Mike Anderson

Mike Anderson


Tailgating is NOT allowed by the facilities that we rent.  There can be NO grills, either gas or charcoal in the parking lot.  We will have concessions available and they will be fabulous.

We have gotten a few responses from people with dietary issues that can't eat regular food and we have granted permission to a couple of people on individual cases.  If you have not been granted specific permission by me, please do not attempt to bring coolers into the stadium.  The only exceptions will be coolers used for teams.

The following guidelines will be in place at all GYFL sanctioned games:

  • There will be a $5.00 per person entrance fee; however children 5 years of age and under will be admitted free of charge.
  • Wristbands or stamps will be issued during games, which will allow everyone to regain entry back into the games, should you need to depart the game for any reason.
  • Different colored wristbands will allow different levels of access.  Field access is one color.  Stadium access will be another color.  You will not be allowed on the field or track without the appropriate color wristband.
  • No outside food of any kind will be permitted inside of the GYFL games, unless otherwise instructed.  Check website regularly.
  • NO SUNFLOWER SEEDS are allowed on any field turf stadiums.
  • Coolers will not be permitted into GYFL games under any circumstances unless you have received prior authorization from GYFL Management Staff. **Exceptions to this guideline will be made in regards to infant formula, emergency kits, etc. – again prior authorization should be obtained before entry into the games will be given**
  • All bags are subject to be searched by security prior to entry and security will be located at each gate.
  • No smoking is allowed on High School Facility parking lots or common areas.
  • No weapons of any kind are permitted.
  • High School grounds are not to be used as public restrooms!!!  Patrons must use bathrooms or Porta Johns.
  • Schedule is Subject to Change by GYFL.


2016 GYFL Member Organizations

TSA Blitz Select
Metro Va Raiders
DMV Academy
Maryland Heat




Week 1 Saturday September 3rd @ St. Stephens/St. Agnes HS
1000 St. Stephens Road, Alexandria, VA 22304
Concessions will NOT be provided

Metro Va Raiders

   7   TSA Blitz Select   12
DMV Academy & Maryland Heat   vs   Both have byes



Week 2 Saturday September 10th @ St. Johns College HS
2607 Military Rd, NW Washington, DC 20015
Concessions will be provided

DMV Academy

  6   Metro Va Raiders   20
Maryland Heat  45   TSA Blitz Select



Week 3 Saturday September 17th @ Dunbar of Baltimore HS
1100 E. Monument St. Baltimore, MD 21202 (Corner of E. Monument and Ensor)
Concessions will be provided

DMV Academy

  7   TSA Blitz Select   26
Metro Va Raiders   0   Maryland Heat



 Week 4 Saturday September 24th @ Riverdale Baptist HS (Turf)
1133 Largo Road Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Concessions will be provided

DMV Academy

  6   Maryland Heat   25

Metro VA Raiders & TSA Blitz

     Both have Byes  

Week 5 Sunday October 2nd @ 
St. Johns College HS
2607 Military Rd, NW Washington, DC 20015
Concessions will be provided


6th Grade Burning Sands

  Registration 8:00am      Event 9:00am - 11:00am

Week 6 Saturday October 8th @ Bishop McNamara HS
6800 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD 20747.
Concessions will be provided 

DMV Academy

0   Metro Va Raiders   12

Maryland Heat

33   TSA Blitz Select   0



Week 7 Saturday October 15th @ 
Riverdale Baptist HS (Grass)
1133 Largo Road Upper Marlboro, MD 20774
Concessions will NOT be provided

Maryland Heat 

 28   Metro Va Raiders  0
TSA Blitz Select  27   DMV Academy



Week 8 Saturday October 22nd @ Bishop McNamara HS
6800 Marlboro Pike, Forestville, MD 20747.
Concessions will be provided 

DMV Academy

  vs   Maryland Heat   BYE
Metro Va Raiders  6   TSA Blitz Select



Week 9 Playoffs Saturday October 29th @ Dunbar of Baltimore HS
1100 E. Monument St. Baltimore, MD 21202 (Corner of E. Monument and Ensor)

#1 Maryland Heat 

  34  #4 DMV Academy  0 

#2 TSA Blitz Select

 27 #3 Metro VA Raiders 6

Week 10 Frosh Championship Game Sunday November 6th @ St. Johns College HS
2607 Military Rd, NW Washington, DC 20015
Concessions will be provided

#1 Maryland Heat 

 vs  #2 TSA Blitz Select  10:30am




2016 GYFL Final Regular Season Varsity Standings 

Note: Both the Maryland Heat and DMV Steelers ended the season undefeated with 4 - 0 records.  Maryland Heat got the #1 Seed in the playoffs do to a point differential over the only common opponent that they had.  Both teams played and defeated the MV Elite.  The Heat defeated MV 39 - 6 for a +33 point differential. The Steelers defeated MV 26 to 6 for a +20 point differential.  Thus, the Heat earned the #1 seed in the playoffs.







Point Diff

Maryland Heat   






DMV Steelers






AA Elite






MoCo Bearcats






LoCo Eagles 






MV Elite






Baltimore Metro






PWC Raiders    






South West
South Jersey   









2016 GYFL Final Regular Season Junior Varsity Standings











Point Diff

DC Warriors







Prince William Raiders







Loudoun County Eagles







DMV Steelers







HC Stars







Maryland Heat













2016 GYFL Final Regular Season Frosh Standings











Point Diff

Prince William Raiders







DC Warriors







Maryland Heat







DMV Steelers







Loudoun County Eagles      






Central PA Pride







South Jersey Elite









Grassroots Nation!!!!

Allow me to introduce you to the Youth Impact Program.  This is truly an amazing opportunity being offered by former NFL Player Riki Ellison.  YIP partners with colleges and universities across the country to provide opportunities for inner city youth to have an amazing educational mentoring opportunity, combined with football as a hook to get them involved and engaged.  The goal is to CHANGE LIVES!!!

Check out the link below to get the basic information about the program, but this is awesome for us.  In essence we have the opportunity to provide 100 underprivileged 7th and 8th graders in the DC/Baltimore Metro region an awesome opportunity to change their lives.  The YIP and the University of Maryland have joined forces in this outstanding endeavor and are giving Grassroots the exclusive opportunity to market and promote it.  We consider this a true blessing and don't take it lightly.

The Youth Impact Program is looking for 100 who can benefit from this.  

  • Keion Carpenter of the Parkside Shutdown Academy has agreed to take the lead in securing prospects from the Baltimore Region, with assistance from Tyrone Johnson of the NW Bulldogs.  
  • Rodney Cephas of the Beacon House Falcons has agreed to take the lead in securing prospects from the DC Region, along with Dante Settles of the Lamond Riggs Steelers.
  • Grassroots will be taking applications from all over the DMV region (See below).

We want to offer this opportunity to as many interested kids and parents as possible, then filter down to the 100 that can most benefit.  At the bottom of this email is a link to an application page.  All interested parties MUST apply.

*****NOTE*****  It will be imperative that the students be picked up at one central location at 7:30am to be transported by bus to the University of Maryland.  If the students do NOT have the ability to make to the central location each day, PLEASE DO NOT APPLY.  That location will be determined and communicated soon.

