Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson


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.

The Following Criteria must be met by each All Star Team Staff in order to participate for 2017:
  Coaches should refer to the Health and Safety Tab for the links and directions on how to get obtain the following certifications.

  • At least 1 CPR Certified coach on every staff, at every practice, and every game.  Must provide a current CPR Card.
  • At least 1 First Aid Certified coach on every staff, at every practice, and every game.  Preferably the team manager or safety coordinator.  Must provide verification.
  • All coaches must successfully complete a concussion course, with verification.
  • At least 1 coach/staff member will have a smartphone with a concussion application that is current and functioning.
  • All Coaches are recommended to provide verification of a current background check.  Beginning in the Spring of 2018, background checks will be mandatory.
  • All Coaches must complete the Coaches Code of Conduct Form (See Forms Section under this tab)

Eligibility requirements:

Parental Forms/Needs:

Liability Waiver Forms

·       Every player must have a parent sign a Liability Waiver form.  You can NOT play without a waiver form.  The waiver form releases GYFL from ANY liability due to injuries related to GYFL participation.

·       Waiver Forms will be on the website by CLICKING HERE.  

Medical Physical Forms

·       It is recommended that very player have a Medical Physical Form completed by a doctor for the Spring and Fall 2017 Seasons.  There is no need to have 2 physicals within a 365 calendar day period.  For example, If your child played football in the Spring of the 2017 (Any League) and had a physical for the Spring, the physical form used for that season can be used for our following Fall season as well. The form must be dated within 365 days of the first day of the season, so any child who had a physical for this past Spring can use that form for the Fall of 2017.  

·       Physical forms can be found on the site by CLICKING HERE.  They must be filled out with insurance information, etc.  If there is a prior doctors authorization within the time frame, attach it to the form.

·       Parental Conduct Forms

·       Each parent must fill out a parental code form, which can be found by CLICKING HERE.  

Coaches Code of Conduct Forms

·       Each Coach  must fill out a Coaches Code of Contact form, which can be found by CLICKING HERE.  

Age Verification

·       We must certify age, and grade in order to play. 

·       MD State issued ID Cards are acceptable as long as they are current.  

·       NO other forms of ID will be needed if the MD State ID is presented.  We repeat, if an athlete has a MD State ID, NO OTHER FORM of identification will be necessary.

NOTE:  If a Maryland State ID is NOT present, any combination of the information below will satisfy.

·       Athletes will need a photo ID.  We must have the official birthday. 

·         We will accept a school ID with birthday. 

·         We will accept a birth certificate in addition to the school ID if it does not include birthday.  

·         We will accept ID badges from Fall Youth organizations if they have photo, name and birthday.  Any official ID cards will be      accepted. All official forms of government ID are acceptable as long as they have a photo and birth date (Passports, etc.)

Note: If no official ID photo is available, we will take a current Head Shot, combined with a birth certificate to validate identity and age.

Eligibility Requirements Spring Season 2017:

NOTE:  GYFL is designed to place the student athlete in the League that is most suited for his ability and size.  Not necessarily his age and certainly NOT his grade.  There are 13 year old 8th graders and 15 year old 8th graders with late birthdays.  Our goal is to find the right fit for each athlete to help them develop, while attempting to make the league as FAIR as possible.  We have been lax in that in the past, but will be sticklers for that as we move forward.  The Eligibility requirements below are designed to find that perfect fit.  Please pay close attention to the nuances.

 Age Requirements Fall Season 2017:

 Varsity League:

  • Kids can be in the 6th, 7th , or 8th Grade, but can NOT be in the 9th grade (Already in High School) under Any circumstances.
  • Kids may not turn 15 prior to Aug 1st, 2017 without and specific waiver from the GYFL. 
  • If a waiver is given to any child on any team, each team will have an age waiver option.
    • Reclassified kids are allowed, as long as they meet the age and grade requirement.

 Junior Varsity League:

  • Kids can be in the 6 or 7th Grade, but NOT be in the 8th grade (rising 9th grader) without written exception by the GYFL Competition Committee.
  • Legitimate and verified reclassifying 8th graders may request and be granted a special waiver by the GYFL, based on extenuating circumstances.  
  • GYFL Competition Committee reserves the right to "play down" 8th graders who are young enough (meets the JV Age requirements), and who are undersized, and/or underdeveloped as a football player (similar to HS coaches playing undersized/underdeveloped 11th graders on JV).
    • Any 8th Grader allowed to “play down must NOT be a player who could make a significant impact at the Varsity Level, and must NOT be dominant in the JV level to the point where he creates a competitive advantage.”  These decisions will be made on a case by case basis and up to the GYFL Competition Committed to make the final call.
  • Any request for a special waiver to play down must be made in writing prior to the season opener.
  • So if ANY of you have any 8th graders that you want to play down, you MUST Submit it in writing asap.
  • Kids may not turn 14 prior to Aug 1st, 2017, under any circumstance.
  • If a waiver is given to any child on any team, each team will have an age waiver option.

 Frosh League:

  • Kids can be in the 5th or 6th Grade, but NOT be in the 7th grade without written exception by the President of the GYFL.
  • Legitimate and verified reclassifying 7th graders must have a special waiver by the GYFL.  
  • GYFL Competition Committee reserves the right to "play down" 7th graders who are young enough (meets the JV Age requirements), and who are undersized, and/or underdeveloped as a football player (similar to HS coaches playing undersized/underdeveloped 11th graders on JV).
    • Any 7th Grader allowed to “play down must NOT be a player who could make a significant impact at the Junior Varsity Level, and must NOT be dominant in the Frosh level to the point where he creates a competitive advantage.”  These decisions will be made on a case by case basis and up to the GYFL Competition Committed to make the final call.
  • Any request for a special waiver to play down must be made in writing prior to the season opener.
  • So if ANY of you have any 7th graders that you want to play down, you MUST Submit it in writing asap.
  • Kids may not turn 13 prior to Aug 1st, 2017, under any circumstance.
  • If a waiver is given to any child on any team, each team will have an age waiver option.

 Grade Verification



  • For Spring GYFL Seasons, We need a copy of one of the athlete's latest report cards from the 2016 school year, with the most recent one being the preference.  Athletes must be in the 5th - 8th Grade to play.

Team Name: DC Raiders (FCA)

Head Coach: Trae Brown

Email Address:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone Number: 202-297-1362


Team Name: Harford County Bucs

Head Coach & GM: Rich Curry

Email Address:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone Number: 443-307-3105


Team Name: DMV Academy

Head Coach & GM: Dante Settles

Email Address:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone Number: 202-725-0198


Spring 2017 Member Organizations:

Beacon House Select (JV)
TSA Blitz Select (Frosh)
Bowie Bulldogs Elite DM (Varsity)
Bowie Bulldogs Elite SVP (Varsity/JV)
MoCo Bearcats (Varsity/JV/Frosh)
Metro Va Raiders (Varsity/JV/Frosh)
Pennsylvania Pride (JV/Frosh)
Harford County Bucs (JV)
DMV Academy 
Maryland Heat (Varsity/JV/Frosh)
DC Raiders FCA (Varsity)
Loudoun County War Eagles (Varsity/JV/Frosh)                             

Click Here for Frosh Schedule & the link to the Frosh Standings 

Click Here for JV Schedule & the link to the JV Standings 

Click Here for Varsity Schedule & the link to the Varsity Standings 

During the Spring of 2017, we will unveil the new and improved Grassroots Youth Football League (GYFL).  It is a league with 18 of the premiere youth football clubs in the DMV and beyond, with more under consideration.  It will provide an outlet for the serious football player that wants to play against elite competition on a weekly basis.  There has never been anything like it in the DMV before.  We are raising the bar to another stratosphere. 

