that doesn't preclude you from playing Spring GYFL on Saturdays folks.  Of course there is the potential injury concern that HS coaches will have, but in many cases it is about the anxiety of the possibility that you will be seen by another school and change your mind on where you will begin your freshman year.  That is just the reality of it.  If you see the value that I am about to share and you want to play, all you need to do is convince your coach that you are committed to their school and that you will use Grassroots Spring to help them recruit 7th graders (LOL).  If you can relieve their anxiety, they will be more open to you playing in the Spring.  If that doesn't work then encourage them to reach out to me and partner with a youth org that will allow them to coach and have influence on their incoming 9th graders and most will be intrigued.

The following is my pitch for the benefits of GYFL Spring and what you need to know as you decide.

Factors to Maximize Scholarship Offers:

  • Talent Level
    • The number one thing you must have is extreme talent.  You have to be at the top of your graduating class in the position that you play.  Those classes are being evaluated as early as 8th grade whether you believe it or not.
    • We have colleges that have a GYFL Board in their recruiting offices already.  They know who our top 8th graders are, but they don't begin to focus until the Spring of their 8th Grade year, which is a few months before they enter HS.
    • Colleges are offering kids younger and younger now, as early as 8th grade in some cases and certainly in 9th Grade. They are not offering an 8th or 9th grader on the spot.  Those offers only go to kids that have been on their radar screens.  GYFL Spring is where we put our 8th graders on the college radar screens, NOT the Fall and NOT FBU season.
    • During the Fall Season, the HS and Colleges are focuses on winning championships in their conferences.  They can barely follow the HS circuit during that time, and have NO interest in following youth.  As soon as the season is over, it is 100% focus on National Signing Day for the current class.  Then they begin to prepare for the College Spring Season of conditioning and playing.  They don't have time for HS and youth football from Feb to Mid April. 
    • We wait until the end of their Spring Season to launch our Spring Season, which is their down time.  We bring the games right to their stadiums!!!!  They finally have the time to take a look at the rising 9th graders who will be on the clock in September.  We played games at the University of Maryland in 2015, 2016 & 2017 and we will be there again this Spring on April 28th.  We will also play at Howard University this Spring, and we are attempting to hit 4 other colleges with the Spring Machine.
    • And I have 8th graders wondering if they should play.........  shocking!
    • In order for your child to maximize his chances he needs to be the BEST player he can be.  You don't become a great football player just by training.  We love training.  We believe in training.  We love 7 on 7 and Flag.  We are getting involved in that as well.  But NOTHING replaces playing the game of football to get better at it.  For those that have concerns about the contact, I GET IT!!  I swear I do, and if I had a kid that I didn't believe had the talent to get a football scholarship at any level, I would not let him play.  But knowing what I know about the benefits vs the risks, I would do it all again. For those that have injury concerns and worry about the danger of the sport, I totally understand.  But, my suggestion is to take up another sport that is less dangerous and less physical if that is a real concern of yours.  If your son wants to play in the Big Ten, the SEC, the MEAC, or any of the college conferences, this is the risk that he has to be willing to take.
    • None of the former NFL players or College players that are dealing with the long term effects played Spring Football when they were kids.  Traditional Fall Football only was the culprit, so if you don't want your son to take the risk, I understand, but don't be fooled into thinking that if we ONLY do Fall ball, we will be safe.
    • Playing Spring Football is what is going to prepare your kid to be dominant in HS, not training only.  We have a track record of alums to back that up.  So I want my 8th graders to play so that they can continue to improve, get better, and test themselves against the best of the best.
    • The last thing I will say about talent is this.  At the middle school level, kids grown 3 inches and put on up to 30 pounds per year.  They are constantly evolving.  Kids are training like never before and if training works, it should make you better.  With that being said in the game of Football, you are truly only as good as your last game.
    • The last game most of my 8th graders played was on December 20th.  I haven't seen most of them since. We had a number play in Post Season All Star Games in early January, but most haven't played since December. We don't know how much you have grown.  We don't know how much you have trained.  We don't know how much better you have gotten since then.  From December to April is 5 months!!!!  If you have been training like you should have been training, you should NOT be the same player.  If you have been growing like you should have been growing, you should NOT be the same kid.
    • So the Spring Season is going to allow us to see how much you have developed or regressed, because in the game of football you never stay the same.  You either get better or you get worse.  For a kid to rest on his laurels because he was one of the top rated players in his position in the area in December is not wise.  We still only had 5 teams in our Varsity Fall and who knows how many other kids out there were just as good or not better, but we just didn't find them for a variety of reasons.
    • Well we will find them in the Spring.  We have over 18 organizations applying for admission and many will be granted membership. They will be coming with kids we have never seen before and what a player did in the Fall will have very little bearing on what will be done in the Spring.  Reputations are at stake and quite frankly, an athlete can't afford NOT to be there, if they want to remain in the position that they currently hold.
    • We are constantly evaluating players and if a kid is not there to maintain his position, somebody else will take it without a fight.