The Program lasts for 2 weeks (Mon – Friday)


·         Date:  Week #1 July 11 -15
         Week #2 July 18 -22
Location:  Gossett Team House
               379 Field House Drive
               College Park, MD 20742
Grades: 7th & 8th
Total Kids: 100 

·         Morning Sessions: Stem Education

·         Early Afternoon Sessions: Life Skills

·         Late Afternoon Sessions:  Football Skills and Drills

·         Cost:  Free of Charge

·         Perks: Under Armour Gear (laundered each night for workouts)

There will be one bus that will pick up the 50 kids from Baltimore at the most convenient YMCA.  The other 50 will be picked up from the DC Metro Area at the most convenient YMCA.

It is imperative that the kids be picked up at the YMCA in the morning and taken to Maryland all together and be dropped off at the YMCA.  Pick up time is 7:30am.  The entire schedule will be updated shortly, but they can expect to be at Maryland throughout the entire day.  The YMCA is the preferred drop off location in the event that the parents are not there to pick the students up at the end of the day.  YMCA is a safe haven until they can get a ride home.

We are looking to contract with the teachers, who will be paid.  So if you are a teacher who is free in the summer and are interested in this opportunity, please contact Mike Anderson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  MD Current Football Players will act as mentors during early afternoon sessions and coaches during workouts.

Please review the website below for any additional questions or details about the program in general.

To sign up to be considered for one of the 100 spots, Please use the link below asap.

Coach Mike


174 Hits on 5/24/2016

How do I maximize my exposure to Top High School Coaches and Scouting Services?

How do I maximize my exposure to Major Division 1 Colleges while still in middle school?

How do I maximize my chance to make one of the Grassroots Post Season All Star Teams?

The answer is the Grassroots Hot Gates Showcase.  It doesn’t get any better than this for youth football players!!!!! 

If you already KNOW about the benefits of the Hot Gates are are ready to sign up, there is a 2 step process:

  1. Fill out the detailed Pre-Registration Form so that we can communicate effectively with you regarding the process.
  2. Online registration is no longer available.  Walk up registration will be available from 8am to 9am until we fill to capacity.  Price is $40.00 Walkup.






We need All Competitors to wear their Youth Club Jersey for Identification, or any jersey that will allow you to be identified. Game Changers can wear their UA Game Changer shirt with name.


If you need more information about what the Hot Gates is, please continue to read.

The Hot Gates is High School Showcase Event for middle school prospects. The event is for rising 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 9th Graders.  Classes of 2020 - 2024.

Our Spring and Fall League participants have the benefit of auditioning for us, the top HS Coaches in the DMV, the top Scouting Services in the country, and the College Football Programs that recruit this area every weekend during Grassroots games.  

In an effort to give a fair shot to those kids who are playing in other leagues, the Hot Gates was created.  Hot Gates I was held at St. Johns High School last Summer and it was free.  It was an amazing day for exposure.

The problem was that we had way too many athletes to truly evaluate the way we wanted to.  There were about 400 kids there.  We decided to charge this year to reduce the number of participants to the ones that are serious.  The fee is still nominal at $35 because we want to encourage participation and we MUST cut off the registration at 300.

We will still continue to improve and expand our Burning Sands Showcase the first Sunday of October every year, but we realized that we needed to create a Pre-Fall Season/Summer event to maximize opportunities for us to scout and for young talented athletes to be scouted.

This Hot Gates event is a Shorts & T-Shirts version of the Burning Sands.  We want you to come with your Youth Club Organization Jerseys for easy identification.

Folks were always curious about how we name our events.  The Burning Sands is named after a grueling initiation process that fraternities put their pledges through. Before they can be admitted into the Brotherhood for life they must not only complete the initiation steps, but they must symbolically cross over the Burning Sands to make it into the fraternity.  This is very symbolic for us at Grassroots. There is a reason why our teams are always so good and the Burning Sands is a critical component of the process.  It plays a major role in our track record for our alums getting to the top High Schools and Colleges, which is just staggering for a youth league.  CLICK HERE to see for yourself.

The Hot Gates was named after the Battle of Thermopylae and taken from the movie 300, which is one of my favorites.  The 300 Spartans were outnumbered by the 10,000 Persians and to battle them on the open land would have been suicide.  King Leonidas positioned the Spartans the Coastal pass of Thermopylae (aka the “Hot Gates,” so known because of the nearby sulfur springs), expecting that the narrow pass would funnel the Persian Army toward his own force in a narrow passageway that would mitigate the advantage that the Persians had.   With that being said, in order to get the most out of the Grassroots Experience, athletes must be willing to enter the Hot Gates and fight for their spots the same way the Spartans fought for their lives.  

All of the top public and private school coaches in the DMV will be on hand at this event and they will be looking for the next crop of talent to fit their program needs.  The question is, will yours be there to get noticed? Or will you be disappointed at the end of the season when the Grassroots Goons are going to the top public, private, and charter schools with the red carpet treatment?

In addition to exposure to the top HS coaches in the DMV, this is additional look for our FBU National Championship Teams.  We have 2 Teams now. This is NOT an official FBU Tryout, but we are always scouting for talent for our MD State Teams.  This is a prelude to the 2nd set of FBU National Championship Team tryouts coming in August for Team Maryland and Team Metro Maryland.

If you have learned enough about the benefits of the Hot Gates are are ready to sign up, you can expedite the 2 step process:

  1. Fill out the detailed Pre-Registration Form so that we can communicate effectively with you regarding the process.
  2. Online registration is no longer available.  Walk up registration will be available from 8am to 9am until we fill to capacity.  Price is $40.00 Walkup.

If you still need more reasons to commit, please continue to read.

This is also the first official tryout Youth Crab Bowl and Youth Capitol Bowl that will be truly spectacular this winter. From a scouting and exposure standpoint, the Hot Gates will be unmatched.  For those of you not familiar yet with FBU yet, or the Youth Crab Bowl and Youth Capitol Bowl, you will learn all about it at them and their benefits.  You will put yourself in position to be on the FBU, Crab Bowl, and Capitol Bowl radar screens as one of the top middle school athletes in the DMV.

The top nationwide HS scouting services like Rivals & SEN will be on hand to capture all the action, rank the athletes, and provide unprecedented national exposure.  In addition to their scouting prowess, the actual media production that SEN Television will put on will be spectacular.

The best news is that NOT ONLY will the event be held on at the University of Maryland on the same practice fields that the Terps use every day, EACH and EVERY Drill of the camp will be run by University of Maryland Coaches!!!!

Yes it is true....  Offensive Coordinator and QB Coach Walt Bell will work exclusively with the middle school QB's.  Associate Head Coach and DL Coach Mike London will work with the DL.  DB Coach Azzar Abdul Rahim will work exclusively with the Defensive Backs.

So as a middle school student athlete, you have the opportunity to audition in front of a Big Ten coaching staff.  This is unprecedented and unheard of.  Only Grassroots has this type of access.  The good  news is that that Camp is open to Every athlete from every league, in every region that can get to the event.