For the 8th year now, we have been on this mission.  Our intentions were always to have the most unbelievable Spring Football experience for the those football players who live, eat, sleep and drink football.  Spring football was not designed to pull the 3 sport athlete that plays different sports in every season, like most of us did back in the day.  Spring football was not designed for the Basketball fanatic or the Lacrosse fanatic.  It was established for the football fanatic that wanted to maximize their chances of competing for a college football scholarship one day. 

The first goal was to prepare kids to be the best that they can be and put them on the High School radar screen early enough to help them find the right fit for them.  Kids need to be in the best high school fits for them in order to increase their chances of getting a college offer.  That does not represent the masses of kids.  Yes, the masses may dream about playing in college and in the NFL, but in these days and times of sport specific specialization, the chances of kids making it to college on football scholarships that don't focus on football are decreasing every year. 

With that being said, our Spring initiative was never designed to pull the masses of kids away from their youth programs.  Our goal was to find those serious athletes, partner with the Fall youth coaches, and have them come together to coach the kids in the Spring time and help them get the advantages that they need to separate themselves from the pack when competing to get on High School radar screens.  We have had great success with those kids, and we have had a number of the top youth organizations in the region jump on board and support us.  

We now also offer a Select Fall League strictly for middle school athletes who desire to play Elite Travel Football and maximize their chances of making an FBU Team or Crab Bowl Team.  The Spring always has been and always will be our Signature Calling card.  We have spoiled our athletes and parents in the spring with the Grassroots Style of Football such as:

  • The Elite HS Facilities with 100% Field Turf
  • The Scoreboard access at venues
  • The Professional Announcer at every game (The One and Only Chad Ricardo)
  • The Security Personnel
  • The Athletic Trainers on Sidelines
  • The HD Filming of the games
  • The Elite level concessions stands
  • The High School Coaching Staff presences on the staffs and on the sidelines of every games
  • The High level caliber of competition on a weekly basis that we provide
  • The High Caliber Website that captures the stats and summaries
  • The Grassroots marketing and promotion of the athletes that are second to none
  • The access to the Elite Level post season All Star Experiences that no other league has access to
  • The Early College Scholarship offers to so many of our underclassmen
  • The Championship Rings, etc., etc., etc.           


The FBU 8th Grade All American Game is the highest level of National Exposure an athlete can achieve.  We had
10 GYFL Alums selected to this prestigious game during US Army All American Bowl Week (Click Here for Video)

We were very excited to announce some new additions to the Spring Roster of teams.  If you see the Divisions above you will notice that we had some some new clubs and some new twists:

  • Baltimore is making major moves the TSA Blitz Select, who have joined the league.
  • The Bowie Elite make their first Spring Appearance.
  • DC is making a huge statement this year as Beacon House has taken it's brand back, and entering under the Beacon House Select.  The DMV Steelers from last Spring are re-branded under the DMV Academy.  Friendship Collegiate has joined the ranks of the GYFL through a partnership with the newly formed DC Raiders!!!
  • DeMatha's incoming freshman are back and negotiating a big announcement of their new partnership with the Bowie Bulldogs, while Pallotti's incoming freshman have partnered with the Bowie Elite.
  • Harco is back ladies and gentlemen, but they are the Bucs this time and they are NOT playing!
  • Lastly, Central PA has expanded and had to drop the Central from the brand.  They are the Pennsylvania Pride.

Here are some League Highlights:

  • Top Notch Regional Competition
  • Exclusive Coverage by the one and only SEN Television.
  • Exposure to Top Area High Schools and National Recruitment Services (SEN, Rivals, FBU, TerrapinTimes.com, etc.)
  • Only officially scouted league for Youth Crab Bowl, and FBU State All Star Teams for the DMV.
  • Prelude to the FBU Youth All American Games for 8th and 9th Grade, Under Armour 8th Grade All American Game, USA Football International Bowls for 7th - 10th Grade, US Army All American High School Game, Under Armour All American High School Game, USA Football North American Championship Games for 11th & 12 Grade, Youth Crab Bowl, and HS Crab Bowl, and so much more.

GYFL Sent 14 Alums to the XP A11Stars Bowl, presented
by Under Armour.  Here are just a few. (Click for Video)

League Structure:

  • Frosh ( 5th and 6th Graders; 6th Graders may not turn 13 before Aug 1st of the prior year)
  • Junior Varsity (6th and 7th Graders; 7th Graders may not turn 14 before Aug 1st of the prior year)
  • Varsity (7th and 8th Graders; 8th Graders may not turn 15 before Aug 1st of the prior year)

Note: There will be exceptions made for JV regarding 8th graders that are undersized, underdeveloped, and meet the age requirement for JV.  There will be an evaluation process to determine "play down" eligibility.

Combine Season

  • There is only 1 Combine/Mini-Camp this year.
    • Sports & Learning Combine on March 25th for the following regions: Anne Arundel County, Harford County, Baltimore County, Baltimore City, New Jersey, Delaware, Central PA, PG County, Northern VA, District of Columbia, Montgomery County, Frederick County, Southern MD, and Surrounding Areas.
    • Click for a Video of how our combines work.

League Season:

  • League Season begins the weekend of April 29th @ The University of Maryland for Maryland Day.
  • 4 Game Regular Season begin on April 29th and ends on May 27th.
    • Frosh and Varsity Games played on Saturdays.
    • JV Games played on Sundays.
  • Playoffs for all 3 leagues on June 3rd.
  • Championships for all 3 leagues on June 10th.

Changing Perception through Strategic Partnerships:

There are some very important goals that we are trying to accomplish for the youth football players of the DMV that are deadly serious about exchanging their athletic talent for a scholarship to college and a chance for an advantage in life.  We are intent on laying out a path and creating a foundation that will allow each and every student athlete to have a fair chance to compete for those scarce scholarship when they finish high school.

Please know these statistics!  The State of Maryland and DC average 16,000 student athletes who are seniors every year and competing on high school football teams.  Most of the 16,000 are competing for the same goal, which is a college scholarship.  Unfortunately, our region only averages 60 Division 1 Scholarship offers on a yearly basis.  That means that less than 1% of the HS Seniors are going to achieve their goals and be happy in February of their senior years, which is when National Signing Day occurs.  We see videos and read articles about all of the kids and parents who are happy.  But, for every one who is happy, there are over 100 who are heartbroken.  There are a number of reasons why, but the main reason is because there are just so few scholarship offers to go around.

One of the reasons we do Spring and Fall football is because we are committed to increasing the number of average offers for our area.  We can't remain stuck at an average of 60.  We must turn 60 into 70, then 70 into 80, etc., etc.  When we have more offers coming to our area, more of our kids will have a chance to alter their destinies the same way that I did.  How do we turn 60 to 70 and so on?  We must change the perception of the DMV into a true hotbed of football. 