The GYFL All Stars who dominated the 2017 FBU 8th Grade All American Game play Spring Football.

  • Rankings
    • Most parents have no idea of the politics of College Football and I don't have the time to go into the level of detail that I would like to today.  But just let me say that if your son is NOT at least a 3 Star Prospect, the chances of him getting a major D1 scholarship offer are slim to none.  There are politics in college football and it is not just about how good a player is, he has to have the rankings to appease the fan base.  I am attaching for you the USA Today Composite 2017 College Football Class Ranking.  Click Here. We don't have 2017 yet.
    • You will notice that the University of Maryland is ranked #16, ahead of the National Champion Clemson Tigers. Class rankings are compiled by taking all of the prospects who signed and using a math formula to add up the number of Stars each player received from 4 of the major HS scouting services (247, ESPN 300, Rivals, Scout).  5 Stars get the most points in the formula, with 4 Stars the second most, and 3 Stars the least.  There are no points for players that don't have at least 3 Stars.
    • Colleges depend on the Class Rankings to show the fans that they are doing a great job of recruiting.  Maryland for instance, has the best incoming recruiting class in 25 years because of the high number of 4 Start recruits they secured.  They had 1 5 Star de-commit to Florida State.  Had he maintained his commitment, they may have jumped into the top 10.
    • My point is that when the College Recruiting Classes are ranked high, the fan base gets excited about the future, season ticket packages are purchased, Luxury boxes are leased, parking passes, concessions and merchandising is maximized because the fans will pack the stadium based on hope and belief in the future.  A top 16 recruiting class will do that for a college, which allows the AD to balance his athletic budget.  When the classes are ranked in the 40's and below, there is no excitement, fans are down and pessimistic, and the dollars do not get spent.
    • So for any of you to think that the HS rankings don't matter, it is purely because you are NOT in the know. Hopefully this brief synopsis makes sense to you and you can factor it into your decision.
    • Spring football is important for 8th Graders because NOT only do the Colleges not focus on GYFL until 8th Grade Spring, the HS Scouting Services don't focus on us until 8th Grade Spring.
    • All of the top Youth Scouts follow our every move year round.  In addition to our partner SEN, Youth1, FBU, NextGen, USA Football and every other reputable youth outlet follows us year round, but for the 8th Grader, they are passed that.
    • Now you need Rivals, 247, ESPN300, and Scout.  Those guys don't take notice until the Spring time and they use what they learn to help them set the pecking order for HS.
    • Why is this so important?  They have no idea about our FBU, Crab Bowl pecking order.  As I said, they are not there.  They are going to see our best kids for the first time in the Spring.  The question is, will your son be there? Or will he ONLY be training and playing 7 on 7?  Training only and playing 7 on 7 only, will NOT get him on those radar screens.
    • The other reason is that many of our top kids are going to be going to the top HS, which means that they will be playing freshman or JV, and possibly dressing for Varsity games, but they won't be playing or making an impact. For those NOT playing Spring Ball the only way to get on the HS scouting service radar is to make an impact on the HS field.  If you go to a top school the earliest realistic time you could make that impact is if you are able to start as a sophomore.  Starting as a sophomore means that there are no Seniors in the program better than you. That could be the case, but if it is, i doubt that the team is very powerful.  On powerful teams, kids normally play varsity as sophomore, but don't make an impact worthy of Scouting Service recognition until their Junior Year. They means you don't get on their radar until the middle of the 11th grade.
    • Grassroots Spring 8th Graders made their mark already and whether they break into the starting lineup as a Fresh, Soph, or Junior, it doesn't really matter.  They positioned themselves as 8th graders to be at the top of their food chain for their classes.
    • The Scouting Services are creating their pecking orders this Spring Folks.  A lot of kids who we don't know yet will be there trying to take your youth rankings and you need to be there to defend them and secure your HS rankings.  That is all I have to say on that and if neither of these points makes sense to you than I will just have to respect your decision.  Just please don't be mad at me with the Rivals Rankings for the class of 2022 are released during his soph year and your sons name is either NOT on it, or much lower than you expected.  I won't be able to do anything about then.  But, you have the power to do something about it NOW.  The choice is yours. 