There is absolutely no excuse NOT to attend.  The only issue is that the space will be limited.  We can not handle a showcase event with 500 kids and we are not interested in mass producing football. We are cutting off online registration at 300 and we are not taking walk ups, so the first 300 that fill out this registration page in detail will get the opportunity of a lifetime.  If you are ready to sign up, here is the 2 step process.  

  1. You need to fill out the Pre-Registration Page for the complete Database that the Maryland Coaches and the scouting services need.
  2. Online registration is no longer available.  Walk up registration will be available from 8am to 9am until we fill to capacity.  Price is $40.00 Walkup.

We will use the database from the Pre-Registration page to communicate with you on the important details, so this part is a must.  CLICK HERE FOR THE PRE-REGISTRATION PAGE.


Here are the Event Highlights:

·        - Invitations for free admission to the Burning Sands for Crab Bowl and FBU Selections will be awarded.

·    ·  -Evaluations by SEN TELEVISION, Rivals.com, and ALL TOP AREA High School Coaches.

·        -First look for Grassroots Game Changer Evaluations for 2017 (Click Here to learn about the Game Changer Program which is under development as we speak).

That is all that I have to share with you coaches, parents and athletes.  If this is not more than enough to get you to want to attend the best youth football event of the year, than we are probably not a good fit for you and we wish you the best on your youth football career.

We realize that we are not for everybody.  The rest are details for you to know and share.

Grassroots Hot Gates Middle School Showcase:

Where: University of Maryland Gossett Field House
              379 Field House Drive
              College Park, MD 20742

Registration: www.TheGYFL.com
Cost: $35.00 online; $40.00 Same Day Walk up registration.
When: Monday June 20th, 2016
Time: All Grades register @ 8am; Compete from 9am to 12pm
Details: NO PADS; Bring Water
              Shorts, cleats, T-Shirts; Youth Club Game Jersey

Schedule of Events:

  • Registration
  • Intro by President Mike Anderson
  • Introduction of University of Maryland Coaching Staff
  • Release to field for Dynamic Warm up
  • Break down into individual position groups for Position Skills and Drills
  • One on One sessions (WR vs DB's, RB vs LB's, TE vs Safeties, OL vs DL
  • 7 on 7 Session for skill players
  • Closing Instructions

To truly understand the value of this event and how it can change lives, just take a look at the article from the Baltimore Sun on three of our alums who are currently juniors in High School.  It breaks down how an important element of college recruiting works by the Mid Atlantic Regional Director of Scouting for Rivals.com. CLICK HERE to see the Baltimore Sun article, and learn about the Grassroots track record of College Scholarship offers and signings.

See you at the Gates on Sunday 19th!!!

By the way, Grassroots............. What is your profession?.............. Ah UH!!!!!!!!




Coach Mike


467 Hits on 5/24/2016
1008 Hits on 6/10/2016

Well Grassroots Nation!!!

The blessings just keep coming for Grassroots.  Former NFL Star Brent Williams has turned his vision into reality and created a company called the NextGen All American Camp.

We sat back and watched to see if it would be the real deal. All you have to do is google Brent to know that he had the credibility to do some next level stuff. But, credibility and the ability to turn a dream into reality are two different things.

Many of us have visions and dreams, but very few are willing to take the risks and make the sacrifices necessary to fight through the hard times, the naysayers, the critics, and all the obstacles to persevere and get it done,

It is very easy to promote on FB and claim to be special, but it is quite different to truly make a commitment to excellence and stand the test of time, So we have been watching, just as we watch every company that comes into the market place to see whether they are who they truly claim to be.

Well, it is official. Brent Williams and NextGen are the real deal and we were honored and humbled to be asked to commit to a strategic relationship with NextGen, as well as to be on the selection committee to recommend elite student athletes to The SHOW!!!!!

Now before tonight Grassroots, many of you may not have heard of the Show, but you are about to learn all about it. Keep reading and you won't be disappointed.

We are fortunate to be asked by a many companies to endorse and support many events, and quite frankly, we just have to be very selective about who we support. Our name and our brand is on the line and we just can't support every event that asks us to. It took us 7 years to build this brand. One wrong decision and partnership can damage it.

We must vet, we must vet, and vet again, because we can't afford to be wrong or attach our brand to companies that don't believe in our values and are not willing to make the commitment that we make. When we decide to put the Grassroots name behind a brand, we need for our athletes and alums to KNOW that it is trusted and proven.

When Brent Williams personally called me back in February, he was not aware that Eric Levenberry of the Pwc Raiders had already told me all about NextGen when they first hit the market place a couple of years ago.

We knew about them and were watching and vetting. We just were not ready to commit yet. They had to prove themselves, just like we had to prove ourselves. It takes time to become a proven and trusted brand. You can't will it into existence. You can't talk about how great you are before you have done anything. You have to earn it over time.

Brent and I spoke for the first time in February and he told me that he respected the Grassroots Brand so much that he WOULD NOT BRING the NextGen camp to the DMV if he couldn't do it in partnership with the GYFL.

I was floored. I was humbled. I was honored. The man played 11 years in the NFL and KNOWS what the heck he is doing. Well this is the official announcement that Grassroots Accepts the invitation to be a strategic partners with the NextGen All American Camp, as well as a member of the exclusive selection committee for The Show.

You will see on the details on the site over the next week or so regarding the partnership.

In the meantime, Click HERE to read the detailed story below about "The Show" written by Youth1,, which will in essence be the Youth Version of the Nike Opening event, which will be held at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and you can best believe we will be recommending the best of the best Grassroots kids for the event.

Ladies and Gentlemen, may I introduce the Grassroots Nation to Mr. Brent Williams of the NextGen All American Camp. please visit www.nextgenallamericancamp.com to learn more and feel free to Google Mr. Brent Williams, the Founder and CEO.

Welcome him and his company to the Grassroots Family.

2016 GYFL Member Organizations

Parkside Shutdown Warriors (Varsity)                                 KLM Steelers Select (Varsity/Exhibitions)
Northern Va War Eagles (Varsity)                                        TSA Blitz Select (Frosh)
MoCo Bearcats (JV)                                                             Metro Va Raiders (Frosh)
DMV Academy (Frosh, JV & Varsity)                                 Central PA Pride (JV)                        
Friendship Collegiate Knights (JV)                                      Maryland Heat (Frosh, JV, & Varsity)
Bowie Elite (Varsity)                                                            EYT Spartans (JV)


Click Here to Pay Fall GYFL Team  Registration Fees

Click Here to Pay Fall Sports Brain Baseline Concussion Testing Fees

Click Here to view the Frosh Schedule/Standings 

Click Here to view the JV Schedule/Standings

Click Here to view the Varsity Schedule/Standings

Click Here for access to the SEN/Hudl package that will allow you to see EVERY Grassroots Game in the Fall!!! 

  • In my opinion there is NOTHING more important than each and every member of the GYFL having a Hudl account so that you can easily put together TOP NOTCH Highlight clips to send to HS coaches, Scouting Services, All American Game nominations, and College Coaches.  The best $50 you will EVER spend.  SEN is offering a package where if you subscribe to a monthly pass for 1 year, you will get the HUDL account for Free!.  Click for details on the SEN Site. The SEN Coverage this Fall will be so premiere that you will seriously want to consider getting a monthly subscription.