Right now we are considered a hotbed of basketball talent, and college coaches flock to this area to offer basketball players in disproportionate amounts, which is great for our basketball players.  Right now, it is the Southern states that are considered football powerhouses and college football players come here, AFTER they have left Florida, Georgia, Texas, Louisiana, California, Ohio, etc.   Since they are not going to be creating any new colleges or universities anytime soon, if we are going to increase our numbers, we MUST take offers away from other regions and bring them here.  We can only do that by changing the perception of the country with respect to football in the DMV.

You may wonder, what does this have to do with youth football?  The answer is that it has EVERYTHING to do with youth football, but because they traditional youth football community does not live in the College Football community like I do, they are not  aware of the correlation and neither are most parents and kids.  It is our job to make sure that you understand the correlation.  Once you do, you will understand how youth football is tied into and why we had no other choice than to play elite level Spring and Fall Football.

We will attack this problem at 3 levels (Youth, HS, and College) but it all starts from the Foundation, and that is at the youth level.  The only way that we can change the way the country feels about the Great Athletes from Florida for example and make them respect us, is if we punch those great Florida athletes in the mouth and kick their butts!  We have to beat them on the football field and we have to beat them good!  The wins have to be respected by the powers that be.  The combination of Strategic partnerships will make this dream a reality.  

Our top HS programs must have success when they play out of state games each year, and ultimately the Major Division 1 College in our backyard, the University of Maryland must begin to be competitive year in year out in the Big Ten Conference.  We can impact all 3 levels by developing quality Student Athletes that will compete and win at the youth level, HS level, and college level.  

Not only can we impact all three, we HAVE been impacting all 3 levels.  2016 was the most impactful year that we have ever had in the 7 years since our inception.  At the youth level, after years of knocking on the door in the FBU Tournament with more Final Four appearances than any other region in the country, we finally won the elusive 8th Grade National Championship.

We won the 7th Grade Championship in 2012, but FBU was just getting off the ground then and people didn't give us the respect that we deserved for that tremendous feat. But in 2016, we officially kicked the door in with a 41 to 14 win over a super talented Seattle Team loaded with Division 1 prospects.  Our 6th Graders finished 5th in the Nation.  Our 7th Graders finished 3rd in the Nation, and our 8th Graders are the best in the USA. We have officially taken the youth football Hotbed Status that we have been searching for. The rest of the country is watching in awe right now and the college offers in the future will reflect that.

We are currently doing the research right now on the number of Major D1 offers the DMV kids signed on Feb 1st and we will update once it has been confirmed.  We have heard as many as 71 National Letters of Intent to Major Division 1 universities were signed, which if true means that we have doubled our average!!!!

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.



Baltimore Metropolitan & Surrounding Areas

Tackle Sports Academy Blitz (TSA Blitz) Select
Contact: Jamaal Ebron
Cell: 443-413-1179
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Central PA & Surrounding Areas

Pennsylvania Pride
Contact: Derrick Foster
Cell: 717-579-5602
Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

District of Columbia & Surrounding Areas

Beacon House Select
Contact: Rodney Cephas
Cell: 202-277-3299
Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DMV Academy
Contact: Dante Settles
Cell: 202-725-0198
Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

DC Raiders (FCA)
Contact: Trae Brown
Cell: 202-279-1362
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Frederick County & Surrounding Areas 

Frederick County Storm
Contact: John Helmer
Cell: 240-372-9048
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Harford County & Surrounding Areas

Harford County Bucs
Contact: Rich Curry
Cell: 443-307-3105
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Loudoun County & Surrounding Areas


Loudoun County War Eagles
Contact: Rusty Markland
Cell: 703-929-5748
Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Montgomery County & Surrounding Areas

Montgomery County Bearcats
Contact: Andy Stefanelli
Cell: 301-502-1716
Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact: Stephen E. Smith
Cell: 202-595-5573
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prince George's County & Surrounding Areas

Bowie Bulldog Elite (DM)
Contact: William Weathers
Cell: 240-461-1048
Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Bowle Bulldogs Elite (SVP)
Contact: Coach T
Cell: 240-304-1177
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Prince William County VA & Surrounding Areas

Metro Va Raiders
Contact: Jwan Banks
Cell: 571-398-1440
Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Southern MD/DC & Surrounding Areas

Maryland Heat
Contact: Terrance Byrd
Cell: 240-346-6555
Email:   This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fill out the MANDATORY Pre-Registration List by CLICKING HERE

2735 as if 4/18/2017

PARENTS/PLAYERS: Pre-Register for the 2017 GYFL Season of ELITE Competition
We at Grassroots humbly invite you to become a part of the Grassroots Family. If you landed on this page on purpose you are in the right place. Maximizing your son's opportunity to get to the next level begins with step #1, which is learning about Grassroots and getting Pre-Registered.  If you landed here because you saw one of our Championship Game Photos or one of our FBU Team Photos, again you are in the right place. The road to a Championship begins here, with Pre-Registration.  
Please read the following document carefully so that you can be educated on the process.  Knowledge is not power, but it is very powerful. Taking action and applying the knowledge that you learn is where the true power lies.  To take action without the proper education is simply not wise.  One thing we will NOT allow you to do as a parent is to be unwise.  But you can't afford to NOT take the time to read and study the information that we share with you on this site, on Facebook, and on Twitter.  We will arm you with the information and offer you the platform. It is up to you to take advantage.
We understand that we are not for every child.  For the child that is a multi-sport athlete like most of us were back in the day, Grassroots may not be the perfect fit.  For the child that just plays football for fun and does not take it very seriously, Grassroots may not be the right place.  For parents who are concerned about their kids playing with other kids that are larger than they are, we are not the league.  We understand that.......
However, if your son lives, eats, sleeps and breathes football, we are the right place.  If your son dreams about playing big time High School football and making it to college one day to play this great sport, we are the right fit.  Understand this fact.....  There are over 16,000 High School Seniors that play football in the state of Maryland and DC every single year.  They all have dreams of playing college football one day and many dream about the pros.  What they don't realize is that our region only averages 60 Division 1 Football scholarships and 40 Division 2 football scholarships every year.  That is less than 100 football scholarships per year from a pool of over 16,000.  Those numbers are real and they are bone chilling.
(The Maryland Heat won the 2016 Fall GYFL Championship)
If your child dreams about being in that 100 number during his senior year, he can't afford NOT to be a part of the Grassroots family.  There is a science to the politics of college football.  There is a science to the process that goes into securing one of those scarce scholarships and just being in the right high school is only a part of the equation.  Grassroots will lay the entire process out for every child that wants the dream and prepare a platform for the masses of dreamers to truly compete for those coveted spots.
Earning a college scholarship starts in middle school for those that truly get it, and for those that don't get it, at some point they will understand.  If your child is serious about this there is going to have to be a commitment made by your family and by your child to dedicate himself to the pursuit and it will be a year round pursuit.  We are not suggesting that kids need to have contact year round by any means.  But, the commitment to training in the winter must be made.  The commitment to competing in combines and showcase events must be made.  The commitment to playing Spring Football must be made.  Grassroots provides all of that, and now that we have launched a spectacular Fall Football League for select teams, we have the year round model that every child will need to maximize his opportunities.
If you play in our league you will train hard, you will be coached by the best, you will compete against the best talent in the DMV, you will get unprecedented exposure to the top public, private and charter high schools in the area, and most importantly, you will become a BETTER Football Player! 
Let me be very clear!!!!  Becoming a part of the Grassroots family will not guarantee you a college scholarship!!!  No Camp, no combine, no football league, and no High School can make such claims.  What we can guarantee you is that you and your son will KNOW the process from A to Z and the information and opportunities provided by Grassroots will put him in position to compete for a life changing college scholarship.
(Jalen Tabor of Florida will be a 1st Round Pick in the
2017 NFL Draft. His parents chose the Grassroots Way)
It all starts with you the parents though.  As I said, we understand that Grassroots is not for everyone.  It doesn't make us right or wrong.  You have to determine if we are right or wrong for you and your family.  If you are a parent that is not comfortable with making and investment of time and money into this journey, Grassroots is probably not for you.  This is certainly not to suggest that money is our motivation.  Nothing could be further from the truth. However, our model is quite different from the typical youth club model.  We have a very limited number of teams, which creates the fierce competition.  But, our parents must be prepared to make the commitment of travel to get to the right organization for their sons.  If you are looking for convenience and a program that is close to you, we are probably not the right fit.  Our practices may be far from you.  The games on the weekends will require you to travel and spend money on gas that you may not be prepared to spend.
(These FBU Freshman All Americans had parents who made the sacrifice, and they played on the biggest stage)