Game Changer & Play Maker Opportunities: 

  • The Very last reason that I will share with you today as to why you would want your son to play GYFL Spring in the 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade is for the Post Spring Season Award Opportunities that are simply breathtaking.
  • I will do most of this through links, as i have already explained much of this and don't want to repeat myself or rewrite. 
  • The Title of Game Changer is the #1 most coveted award that a GYFL rising 8th Grader can achieve.  It is exclusively for rising 8th Graders.
  • The Title of Grassroots Playmaker is the #1 most coveted award that a GYFL rising 9th Grader can achieve, and it is exclusively for Rising 9th Graders (Current 8th Graders)
    • Participation in Spring 2018 is a requirement for consideration for the 2018 Game Changer and Playmaker Awards.
    • There have only been 2 exceptions to this requirement in the past 3 years and would take some truly extenuating circumstances for us to waive that requirement, as we have to be fair to all of the parents and kids that made the awesome sacrifice to support the year round platform that we believe in so much.

The Definition of a Grassroots Game Changer is 9th Grader Rakim
Jarret, pictured above at the 2016 Ceremony on the Red Carpet.
He is a freshman at St. Johns and already been offered by Syracuse.
He will have 40 offers before he graduates.

  • The benefits of Being a Grassroots Game Changer and Playmaker are detailed in the link.  Click Here. 
  • But before you take the time to read it, let me just say that there has never been anything quite like it at the youth level, and there are no honors that can compare in our humble opinion.
  • The rising 7th and 8th Graders have the exclusively opportunity to become Game Changers, which puts them at the absolute top of their classes, with the rising 8th Graders positioning themselves to be the most highly sought after 8th Graders in the DMV.
  • When HS coaches inquire about our top kids, we send them the Game Changer List.
  • The rising 9th Graders have the exclusive opportunity to become Play Makers, which puts them at the absolute top of their HS graduating class, and at the top of every College Programs and HS Scouting Services radar screens.  When College Coaches ask for our top rising 9th graders, we send them the Play Maker list.  When top HS Scouting servies ask the same question, they get the same list.
  • To have a chance to be on one of those lists, and choose NOT to just does not seem wise to me.  But hey, I am almost 51 and already played college football and college basketball, so it will NOT effect me if you don't see these realities. Let me take that back.  It will effect me from a standpoint of being disappointed for the opportunities that your son will miss out on that you don't realize is important yet. But, the league will continue to move on and market whoever comes. It just hurts a little bit to know what I know and see parents that don't know make mistakes that they don't have to make that they may regret.  It invariably happens every year.  I get the calls from the disgruntled parents that went to the HS that they dreamed of but didn't get the exposure they thought they would get and the offers are not there.  Breaks my heart to have to tell them there is not much we can do at this point.  I never tell them, "I told you so," and I never will.  But I did.  
  • Check out some links to pics and footage of this unreal event:


With all of that being said I think you have more than enough reasons and more than enough logic to factor in when you consider whether or not to allow your son to play Spring Ball with the GYFL.  You have been armed with enough knowledge now to make an informed decision.  We hope to see you at one of our GYFL Combines in March.  Registration pages will be up soon.

It you are ready to rock and roll, below I have included the GYFL Teams in your regions. First of all I need for you to Pre-Register by clicking THIS LINK IMMEDIATELY.  Pre-Registration is a requirement for Spring Football.  Click the link and fill out all of the details.  Then review the current roster of teams to see if any of them interest you. Contact information is provided for the regional teams.

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