In the Fall of 2016, we launch the The Fall Grassroots Youth Football League. This will be our 4th year playing Fall Football.  It was never in our initial plans to have a Fall Season.  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.   

Our Spring initiative was designed 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 have had amazing success with the kids and parents that have found there way to us and we consider that a blessing. One of the main reasons we decided to step into the Fall is because we must share these blessings with more kids every year and our solid youth football partners that we are launching with have almost mandated that we go into the Fall.  We have spoiled them in the spring with the Grassroots Style of Football such as:

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

After experiencing the level of professionalism and excellence in the Spring, quite honestly it was becoming increasingly difficult for many of our partners to go back to some of their traditional Fall Leagues and they began putting pressure on us to move into the Fall and provide the same types of amenities that they had gotten accustomed to in the Spring.  We launched in 2013 and had an amazing first year.  

After a successful year two, we expanded with other programs that fit our profile.  We will continue to expand as needed.  So youth clubs out there, we are not in competition with you.  We serve a niche population of student athletes.  We would love to join forces in the future.  Contact us if you are interested in joining us in the future at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  

For now, we are excited about what we are about to do in year 4.  There has never been a league quite like this in the history of the DMV.  We are not better or worse than any league.  We are different and serve a different profile of player.  This league is going to bring out the truly elite athletes that dream about being US Army All Americans and Under Armour All Americans one day.  Those kids that think they have what it takes to Be a 7th or 8th Grade FBU All American, or kids that want to play for an FBU National Championship.

We will only touch a small percentage of the elite talent in the region and will not impact the majority of football leagues that cater to the masses of football players.  We will only have 3 divisions (Frosh, JV, Varsity), with a max of 8 clubs in each division.  We will not have any more than 30 players per team, which means that with 8 clubs the maximum number of kids we will have in any division will be 240.  

If you are a parent or athlete and are interested in learning more about the GYFL Fall League, the first thing you need to do is PRE-REGISTER by CLICKING HERE NOW.

Here are the League Highlights:

  • Top Notch Coverage of ALL Games by the one and only SEN Television
    • Statistics and highlights on SEN Television
    • Weekly interviews and profiles of top athletes on SEN website
    • Player Profiles and Composite Rankings on SEN website
    • Game Day Pre-Game and Post Game Desk Shows by SEN Staff
    • Sideline reporting by SEN Staff
    • SEN Games of the Week
    • Live Internet streams of the Game of the Week
  • Exclusive Hudl account access through SEN for all teams
  • Significant Discounts on Team Cleats and Gear for Grassroots Coaches and Programs
  • Live Game Announcing by Chad Ricardo of the Fox 1340am & Broadcast Team
  • All Games on Turf Fields at Elite HS Facilities & College Campuses
  • JV and Varsity Games played back to back on same field every week, with marquee games under the lights so the High School Coaches can scout with no conflicts
  • Official Scoreboard and Game Clock for Every Game
  • HS Federation Rules
  • Top Notch Regional Competition
  • Exposure to Top Area High Schools and National Recruitment Services (Rivals, SEN, ESPN150, 24/7 Sports, NextGen, Youth1, FBU, VTO Sports, MaxPreps, Scout, Maryland Varsity.com, TerrapinTimes.com, etc.)
  • Only officially scouted league for Youth Crab Bowl, Youth Capitol Bowl, and FBU State All Star Teams for MD and Northern VA.
    • Grassroots Coaches get first priority on all All Star Game coaching slots.
    • Grassroots Coaches get exclusive access to U of Maryland Coaches Clinics
  • Prelude to the FBU Youth All American Games, US Army All American Game, Under Armour All American Game, Crab Bowl, and Capitol Bowl.
  • Post Season Awards Banquet at the University of Maryland

Premiere Programs for 2016

  • Parkside Shutdown Warriors (Baltimore City, MD)
  • TSA Blitz Select (Baltimore City, MD)
  • EYT Spartans (Baltimore County)
  • Maryland Heat (Charles County, MD/DMV)
  • Friendship Collegiate Academy (District of Columbia)
  • Northern Va War Eagles (Loudoun County, VA)
  • Metro Va All Stars (Prince William County, VA)
  • KLM Steelers Select (South PG County, MD)
  • Central PA Pride (Harrisburg, PA)
  • MoCo Bearcats (Montgomery, Frederick, & Howard County, MD)
  • DMV Academy (District of Columbia/DMV)
  • Bowie Elite (North PG County, & Anne Arundel County, MD)

League Structure:

  • Frosh League: Primarily 6th Graders & Elite 5th Graders (May not turn 13 before August 1st)
  • JV League: Primarily 7th Graders & Elite 6th Graders (May not turn 14 before August 1st)
  • Varsity League: 8th Graders & Elite 7th Graders (May not turn 15 before August 1st)

Well, that is enough for now.  I have laid it out and explained it the best way I know how.  I am always accused of being long winded.  I just love these kids so much and I want you parents to be informed about the "Matrix" that is big time football.  

There is so much that you don't know and my job is to share the information with you.  It is up to you to make the decision on what you want for your son's.  You will never be able to say that Coach Mike didn't try to tell you though.  The ball is in your court now.   We have no regional boundaries.

There are still roster spots available.  If  you are interested in joining the most elite league in the DMV you must do two things:

  1. Fill out the MANDATORY Pre-Registration List by CLICKING HERE
  2. Reach out to the regional Contact below that you are interested in (Listed Below):



Baltimore Metropolitan & Surrounding Areas

Parkside Shutdown Warriors
Contact: Terrence Dante Wheeler
Cell: 410-262-4057
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

EYT Spartans
Contact: Daniel Harper
Cell: 443-474-0769
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Central PA & Surrounding Areas

Central PA 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

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.

Friendship Collegiate Academy Knights
Contact: Trae Brown
Cell: 202-213-6014
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Loudoun County & Surrounding Areas

Northern VA 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 MD & Surrounding Areas

Bowie Elite
Contact: Mark McCain
Cell: 240-429-0909
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



5419 Reads at 8/20


2016 FBU Team Maryland National Championship Tournament Team Tryout #1


  • Event is for 6th, 7th, and 8th Graders.  
  • This is the first official tryout for Team Maryland, the home of the 2012 7th Grade National Champions, and Team Metro Maryland, the 2nd Regional Franchise that we have been awarded for the 2016 Season.  Coaches and Scouts from Team Northern VA will also be on hand, so in essence we have 3 teams from the DMV that will compete in this prestigious tournament.  This means there are more than enough opportunities for kids with the talent to play in this tournament.
    • During Tournament time, we will all compete against one another, but prior to that we will compete with one another to find the best of the best and place them on the teams that are the best fit for them.
  • Participants from the entire DMV are welcome! (Maryland, DC, Northern Va, and Delaware are all welcome)
  • 5th Graders are allowed to try out for the 6th grade team. 
  • Date will be Sunday June 5th.  Location is The Potomac School
    • 1301 Potomac School Road, McLean Va 22101
  • Cost at event check in is only $10.00.  
  • For more information about FBU, go to the site directly at http://www.footballuniversity.org/ 

History of Team Maryland in the FBU National Championship Tournament

In order to gain respect nationally and turn the DMV into a Nationally respected Football HOTBED, we must take State All Star Teams and play against State All Star Teams from North Carolina, from Georgia, form Florida, from Louisiana, from Texas, etc.  