It costs us a great deal of money to rent the elite level HS facilities where we play each weekend.  The athletic trainers are very expensive.  We have to pay for the referees out of our pocket, which is normally the clubs responsibilities. As a result of all the expenses to do Grassroots the way we do it, we charge a $5.00 gate fee for a day long pass of elite football.  If you are not comfortable with that fee, we may not be the league for you.  We are confident that we are worth every penny that you will invest in your child and then some.  But, this must be something that you understand and are willing to invest in.  If you are not willing to invest the time and resources, it is not necessary for you to read any further.  But, if you are, I can assure you that it will be worth it.  Our track record speaks for itself.  CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR TRACK RECORD.
If you are ready to make the commitment, you need to be a part of this!!!!!
Here is a description of how we operate:
  • During the Fall Season we run the most elite and talent packed Football League.  The League is the Grassroots Youth Football League (GYFL) and it is second to none.
  • We produce the Grassroots Burning Sands Invitational event in October, which is the top HS Showcase event for middle school football players.  It is a showcase for the top national scouting services as well.  We use the Burning Sands for a variety of purposes, but the initial Crab Bowl selections come directly from Burning Sands performance.  The Youth Crab Bowl is developing into one of the premiere youth All Star Tournaments in the Mid Atlantic Region.
  • We recruit and evaluate talent for the GYFL/FBU All Star team that will compete in a post season National Championship Tournament for 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  We recruit in August/Sept and have evaluations in September.  Rosters are named in October.  We begin practice in mid November and the tournament begins in early December.  If we win out, the culmination is a Final Four Tournament in Naples, Florida for a select few from each age group.  In 2012, our 6th Grade Team went undefeated and won the Mid Atlantic Regional Champions.  Our 7th Grade Team won the National Championship.  Our 8th Grade Team made it to the Elite 8 before losing to Massachusetts in Ohio.  In 2013 we were the first of 64 national regions to send 2 of our 3 teams to the Final Four (6th and 8th Grade). Both teams lost in nail biters to Team Georgia. In 2014 our 7th Grade team lost in a thrilling Final Four game to Broward County.  We continued to earn respect and knock on the door, but we were not quite ready to kick it in.  In 2015, we sent another 2 of our 3 teams back to the Final Four.  Our 7th Graders lost to Broward County again, and our 8th Graders were beaten handily by Georgia.  We went back to the drawing board.  
  • In 2016, we finally kicked the door in and earned the respect of the Nation.  We sent and unprecedented 3 Teams to the Elite 8. Our 6th Graders finished 5th in the Nation.  Our 7th Graders finished 3rd in the Nation.  Our 8th Graders made an undefeated run to the National Championship and put the running clock on a great Seattle Team in the National Championship Game 41 - 6. Please enjoy the highlights before you read on.  Click Here for the FBU 8th Grade National Championship Highlights, provided by Under the Radar!

(These are the FBU 8th Grade National Champions, who followed the process we are outlining for you)

  • Once the FBU National Championship Tourney ends, it is100% Grassroots time.
  • We begin conditioning clinics and Pre-Combine training in January.  The sessions run through March. Conditioning clinics are optional, but highly beneficial in order to be prepared to excel during the combine season.
  • In March we have combine/mini-camps in for each of the regions which will have All Star Teams. Combines are are a critical part of the Grassroots formula and they are mandatory for league participation.  None of our events are done for revenue generation.  If we believe that an event is a vital component to the full development of an athlete and will help him maximize his opportunity to get exposure to the "Right HS Fit", which will increase his chances to compete for a college scholarship, we offer the event.  We put a price on it that is commensurate with the value of the event.  We don't compare prices with other companies.  Our track record is clear.  We do what we do. We know the value of the Grassroots experience and the prices reflect that.  For any parents that have a legitimate financial hardship, we offer a financial aid process similar to what the private schools offer.  Since 2010, there has never been one kid that didn't attend a Grassroots event or play in a season because his parents could not afford it.
  • After the combine season, which will end on the 4th weekend in March of 2075, we will begin All Star Team try outs in each region during April.
  • Teams will be finalized and regular season play for the 2017 Spring  season will begin the 4th week of April in 2017.  
  • There will be a 5 game regular season, a 8 Team playoff, a Championship Game, and an All Star Game for our Varsity,JV, and Frosh leagues for 2017. 
  • The Post Season Awards Ceremony, The Grassroots Game Game Changer Ceremony (The Grassy Awards) will take place in July.  Then we start the whole process all over again in the Fall.
It is critical that you Pre-Register for our database in order for us to keep you fully updated on all things GYFL.  Please click on the link below to access the GYFL 2017 Registration page and make sure to fill out all of the fields.
We will make decisions regarding combines & new teams coming into the league and other pertinent GYFL decisions based on the Pre-Registration numbers, which give us insight into the interest level in your region.
Make sure to fill out this information asap and pass the word on to other players and parents on your teams and in your league.  The more athletes we have that are registered for combine/mini-camps, the more competitive the league will be in 2017.

Click Here to Pre-Register for the Grassroots 2017 Season of Activities (Mandatory)

STEP #1:
 **************NOTE: Please select the region you are interested in playing in carefully.  Once you sign up for a region, if you wish to change teams and play for another region you will need to apply for a waiver from the current Head Coach and the GYFL to switch teams.********************************
STEP #2:
STEP #3:

Lastly, after completing your 3 steps, make go to the site and make sure to Join Us on Facebook and Follow us on Twitter for Real Time updates and announcements


The Essence of Competition

September 2016


Just thinking about how amazing competition can be.