We must have a platform to compete against those teams and WE MUST WIN!  The platform must be a respected platform and when we participate in that platform, play against those state All Star Teams with the best that the DMV has to offer, we will begin to CHANGE EVERYTHING!!!

We have already started the process. As we change perception the colleges will Notice and MORE scholarship offers will come to the DMV when we become that Nationally respected Football Hotbed.

Football University is the ONLY National Platform that provides an opportunity for us to change our perception. They own the US Army All American Game which has the top 4 and 5 Star HS athletes each year that have committed to the top Colleges.  College Programs follow the US Army Game and they Follow FBU because both properties are owned by the same parent company, All American Games (AAG).  

AAG created FBU to find the next group of elite middle school athletes that will one day have a chance to play in the US Army Game.  The connection between FBU and Major Colleges is purely undeniable.  FBU is critical to our overall objective, which is to maximize our athletes chances to compete for a college scholarship.  If you are not interested in playing college football, this is probably NOT the tournament for you and there are other opportunities that we can refer you to.

FBU's 64 State Team National Championship Tournament at the 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade division is like the Little League World Series of youth football.  NOTHING CAN COMPARE to it.  Our 7th Graders followed my lead and obliterated Central Virginia, Eastern Carolina, Chicago, Massachusetts, South Florida, and NE Louisiana on the way to the 7th Grade National Championship in 2012.  It was not about winning a ring.  It was about revolutionizing a State guys and earning National Respect, which in turn will increase scholarship offers for this region.

This year we have two teams, Team Maryland and Team Metro Maryland.  We are not only looking for players, but we are looking for coaches for both teams.  we also work hand and hand with, and support Team Northern VA.  If any of the 3 of us win, the DMV wins.

That is how serious this is for us at Grassroots.  If we are going to be successful in changing the entire paradigm and perception about our region as a football power, which will in turn, manifest itself with more scholarship offers to our region, your child will have a better chance at earning one when he graduates.  You need for this to happen and we are the ones to make it happen.  For the last 4 years we put formidable teams together at all 3 age groups.  

When we begin to dominate the FBU Tournament at every level and win Championships in front of 200,000 viewers on the internet, along with the powerful marketing and promotion campaign of FBU, college coaches will look at us differently all over the country.  High School football coaches from all over will understand that the youth football leagues in the DMV are putting out monsters that are a force to be reckoned with.  The game will continue to change!!!

As more an more of them matriculate to college and dominate, you will see our average number of scholarship offers increase each and every year.  This is the mission that we are on at Grassroots and we are succeeding.  Check out the Grassroots Track Record if you need more proof. Click Here to see the details.  

No single event or showcase is more important to the machine than the FBU National Championship Tournament.  The 2nd Team Metro Maryland allows us to service twice the number of 6th, 7th , and 8th Graders and offer them an unreal experience.  Supporting Team Nova, gives us 3 times the roster spots.

If you think you are ready for this level of football, click on the link below and we will see you on Sunday June 5th.  Spread the word!!!!!!

Details for event:

Date: Sunday June 5th, 2016
Venue: The Potomac School
           1301 Potomac School Road
           McClean, VA 22101
Time: Check in at 9am
         Tryout 10:00am to 2pm.
Cost: $10.00 in advance or at the gate

  • Wear your official Game Jerseys for ID purposes
  • Shorts and/or sweats
  • Bring own water/Gatorade
  • We will run the following:
    • 40 Yard Dash
    • Pro Agility Shuttle
    • 3 Cone Drill
    • Position Specific Offense/Defense Drills
  • Cost $10.00

WALK UP Registration is Now available ONLY!!!

587 Reads as of 5/19/2016 @ 7:00am
881 Reads as of 5/24/2016 @ 7:23pm

President’s Pen



This is the very first President’s Pen entry for 2016, and I was only able to create a few of them for 2015.  There always seems to be a thousand things going on at once and so many things to deal with that I don’t end up finding, or making the time to address some topics that are very important for me.

The President’s Pen was initially created as a forum to speak directly to the Grassroots parents, student athletes, coaches, administrators, and anyone who may be interested in my perspective on different subjects.

With so many alumni in the past 6 years it is impossible to be able to address each and every person, although I truly wish that I could.  Although our numbers grow each year and we add more alums to the database, Grassroots is still a very small organization and I still have to be very hands on in every aspect of the operation.

I have decided to revive the President’s Pen for 2016 and plan on addressing important issues at the very least on a monthly basis, and possibly even on a bi-monthly basis if need be.  I will see how this first one goes and take it from there.

I made a vow to myself at the end of 2015 that I would strictly use Facebook as a means to market and promote the vision of Grassroots.  Those that know me are aware of how emotional I can be and I normally wear my emotions on my sleeve.  As I get older and try to mature, I am trying to do a better job of not being so emotional, but it is a tough transition for me.

I always want people to know the truth and know how I feel, but that is not always the best way to be in such a competitive environment like youth sports.  I had no idea back in 2010 when I set out on this mission that the youth football arena was like it is.  But now I know.  As I rolled into the new year, I promised myself not to get involved in Facebook battles and tit for tat and I am trying my best to stick to that promise. 

There is so much controversy swirling around right now regarding Grassroots and me personally.  There are a number of forces and individuals that are not supportive of our mission.  The good news is that the people that I need to help my vision for the youth and families of Grassroots are very supportive of us.  The kids and parents who have benefit ted over the years are very supportive as well.  But as with anything that is considered to be successful, there will be naysayers and adversaries.   I don’t know why I expected it to be any different for me and for the league.

What I refuse to do on Facebook, or on the President’s Pen is to attack those that are attacking me.  I have been there before and choose not to go back there.  There have been attacks on my reputation and character for the last several months.  I have chosen not to respond or defend myself on any public forum.  If I have the opportunity to have one on one conversations with friends or parents that I have relationships with, I explain to them my side of the story and to a man or woman, they all have their “Ah Ha” moments, or their “Now it makes sense” moments.  But I have just chosen not to engage in social media to the masses, and I won’t do it here either.  I have to have faith that the people that have spent time with me and know me can look back on the history that we had with one another to judge me, as opposed to believing in what they may hear from a 3rd party that most often does not know me, or have a different agenda that is predicated on discrediting me.  Those agendas will be flushed out in the end, but not by me and not here.

What I am willing to do for you guys is explain some basic principles that you guys can use when you hear the critics take shots at Grassroots in general, and me in particular.  That is what I will use the President’s Pen for.  I will not address any individual situations on this forum, but I will address concepts so that you can be educated enough to detect deception when you hear it. 

So this first entry is going to discuss one of the Topics that has been used to attempt to discredit us since the inception of Grassroots in 2010, which is the Non Profit vs. For Profit Topic.

I have been hearing from the naysayers since the very beginning that this was “All about money for Mike.”  “If Mike was about the kids, Grassroots would be a non-profit entity.”  I am responding to this for my coaches, who hear this all the time, for the parents who hear this all the time, and for the naysayers who repeat this myth all of the time.  Hopefully this will educate you and give you a different perspective, which is the real and true perspective.

The Myth of Non-Profit vs. For Profit:

One of the most disingenuous concepts that the naysayers want you to believe is that Non Profit, means Non Salary.  Nothing could be further from the truth folks.  The issue that some folks have with me is that they believe I am making a ton of money from the GYFL venture.  First of all, that is the farthest thing from the truth.  But they say it as if it is a crime to make money to support your family by means of a dream that was birthed in you and by providing a product and a service that kids, parents, and high schools all benefit from.  Grassroots is the ultimate win-win for all of us who see the big picture.

The issue that some have is purely over salary.  It is not really over for-profit vs non-profit.  The educated naysayers know that it is merely a play on words.  But the real issue is purely salary and those that oppose me wouldn’t care whether I was generating a salary under for-profit or non-profit status. 

It is being spinned as if Non-Profit, means Non Salary and this is purely false and I will prove it to you shortly.  I could have easily turned the league into a non-profit entity to try to please the naysayers if it was our desire to please them.  By the end of this President’s Pen you will know exactly why we decided to change the league to for-profit status and I believe it will make all the sense in the world to you.  But, before that, you must understand that Non-Profit has nothing to do with Non-Salaries.

My wife works for a very successful and prominent Non-Profit entity, and without her salary, health benefits, and employment packages we would be out on the street.  Many of you have friends and family that work for Non-Profit entities, but if they are not volunteering, then they are paid a salary.

First and foremost, can we all agree that there is NOTHING wrong with making an honest living.  That is what American is supposed to be about.  That is what we spend 12 years of school for, then 4 years of college for, then some go on to get post graduate degrees and law degrees in order to put themselves in position to provide for their families.  As men, we have a responsibility to the higher power that we serve to provide for our families, and to do that we must earn a living.  If I am able to make Grassroots work for my family financially, is that a crime?  Is that something to be vilified for?

Where is the crime in earning a living doing something that you were born to do?  Where is the crime in earning a living doing something that you love?  Where is the crime in earning a living doing something where parents are being educated, kids are being prepared to increase the chances of making their dreams come true, and High School and College Coaches are having an opportunity to evaluate kids? Where is the crime in having God show you your mission, passion, and purpose in life, and giving you the courage to step outside of your comfort zone, take a huge risk, leave a good paying job with benefits, to chase a dream that HE shared with you?

Those are rhetorical questions.  There is no crime in any of them.  Creating a living for ourselves should be celebrated.  Many people spend their lives working jobs and in careers that they honestly can’t stand.  They feel their lives slipping away from them because their passion is somewhere else.  I know that feeling because that was me. But I never hated on anybody else for finding theirs, taking a bold chance with no guarantees, and turning a dream into a reality.  I just took my own chance and it is finally paying off. 

It hasn’t even begun to scratch the surface for me financially that many seem to believe, but thank God I am able to take care of my family and pull my weight, which I took me 5 years to finally accomplish.  That should be celebrated and used as an example for others to do the same thing.  It has done that for many.  But for the naysayers that are mad because they wish they could do the same thing have to constantly take shots at me, as if I am doing something wrong.  It is truly sad.  But, my skin is getting thicker by the day.

There is nothing more difficult and challenging in this world than entrepreneurship.  Most businesses fail in the first 3 years and go bankrupt.  The small percentage that don’t go bankrupt in the first 3 years don’t make a profit until the 5th year, if they make it that long.

For any of you that have tried to start your own business, either Non-Profit, or For-Profit, you understand the harsh realities.  It is not for the faint of heart.  Both models are still businesses, and if an entity does not generate more revenue than it incurs expenses, it will be out of business not matter which designation it decides to take.

Please don’t be fooled by the For-Profit vs. Non-Profit rhetoric folks.  That is all it is.  Both models are businesses.  To survive they need revenue.  To thrive the revenue has to far exceed the expenses and the expenses are lease space, electricity, gas, water, salaries, health insurance, unemployment insurance, etc., etc., etc.   Non Profits have the same realities and For-Profits, with the only difference being that IF the For-Profit is wildly successful, the owners of the corporation have the ability to take the net profit at the end of the year and divide it amongst themselves to spend how they wish.

If a Non-Profit has revenues that exceeded expenses in any given year, a Fund Balance is created.  It is almost like a credit balance.  At the end of the year, it goes back into the entity and will be spent based on the decisions of Directors of the Entity.  Instead of the owners splitting the profit, the Directors can increase salaries, hire more employees or use that money as they see fit to fulfill the charter of their Non Profit.

The first thing I wanted to do was to prove the statements I made above with facts.  After I have done that, I will explain to you the origin of the league and WHY it was converted to For-Profit.  We are not hiding from it, we are proud of it and you will see why by the time you finish reading.  My prayer is that if this one example of me taking the time to explain the TRUTH to you can get you to realize that if you had a negative opinion initially that was changed by these facts, that you had been misinformed, and manipulated to believe something that was false.  If you had been misled on this topic, how many other topics were you misled on?  If I can’t disprove the myth, then I would not expect you to trust and believe in me anymore, assuming that you did.

But, prior to that, please study the following facts to make my case.

I did 2 Google Searches to make these points:

GOOGLE SEARCH #1 was “Highest paid Non Profit Salaries” and I came up with this article from the Huffington Post.  Please read in detail when you have a moment: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/08/10-insanely-overpaid-nonp_n_3038162.html

But I also copied and pasted the top part of the article and am including it below for a quick review.  Some of the links will take you to some very surprising results if you believe that Non Profit means Non Salary.

The Fiscal Times

Nonprofits take your donations and give them to a good cause, right?

To be fair, most do, while paying their employees competitive but modest salaries. But a handful of nonprofits pay their top executives shockingly high salaries that could make their for-profit corporate counterparts jealous.

PHOTO GALLERY: The 10 Highest-Paid Nonprofit Execs

While you may be scrambling to make your annual charitable contributions, nonprofit executive compensation is rising faster than inflation, though not by much. Median pay for executives at the largest charities and foundations increased 3.8 percent in 2011 to $429,512, according to a September report from the Chronicle of Philanthropy, whereas the inflation rate was about 3 percent during the year.

More from the Fiscal Times:
10 Insanely Overpaid Public Employees
10 Insanely Overpaid Public College Presidents
7 Places Where the Wealthy Hide Their Money

In 2010, one-third of nonprofits surveyed provided bonuses to their well-paid executives, and the median bonus was over $50,000. This year, top executives are expected to receive modest increases, from 2.5 to 3.5 percent. But when you’re making what the highest-paid executive on our list does — $2.5 million a year — that’s a decent raise. More than 20 nonprofit groups paid top executives more than $1 million a year in 2010 and 2011, according to the report.
The rising nonprofit salaries prompted New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to issue an executive order in May that limits some charities from using state funds to pay salaries of more than $199,000. Other states, such as New Jersey, Florida and Massachusetts, have also made efforts to curb nonprofit executive pay.