I intended for this to be a short one, but ya'll KNOW how I am when that spirit hits my heart and gets to my fingers.  Turned this one into a Presidents Pen because I think it is one of my most important posts.

As always, if you don't have time to read it all now, you can come back to it over time. Or if you are one that doesn't like to read my long posts, that is your choice. In my opinion, you will miss a blessing, but that is on you. I am going to share for all of the parents who appreciate it and see the benefit.


Sometimes it can bring out the worst in us as men. Sometimes it can bring out the worst in parents. Sometimes it can bring out the worst in coaches.

Winners have a burning desire to win. We get obsessed with winning and we get caught into believing that "winning is not everything, it is the only thing."

A great winner once said that named Vince Lombardi. I no longet believe that statement is true. But because so many people believe it, the desire to win drives some of us to allow relationships to be destroyed.

Is winning important? Can it change people's lives and make them better? Can winning alter destinies? The answer is yes to all of those questions and there are numerous reasons why winning is important.

But the sad part is that some of is are so focused on winning, that we miss out on what is MOST important, which is becoming the absolute best that we can possibly be at whatever we are.

Since we are talking football right now I will put it in that context. But it applies to every aspect of our lives.

Becoming the best football player that a young man can become is the only goal that he has control over and should be his #1 focus.

Becoming the best football team that a program can become is the only goal that the team has control over and should be their #1 focus.

It every individual player and Coach on a team focuses on being the best they can be, that team will be the best it can be and it maximizes it's chance to become a winner.

All we can do is maximize our full possible potential. It is not possible to do any more than that. So if a group of individuals get every ounce out of their talent that is humanly possible and the coaches get every ounce of their coaching potential and they become the best they can be, but they LOSE a game, are they losers?

Of course not.... they may not have won a game, but they are winners in my book because they left everything they had on the field and there is no more they had to give.

Will they cry and be devastated if they lose?

Will they feel the pain of losing and the heartache that it brings?

Will they 2nd guess themselves and wonder if it is worth all of the effort to suffer such agony?

The answer is Yes to all of those questions and many more.

But those kids and those coaches will NOT be losers. They will be winners, because they will have learned the lessons and instilled the principles that it will take to win in the Real game of life.

If our babies can learn to leave every ounce that they have on the field and be able to accept the results either good or bad, those traits will carry over to their schoolwork in HS and college. They will carry over into their careers after college, their marriages, the raising of their children, etc.

They will win the game of life if we can get them to understand that winning is important, because it gives us the goal to shoot for. It gives us the motivation and incentive to lift weights, study the play book, train hard and practice hard. The desire to win is the fuel for greatness.

But greatness ultimately comes as a result of 2 things I my humble opinion, work ethic and competition.

You see the beauty of sport rests in the competition, not just in winning.

We always seem to forget that, and that is why in GYFL my focus is NOT on winning.

I want our kids and coaches to be GREAT. Because they want to win, the are motivated to put in the work ethic part. But without the intense competition, they are NOT forced to take the game and intensity to another level.

Their is nothing like a worthy adversary to get the real Warriors to step up. True champions don't want to just win. They want to beat the absolute best.

Their is a big difference between being a winner and being a Champion.

True champions don't just want an easy win so they can beat their chest. They are not at the scale hoping that a kid is 1 pound overweight so they can disqualify him for the game.

True champions understand the need for rules, but they are not looking to be just black and white on every rule so they can disqualify another kid from playing on a technicality. A Champion will feel like it is a hollow victory to beat that team without that kid.

True Champions don't leave organizations and start there own because their kid won't get a guaranteed starting quarterback spot, or they don't believe their team has a real chance to win a league Championship.

Not to to single anyone out because I believe all of my current coaches are Champions, but a dude like Rusty Markland comes over the bridge every Fall undermanned knowing that he is the underdog every week.

So he may not have one a Varsity GYFL Championship yet, but he and the Eagles are champions because they KEEP coming over here and giving DC & Maryland hell every week.

His Eagles are Champions because they go into Loudoun County Public Schools battle tested by the COMPETITION and they kick ass as freshman and sophomores. The college scholarship offers of the Eagle alums is staggering and they respect they have earned from the Maryland/DC side is real.

The real point of this post is about taking the focus of of ONLY winning and learning to respect and admire beauty of COMPETITION.

Part of the motivation for Kevin Plank was the desire for Under Armour to compete against Adidas and Nike.

Although it took years for UA to overtake Adidas in sales, UA was not a loser while they were climbing the hill. They were winners when they were in 3rd place and they winners now as they have moved into 2nd place among the manufactures.

That competition with Nike will continue to drive UA, but they will NOT be losers if they don't overtake them.

But let's apply that to our babies guys.

I was prompted by these thoughts when I saw a great article by Chad Ricardo on GYFL Alum Blake Corum, who had 3 D1 offers as an 8th Grader and is now up to 6 offers.

I remembered the first time I saw him play in Feb of 2015 in the DMV Pro Bowl run by the great Coach Ty Johnson of the Dunbar Poets. Blake and his players from NoVa were coached by Jwan Banks, who has a sacrificial love and dedication to kids that is refreshing.

Loved what I saw. Went to FB and both Jwan and James Corum, Blake's dad hit me back and the relationship blossomed. He came into the GYFL family and we combines the machine with his talents and work ethic and a marvelous ride began. Elite Star Performance 8am workouts got him right and we put him on the grandest of stages.

He joined the Maryland Heat with Antwain Littleton, who is nationally known as one of the top backs in the country. They became teammates, but they also became competitors!!!

I absolutely loved it. You see when you are the only guy on top and you have no competition, you can coast if you want. It is natural for us as individuals. Nobody I know enjoys 2 a days, or training camp. We did it and kids still do it because we had to and they have to.

It is understood that it is a part of the process. But when you are top dog you don't work to maximize every Rep, every spring, and every gasser.

Aw..... but when a Blake Corum realizes he is battling for carries with an Antwain Littleton, and and Antwain Littleton realizes that this kid from VA can boogie and can take some of my shine, BOTH KIDS STEP THEIR GAME UP, and true Champions emerge.

Antwain did NOT coast before Blake arrived, but we All saw him take to a level that we had not seen before.

That is what I saw happen with Blake and Antwain. Both kids are significantly better backs, than they were prior to becoming teammates, pushing each other, and COMPETING WITH EACH OTHER.

In the Fall of 2015, we found another elite back from Delaware and the stakes rose even higher. Marshawn Lloyd was on a different team, so the 3 of them didn't get to compete together as teammates, but they sure took all 3 of their games to a different stratosphere.

At the end of the season we put all 3 in the same backfield together and I can assure you that you have never seen 3 backs compete against each other in practice and for each other in games than the winter of 2015.

Was it tough on them? Was it tough on the parents? Was it tough on us?

The answer is yes to all of those questions.

That is one of the things that inspired me to write this post. I want all parents, not just theirs, to UNDERSTAND that IF YOU WANT YOUR SON TO REACH HIS MAXIMUM POTENTIAL, COMPETITION IS THE ONLY WAY TO GET IT OUT OF HIM.

If it is easy for him, he won't be as good as he can be and he minimizes his chance to ever be great.