Click here to see the 10 highest-paid nonprofit executives in the field (excluding those at colleges and hospitals), according to 2011 and 2010 tax return data compiled by the Chronicle of Philanthropy. The data come from 400 charities that raise the most money from private sources or grant makers.


GOOGLE SEARCH #2 was a Google of “Average Salaries for Non Profit employees.”  Here is a cut and paste from that article as well:

Industry: Non-Profit Organization Median Salary by Job


National Salary Data 





Executive Director, Non-Profit Organization

5 salaries






Executive Director

5 salaries



Chief Operating Officer, Non-Profit Organization

3 salaries



Program Manager, Non-Profit Organization

2 salaries



Development Manager, Non-Profit Organization

2 salaries



Director of Development, Non-Profit Organization

2 salaries



Grants Officer

2 salaries



Country: United States | Currency: USD | Updated: 29 Apr 2016 | Individuals Reporting: 74



These are just two of many examples of Non Profit Salaries.  I would like to bring it back to the Youth Football Business to make it more appropriate.

Most of folks who try to convict me on the Non Profit issue are youth organizations, which are all Non Profit.  I don’t know of any individual youth football orgs that generate enough money to pay salaries, but there may be some out there.  I can assure you that is the goal of many and that is the reason some are so upset with what they think I am making.

Grassroots is not a Youth Organization; it is a Youth League.  Although is only in one region right now, the goal is to be in multiple cities before I leave this earth.  Pop Warner began small.  AYF began small.  UYFL began small.  Every organization began as an idea.  Pop Warner executives get paid salaries. 

Another quick Google Search breaks down the salaries of the Top Youth Sports Organizations across the country, ALL of which are Non Profits by the way.  Please Read.


Some of the best youth football leagues in the DMV are run so well because their executives and decision makers are either on salary or paid stipends.  Mid Maryland for example, which is one of the best run leagues bar none in the region has employees who get paid salaries from Howard County Parks and Rec.  Same deal with the Fairfax County Youth Football League, which is outstanding.

I think it is very disingenuous to compare Grassroots to individual youth organizations, when those same youth orgs know that many of the best run local and national youth leagues have board members on salaries, and/or stipends.

As far as I am concerned, there is nothing more important that the people that are guiding our children.  I want my daughter’s teachers to be compensated well for the role that they play in my daughter’s education.  If those teachers are excellent and bring a tremendous level of value to my child’s life than they deserve to be compensated accordingly.  My wife and I have no issues paying her tuition because we value Elizabeth Seton HS.  I could care less whether Seton was For-Profit or Non-Profit.

If my child’s dance teacher is exceptional and adds value to her development than she is an integral part of the “village” that I need to help her evolve into the young lady that will change the world.  She deserves to be compensated and my wife and I have NO issue paying her dance fees, because we value Ms. Rhonda of the Expressions Dance Company.  Again, I could care less whether Expressions was For-Profit or Non-Profit. 

That goes for any other member of the “Village” that is helping to raise my daughter and help her reach her dreams.  I don’t want any of the adults helping to raise my child to be stressed out financially and wondering how they will keep a roof over their heads.  Many of us KNOW how it feels to struggle to make ends meet and the stress and anxiety that goes along with that.  It is very difficult to provide maximum service to kids when you don’t know how you will take care of your own.

If you consider Grassroots a part of the “Village” that is helping your son reach his dreams, then I would hope that none of you would have a problem with me being able to help take care of my family by paying reasonable fees in exchange for the services that we provide.  If we are not providing the service for your sons that we marketed to you, we would expect you to remove him from the league.

History of the Transition

Since I am sharing so much with you I may as well share it all.  Back in 2001 I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior.  I was 33 years old.  My life was a lot easier before 2001 because back in those days I actually was chasing money and success.  I believed that the key to life was being successful.  Success back in those days was a six figure salary, a 4-bedroom house, a Lexus, a Benz, and a big bank account.

Once I attained all of those things and I was not happy, I began to realize that the purpose of life was NOT to become successful, it was to find your purpose in life and begin to chase it with all of your zeal.

It became clear to me that my personal mission statement was to be a positive, motivational, and inspirational force in the lives of young people.  On another President’s Pen I will share with you the amazing story as to how I came to this conclusion, but for the sake of time just know that my purpose and mission is to mentor young people.

With that in mind, my mentor inspired me to start a Non Profit Youth Foundation.  It was all focuses on Life Skills, Leadership, and Academic Enrichment.  I was so excited in 2003 to launch my new life.  With the support of my mentor, we launched the GYM Foundation, which stood for Growing Young Minds.  We started off with a vision and I spent an entire year of my life attempting to build it.  I was so sure that as a Non-Profit I would be able to get donations from “All those folks who need tax write offs.”  I was so sure that I would be able to access “All the Grant Money” that was available for the youth of America.  To make a long story short, after a year of recruiting students and attempting to secure grants and donations, I was unable to generate .15 cents in the bank account, nor was I able to get any students to want to give up after school time, weekends, and summers for Life Skills and Leadership.

I was out of financial support and had to go back to my job as an auditor for an accounting firm.  For the next 4 years I was one of those people who was making a good salary but hating my job every day of the year.  It was even worse for me because I had seen my purpose and mission 4 years ago and I knew I was supposed to be working with kids.

That is when the vision hit me like a ton of bricks.  The Grassroots Youth Football League was born and I realized that in order to draw kids to me to fulfill my purpose, I would need to offer them something that THEY wanted.  Kids are not asking their parents to sign them up for Life Skills and Leadership Camp.  They are obsessed with Sports just like I was.  If I could create a draw for them with a focus on football, I could potentially draw hundreds of kids per year and over time generate enough kids and parents, along with enough revenue to take care of my family.

For the next 2 years I tried to do it part time like most youth organizations do.  I realized after 2 years that what I was attempting to do was very different than any individual youth organization and that it was designed to expand into 10 different counties throughout the DMV.  By 2009 it was clear to me that if I was going to do this, it would have to be full time.  I was so afraid to even consider trying to do this full time.  How would I pay my bills?  I had a wife and a daughter.  I had a mortgage and car notes.  I didn’t see how it would be possible to turn it into a career.  But, I also didn’t see how it would be possible to fulfill my vision part time.  It wasn’t working.

The dream kept getting bigger and bigger.  After I began to expand my mind I could see a Grassroots in 32 NFL cities before I had even started in 1 city.  When God shows you a vision you better watch out!

I was able to find a couple of businessmen who believed enough in my vision to support me financially enough to get Grassroots off the ground.  It was initially designed as a Non-Profit.  My goal was to create this unbelievable entity that would start with the football league, and then expand into the Life Skills, Leadership, and Academic Enrichment component that I tried to start in 2003.