This is just one example. I bet the future of Grassroots on the premise that Blake Corum, Marshawn Lloyd, and Antwain Littleton will be 3 of the best backs to ever come out of the DMV.

I expect them to massacre HS Football and each have over 40 offers before they select a college, if not more. If there is a record for offers for DMV kids, they will compete for that too and will decimate it.

They will go to the colleges of there choice and dominate that level as well and God Willing, they will have a chance to reach their dreams of playing on Sundays one day.

Who will ultimately be the best?

Who knows and who cares?

I just look forward to watching the 3 of them COMPETE FOR IT. It will continue to drive them in the future as it has driven them in the past.

In order to reach the "pinnacles they plan to reach," (A little Drake to lighten the mood) they will be forced to leave every ounce of sweat, grit, and determination on that field and they will be GREAT.

When and if they play against each other, one will win and one will lose. One of the 3 may win a rushing title and 2 won't. One may be First Team all American and 2 may not. One may win a Heisman Trophy and 2 may not.

Only the future will tell who will win and who will lose, but trust and believe that ALL 3 will be great and they will be CHAMPIONS!!

I love those babies and I love their parents. We have had our ups and downs!! All 3 get mad at me sometimes (LOL)!!! I get mad at them too (LOL).

But whether the 3 of you love each other or not, at the very least please appreciate what your sons have done to make each other Great!!!!

And it is NOT going to stop!! Embrace it guys and use this post to keep in perspective and share with the boys.

For our babies still in middle school, please apply this. We have some competition going on at thee QB position for example like I have ever never, ever seen in my life.

The League of Extraordinary Quarterbacks was designed to APPLY PRESSURE ON YOUR SONS.

I know it is frustrating at times the you and the them. It was designed to be that way. Pressure bursts pipes, but it also creates diamonds.

Ben Cuellar, Austin Tutas, John Griffith, Trace Campbell, and Caleb Williams, you guys are the 2016 version of the Big 3 Backs.

It is your turn to compete and become great!! We love what we see. You will all emerge and take your places. But take it all in. Become super intense. Hit your playback. Immense yourselves in the film room. Practice hard. Get your game face on. Then fall into a state of relaxation as you begin to understand that you must get through this gauntlet to get to your destined.

All a part of the process to create diamonds.....

I love you guys and I love your parents too! We have had our Good Times and Bad times, but we are all still here.

We will see you Sunday at the Burning Sands. And any other Quarterbacks that want to come for the crown. Come one and come All!!

My last thought regarding the benefit of COMPETION was initiated by an article in the USA Today about the DeMatha vs St. Johns game Friday night at Sports and Learning.

The legendary DM program, which is my Alma Mater, takes on a rising SJC program that has the whole country talking.

DM is ranked #4 in the Country and SJC is ranked #22. Being billed as the game of the decade in The DMV.

I thought about how emotional last year's game was and how ugly it got at the end. It was truly dreadful and embarrassing to both schools, the WCAC and the DMV as a whole.

I hope and pray that nothing like that ever happens again. It is a product of the belief that winning isn't everything, it is the only thing. When we believe that, the emotions from the players, the coaches, and the fans, can easily get out of control.

The losers can't accept it, and the winners can't enjoy it because they are paranoid about losing one day. We can't be that way.

The winner of this game will NOT win a Noble Prize. Cancer will NOT be cured by the winner. They will win a regular season game that will at most effective playoff seeding.

I pray that we will all try our best to keep this amazing game in perspective. It is a very important game for both teams and I get it.

But the same concept of competition that makes individual kids great in the case of the Big 3 backs, holds true for individual teams, and conferences.

The emergence of SJC, combined with the greatness of DM, along with the history of GC, and Gonzaga, mixed with the ability of McNamara, has risen the WCAC to a national respect level that we have never witnessed.

As the teams in this great conference have emerged over the last 7 years, the competition has forced our coaches to take it to a different stratosphere. Combined with individual players just getting better and better, it is mind boggling to see where we are as the region.

When the WCAC was a 2 team conference for all those years, the DM vs GC game was the only tough game on the schedule. They didn't get battle tested, and when they went out of state to play, they would come back with losses, further cementing the stereotype that the DMV was a Basketball region.

Look at us NOW. SJC soundly beating top teams from Pittsburgh and Jersey. DM crushing top teams from 757 and PA. McNamara taking out All Star Teams from VA Beach. St. Francis taking out top teams from South Carolina.

We never did that before.....


I say all of that to say this. Friday night some Warriors will clash.

The whole country will be watching because WE ARE RELEVANT NATIONALLY NOW!!!

We are relevant because we are not a 2 teams region anymore. We ALL BENEFIT FROM THE DMV RENAISANCE!!!

We are becoming an official Football Hotbed at the Youth and HS Level and with that comes a certain level of responsibility. All eyes are on us and we must conduct ourselves with class and dignity.

Because in the end there will be nothing but winners leaving that field Friday night no matter who is ahead on the scoreboard.

All the college coaches will be there.

All the reporters. All the Scouts. All the media. All the fans.

The whole DMV is coming to watch our babies put on a show. Our babies are going to college and getting degrees.


And I can promise you that ALL of the Grassroots Babies will leave every ounce of blood, sweat and tears on that field.

That is what we groomed them for folks!!! This issue what we do.

Grassroots.......... What is your profession? AAAAAOOOOOO!!!!


An Ode to a Great Coach, and even better man:

Special Shout out of Congratulations and Love to one of Grassroots own being named Head Coach of the 8th Grade FBU All American Team.  When I first wrote this article, it was back in the Fall of 2016 when he was named the Head Coach.

Mr. Terrence Byrd, Commissioner of the Westlake Bulldogs and President of the Maryland Heat.

Coach Byrd is also the 8th Grade Head Coach for Team Maryland, which plays in the FBU National Championship Tournament. He has led Westlake Teams and Maryland Heat teams to numerous Championships over the years and his record speaks for itself.This is arguably the most important and significant acknowledgement and award that has been bestowed on the DMV, because it means that the Nation Respects us NOW!!!!  There were 50 States they had to choose from to find 2 people.  They went with Maryland and Florida to head these prestigious Teams.  Not Georgia, not Texas, not Louisiana, not California, not the 757, not Pennsylvania, not Ohio, not New Jersey, not Las Vegas, not any of the football hotbeds that have been established for decades.  They chose Maryland.  They chose Terrence Byrd, and they chose him for a reason.

He led Team Maryland 7th Grade to the 2012 National Championship of Football University in San Antonio, TX. In 2013 he took the reigning Champions back to the Final Four and lost a thriller to Team Georgia, in what was arguably the best game in FBUNC history. It was an instant classic and could have gone either way.

After 2 years of shocking the USA with our performances from the tiny state of Maryland and city of DC, the DMV brand began to take on a different level of respect across the country. In 2014 his team was beaten in the Elite 8 in a very controversial game, but in 2015 he led them back to the Final Four and lost to a Georgia team that was just too deep for us in the front 7. We finished 3rd in the nation after crushing Las Vegas in the consolation game.

As of 2016 Ladies and Gentlemen, the DMV is a respected youth power across the Nation, and it is evidenced by Football University, which owned by All American Games and presents the US Army All American Game naming a coach from the tiny state of Maryland, which is a basketball hotbed, to be the Head Coach in the most prestigious 8th Grade All American Game in the Country.

We have officially arrived ladies and gentlemen, and NOBODY has had a bigger impact on this transformation than Coach Terrence Byrd.


My goal and obsession has always been to do everything in my power to have the DMV recognized as NOT JUST a basketball hotbed, but also a Football Hotbed. The truth has always been that this small region has a concentrated pool of pure talent, that per capita, is as good as ANY region in the United States of America.

Our great athletes have historically focused on Basketball and you have seen the results. As an official basketball hotbed our basketball players receive a disproportionate amount of basketball scholarship offers.

But what about our great football players?

We currently average only 60 Division 1 Football scholarships every year between the State of Maryland and DC combined. That is out of an average of 16,000 seniors that participate in HS football each year. It may seem like a lot of our kids are exchanging their God Given talent for free educations, but nothing could be farther from the truth. We average about 40 Division 2 Scholarships for a total of 100 out of 16,000 of our kids from our region having the opportunity to alter their destinies through a full athletic scholarship to college.

Are those numbers OK with you? They are not OK with me. They are not OK with Coach Byrd. So I decided to try to do something about. He joined me in the fight to make it better for ALL the kids of the DMV to get the same love from colleges that our basketball players get.

Colleges will begin to skip over the 757 to come to the DMV. They won't spend as much time in North Carolina and South Carolina, because they will need to get to the DMV. They used to believe the best football was in PA, but we are changing that. We are redefining the boundaries and taking respect away from the other "Football Hotbeds" and the FBU National Championship Tournament has been the vehicle. Coach Byrd has been the catalyst. Like him or not and like me or not, those are facts that can't be changed or denied.

As we make this transformation of the DMV into a football hotbed, it is not just Grassroots kids who benefit. It is not just Maryland Heat or Westlake kids. It is every kid that plays HS football in the region. When the college coaches come to the DMV because we have changed the perception, they are not coming to Grassroots Games first.

They will go to Hylton, Woodbridge, Eleanor Roosevelt, Potomac, Gwynn Park, DeMatha, McDonough, St johns, Carroll, Friendship, both Dunbar's, St. Frances, etc. They will flood our high schools.

They will offer OUR kids more scholarships and OUR kids lives will be changed.

That is the Dream of Grassroots DMV!!!!


Why We Haven't  Reached the Hotbed Status:

We are not suggesting that the Traditional Youth leagues like Pop Warner, AYF, AAU, and UYFL have not done a fabulous job. They have been amazing and are playing their part.

Our best teams have consistently won championships over teams from every state in the country. Clubs like Beacon House, White Oak, Watkins, Marshall Heights, Charm City, Westlake, etc, have consistently won against National Competition. Yet, after all of the wins, we have never been able to step in to Hotbed status. Why is that?

It is not because we don't have the talent, but for an ENTIRE region to move into hotbed status, teams that are comprised of kids from the ENTIRE region have to play against and beat kids from the other ENTIRE region.

Then it must be done in a forum that is tied to College Football Coaches. Those are 2 major differences between FBU and the other Governing Bodies. The traditional Governing Bodies bring individual Teams to play in their tournaments, they don't bring All Star Teams.

What I learned is that in order to take perception away from South Florida, we have to take an All Star Team from the DMV and beat an All Star team from South Florida. That is the only way that we can claim superiority. It can't be done through individual teams, no matter how good they may be. Byrd understands that reality.

Lastly, it has to be done on a stage that is followed by College Coaches, IF we want to impact scholarship offers. Traditional Governing bodies for youth football are not tied to College Programs. The are not designed to be. But FBU was designed by the makers of the US Army All American game, which is tied directly to every college coach in the country.

it is NOT better. It is not worse. It is just very different and for those of us obsessed with changing the perception of the DMV into a football hotbed, it is perfect for. Coach Byrd is just as obsessed as I am, if not more.

Most have never heard this vision before and don't understand it. This is what motivates me. This is what motivates coach Byrd and this is how we became friends. It was never about favoritism for Byrd as I am accused of offering. We didn't grow up together. I didn't meet him until 2011, after 2 years of him blowing me off (LOL). I consider myself a visionary and I respect and gravitate towards other visionaries.


Coach Byrd's Role in the Transformation:

Coach Byrd is a visionary and such a big part of this transformation folks. Gotta tell you a story real quick so please give me a minute (Well it may not be quick but it will explain a lot to all of you with questions).

It was the Fall of 2012. We had a nice run in the 2011 FBU National Championship Tournament in the first year of its creation. Our Tailback was Lo Lo Harrison (Maryland). Our QB was Ramar Williams (Naval Academy). The WR was Trevon Diggs (Alabama), The Slot was Steven Smothers (West Virginia). Our bookend tackles were Terrence Davis and Richard Merritt (Both Maryland). We had some other good pieces that first year and made a run to the Elite 8, but I had my sights set on the 2012 8th Grade Team because I knew I would have a year to recruit.

Fall of 2012 we rolled out an 8th grade team with Kasim Hill at QB (Maryland Commit), Anthony Mcfarland at TB (4 Star with 30 offers), DJ Pratt at WR (UVA Commit), DeLonte Hellams Jr. at WR (Numerous offers).

On the line we had Cam Spence and Marcus Minor (Maryland Commits), and a host of other superstars on the roster like Tyree Randolph, Darius Golston, Jonathan Donnelly, and many more. We were so deep we had a chance to get Mohamed Ibrahim and didn't think we had room in the backfield for him. That 8th grade team was all I was focused on.

We were going to use that 8th Grade team to show the world what we had to offer.

I put coaches in place for the 6th Grade and they were doing a good job, but I wasn't focused on them to be honest. I gave the 7th grade staff to a High School in exchange for use of their practice field. I got a call from that HS coach in mid October telling me that none of his coaches would be able to commit to the practices, so I was stuck with NO coaches.

I went on a FB rampage. I was calling, texting, begging any youth coach in the area to come and coach that team.

All I heard were crickets.........

I only got 1 return call.............

It was from Terrence Byrd. He asked me what this FBU thing was all about. I told him nobody knew about it yet, but I just believed that it could be big one day. I shared the dream with him. i told him there was no pressure to win, but we just needed to field a team man. The focus was on 8th grade. I was ready to beg him but I didn't need to because he can see the future just like I can.

He told me he had the best 12U team he every had led by the most dynamic player he had every coached, DeJuan Ellis. He had some some size on the line with Austin Fontaine and Devin Petrillo. He had Chaz Crawford. He had some nice pieces. To be honest I wasn't that interested because I just needed a coach to fill a team and enter the tournament. I didn't expect much from him. I told him we would do a couple of tryouts, find some additional 7th graders to add to what he had and we would be good. We found Jason Labbe, Keith Felton, Raymond Boone, Brandon Wills, and a few more nice pieces.

His dilemma was that his team was favored to win the states that year and play in M & T Bank stadium. FBU rules said we could only have 8 players from one team so he couldn't take his whole team. He saw what it could possibly be in the future and wanted to do it, but he couldn't leave his other kids behind. He told me he would speak with the parents and team.

He laid out the opportunity and the dream and they trusted him and believed in him. The ones that were good enough to make the team agreed to play, and the others were placed on Chesapeake Bowl rosters, so their season would not end. But they made the ultimate sacrifice so that their teammates and their coach would have an opportunity to lead their youth organization and their state into a new chapter.

I was shocked. I really didn't believe they would do it. BUT THEY DID!!!

When we began practicing at Riverdale Baptist, I was constantly up with the 8th grade goon squad, but it was hard to get even 15 players to practice at the same time because they were all still playing with their youth teams.

I would look down on the other side and the 7th graders were 35 deep every night. Organized, focused, determined. I thought it was cute. Byrd told me they were going to win a National Championship for the state of Maryland. I said, "That's great Byrd." Thought he had lost his damn mind.

Anyway you all remember the debut at Wilson HS in 2012. Nobody will ever forget Anthony McFarland being unleashed on the world that night. The Goon squad 8th grade team was on display. The 7th graders quietly went about dismantling their opponents over the course of the weekend. Both teams made it to the Elite 8 in Ohio with plans on advancing to the Final Four. In the Elite 8 game when Massachusetts 8th grade coaches saw the size of our 8th grade team, they were complaining and crying foul in the press box. "NO WAY THOSE KIDS CAN BE 8TH GRADERS!!!!"

Nobody asked about our 7th graders as they tore up the Midwest competition on their way to a Final Four and legendary status. The problem with the 8th graders was that I had an All Star HS coaching staff full of coaches who could not stand each other and there was no continuity. We also could barely practice together and we got beaten by the much smaller Massachusetts team. We were devastated at the loss. Many of us still can't believe that team lost.

All we had was Byrd at that point, with the superstar QB and a band of brothers. They advanced to the Final Four and demolished South Florida in the semis. The country was stunned. But, of course they would get crushed in the Alamodome by the might NE Louisiana kids. We know how much better the kids in the South are than our kids.........

Until they weren't.

Byrd and the boys brought home the trophy and the rings and everything changed from that point forward.

Kids from Delaware wanted to play for Westlake. Kids from Montgomery County. Kids from Stafford VA. I have never seen anything like it in my life.


Internal GYFL Opposition:

Every year it gets bigger and more powerful. I tried to rotate my other programs through the FBU Team Maryland Head positions, which was really unfair to Terrence. But I was thinking about the parity of the league and wanting everyone to have the same FBU advantage whether they deserved it or not. The crazy part is that most of them STILL didn't want it back in 2014, when it was offered.

They didn't support the vision or the model..................

Would not support the Burning Sands.....................

Would not support the FBU Tryouts or even the GYFL combines...........

They would use Grassroots to recruit kids, but would not support any of the programs that we used to build it.

So I decided to stick with the man that made it happen for us in the first place.

There is NO favoritism here and NEVER has been. Just a man with a vision and a goal, who found another man that believes and supports that vision 100%.

And any man or woman that supports our vision 100% will get the same treatment, which has been earned through works.

I don't send players to the Heat. I have to keep some players from going to the Heat to maintain competitive balance. I have kept players from going to the Heat on more than one occasion.


Goal of Inclusion for the Future:

I hope and pray that All of my current coaches, and coaches that are out there that may be interested in being a part of our family will take this story to heart. We need you guys to join us if we are going to change this perception and cement it.

7 years after starting Grassroots, our region is finally getting the respect we deserve and Colleges are watching. Remember when we used to be good around here, but all of our HS would lose to teams when the played out of state? I do.

Not anymore!!!! I think the coaching and competition from Grassroots and FBU has made our middle school BETTER football players and when they get to these elite HS they are ready to play NOW.

So the days of DeMatha losing to Cincinnati Moeller and St. Xavier are over. Now they go and kick Oscar Smiths ass from the 757, and then give it to Bishop McDevitt from Central PA. That adds to the perception change.

St. Johns goes up to Central Catholic and beats the breaks off of Pittsburgh's top team, then gives it to St. Joe's Regional, the top team from Jersey.

St. Frances takes a tough loss from Paramus, but then smashes the top team from South Carolina.

McNamara takes out Bishop Sullivan...... The list goes on and on. Look at how many Grassroots and FBU kids are on ALL of those rosters.

At the College Level look at the recruiting class that the Terps are putting together and watch how they are playing on the field. They will be 4-0 after beating Purdue and walking into the month of October undefeated.

They will be 4-0 after beating Purdue and walking into the month of October undefeated.

Change is not coming DMV, it is HERE!!!


In Conclusion:

Trust and believe that NOBODY has had more of an impact on these changes than Mr. Terrence Byrd. So congratulations my friend. You and I have taken a LOT of hits over the years for doing nothing more than Gods will for our lives and blessing some kids.

Oh and by the way......... How did Byrd do in the 2016 National Championship Tournament and the FBU 8th Grade All American game you ask?

Well let me tell you!!!!  Went 6 - 0 in the Tournament and brought how the first ever 8th Grade FBU National Championship Trophy with a 41 to 14 win over a loaded Seattle Team in Naples Florida.  If a picture is worth a thousand words, than video must be worth a million.  Click on this link to see the amazing highlight of the Game that put the DMV on the National Map.

Then he came back and coached his 8th Grade All American Team to a 28 to 12 victory over the Southern All Americans. Two of his own players took home offensive and defensive MVP Trophies, although they played on Separate teams.  LB Greg Penn of Baltimore brought home the Defensive MVP, and WR Zion Larkins brought home the offensive MVP honors for the 2017 Game.  Once again, that video is so mean so click here to view it.  Both kids are might Maryland Heat and GYFL Game Changers.

He coached up the FBU National 8th Grade Player of the Year Antwain Littleton, Jr.  Antwain was presented with the Trophy at the Prestigious US Army All American Game on NBC in January in the sold out Alamodome.  You see the photo in the link above, but if you have any doubt about the young man's skills and the National Championship Highlight was not enough for you, check out the Baby Bus on Under the Radars video package for the proof that you need.

Hell while we are checking out video, enjoy 8 of our GYFL Alums playing in the 9th Grade FBU All American Game, with two of them being coached by Byrd while in middle school.  Click this link to enjoy that footage and to see how we do it at Grassroots.  Coach Byrd has successfully helped me feed my obsession and I am so excited about the other top coaches from the area that have chosen to join us this Spring to replicate his mastery.

If this is NOT vindication, I don't know what it. This means that the USA is watching and respecting what we are doing.  God Bless you and thank you for being my friend and believe in my crazy vision!!!   I pray that more coaches will join us in the labor of love.

Salute Mr. Terrence Byrd. This is YOUR DAY!!!!  Maybe even the haters will show a little respect on this special day!  But my biggest question is, what coaches are willing to see this vision and  join us.  There is room for everyone.  Come one come all and if you want to be a part of this movement, join us at the Burning Sands, and bring all of your kids.  Nobody can take them from you if you are with them.

Oh and by the way, I do believe we have successfully reach the Hotbed status that I have always been obsessed about. Now we have to continue to earn it because the target is officially on our backs now.

Congrats Bro!  We did it.




Coach Mike


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