At that point, I was aware that I couldn’t start with the Life Skills and Leadership.  I would start with the football league and build it up to the point where we had enough kids and generated enough revenue to successfully relaunch the Foundation piece.  I was all in for the league beginning in 2009 and took on laser sharp focus.  From Day 1 I knew I would need to make it successful enough to create a salary for me if it was going to thrive.  I never hid from that then and I am not hiding from it now.  It was just initially under the Non-Profit format.

So why did it change you ask………...?

One of the first things I had to do was get financial support for the entity.  I began taking meeting after meeting with successful business people trying to get them on board.  One of them was a very successful former Washington Redskin that I idolized growing up.

It took me almost a year to get him to look at my PowerPoint presentation, but when he finally did, I knew that we were on to something.

This icon of mine was so excited by this Grassroots concept that he told me that he wanted it to be his future.  He gave me an example of riding in a car and there is a large front windshield and a small rear view mirror.  The reason is because we are supposed to spend the majority of our time looking ahead to where we are going, and we should only glance from time to time in the rear view mirror.  He said that was how he viewed his life.  People always wanted to take him back to the past and talk about his former days as a football star, but he was laser focused on his future and looking ahead.

He told me that he was so engrossed in my Grassroots concept that he wanted it to be his future…….  I was truly floored and humbled.

He told me about how many successful retired NFL players, NFL Hall of Famers, etc., were not happy with their post career business ventures.  Although the majority of retired players are not successful financially after retirement, many of the ones who are successful do NOT enjoy what they do.  Some owned trucking companies.  Some owned restaurants.  Some owned fast food franchises, or restaurants.  He made it clear to me that SO MANY successfully retired NFL players truly hated what they were looking at in the front window, including him.  He wanted to something that he loved and that he was passionate about.

He wanted to be able to make a living at it, but he wanted it to be something that truly captivated him and inspired him.  He wanted it to be Grassroots.

To tell you that I thought I was dreaming is an understatement.  This guy was one of my childhood heroes and he was telling me that something that God put in my spirit was something that he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

So how did this make us change the organizational structure you ask?

During a meeting with my original group of partners, this man told us that he only saw one issue with the current plan.  He suggested that we change it from a Non-Profit to a For-Profit status.   We explained the origin of it and that the Life Skills and Leadership was where our hearts were.  He told us that most successful companies have a Non-Profit arm along with their For-Profit arm and that we could and still should create that.  However, he gave us the following brilliant idea.

He began to name some of his personal friends who were all over the USA that were former star athletes just like him.  I won’t say the names, but trust me they were household names, NFL Stars, and Hall of Famers who were friends of his.  He told us that most of them did NOT enjoy what they were doing in their businesses, similar to him.  He seemed certain that his friends and business associates would be just as excited about the Grassroots concept as he was.

He was convinced that they would want to be involved with it just like he was.  He gave us the name of a heavy hitter in Miami, another one in Dallas, another in San Francisco, Detroit, and other cities.  He said that he was confident that he could get those guys to bite on this Grassroots Concept.   He thought that franchising this concept would Change the Game.

Our only issue was that, “You can’t franchise a Non-Profit Entity.”  This great man inspired us like you could never believe merely by expressing his sincere interest in wanting to be an integral part of the Grassroots Youth Football League.  He showed us from a business perspective that, if we could make this successful, we could take it to the other 31 cities by way of a franchise model.  It was absolutely brilliant in concept.

We saw the vision and within a week, we had a Non-Profit Entity called the GYM Foundation and a For-Profit Entity called the GYFL.

Well, 6 years later a lot has happened.   We were not in position financially to meet the requests of the Redskin great at the time.  The initial investment capital that we secured was gone in 6 months.  The initial partnership group fell apart.  Yes, we have been successful at attracting some of the best student athletes, parents, and coaches over the past 6 years.  But, financially it has been a true struggle.

We did go bankrupt twice already for those who wish my demise.  Thank God for a mother that took care of her money and loved her 44-year-old son enough to carry him through the tough times.  The Good Lord took my father home on July 1st 2011 and he left enough money to survive the 2nd bankruptcy.  Thank God for a wife that works tirelessly and never gave up on her husband.  Thank God for a tight knit group of coaches that have believed in us and supported us over the years.  Thank God for the parents who have paid the Combine fees, and registration fees, along with the $5 at the gate so we can pay the heavy expenses each week.  Thank God for the volunteers who come out and grind for us every weekend.  Thank God for Under Armour believing in us to give us a chance to prove ourselves to them.

I thank God for so much!

We are nowhere close to being there yet.  The plans to expand to 31 other cities is on hold (LOL).  We are still fighting for our lives right here in the DMV.  But, we are getting closer to our dreams.

I pray that one day Grassroots will be financially successful and in 32 NFL cities with a headquarters that is providing jobs for thousands.  I pray that God will bless me to be wealthy one day so that I can truly be a blessing to my community.  It makes me sick that every time some kids needs helmets reconditioned, uniforms, new shoulder pads, safer equipment, money for a tournament, etc., I have to go beg some wealthy guys to help me help kids.

I do so much begging each and every year to help kids pay for tutoring, test preparation, tuition assistance, registration fees, football cleats, etc.  I am so tired of having to beg wealthy people to help the kids that I love and believe in.  One day I want to be that guy that people can come to because I care so much.

I am not chasing material possessions, cars, boats, and all of the things that I chased and coveted until I was 33 years old.  I am not the same person.  I am not perfect by any means, but all I am chasing are the destinies of kids.

When we have a GYFL in 32 NFL cities and our babies get a scholarship to Temple, or Georgia Tech, for example.  When we encourage them to get that degree in accounting or marketing, they won’t have to go outside of the family looking for job.  They will be able to work for the league that they help build when they were in middle school.

There is so much more that I could say on this topic, but my fingers are getting tired.   And if this is not enough to convince you that my motives are pure than Grassroots is just probably not the right league for you and I am not the right person for you to want your son to be around.

I have always tried to get you to understand the concept of the right fit with regard s to your High School Selection.  I guess that same thought process should be considered when considering what youth league you want your son to play in.

I hope that you will consider this Presidents Pen the next time that someone tells you that Mike is all about the money because his league is For-Profit.

Ask any of my coaches if there has ever been a kid that didn’t play in Grassroots, or that didn’t come to a combine because he didn’t have the money.  I have NEVER turned one kid away in the history of Grassroots.

For All that we provide for our Frosh and JV we charge $750 per team in the Spring.  Anything above that has NOTHING to do with Grassroots.  Your youth organizations have expenses that have to be incurred so if they charge you a reasonable fee, it is up to you to determine whether or not they are worth it.  But, only $750 comes to Grassroots. 

In the Spring for Varsity we charge $125 per player because we provide so much more for them.  Again, any fee above that amount is what your organization charges to cover their expenses.  Please don’t be fooled when you hear figures being bantered about that are not true.

We do charge $100 for combines because they are worth that and then some.  We make them mandatory because we must ensure that the scouting services keep coming back and if the kids are not there they won’t continue to come back.  But, do I really exact the $25 penalty for kids that don’t show up?  We had 2 combines this Spring with a total of 200 kids between PG County and Loudoun County.  We have over 600 kids playing in the league this Spring and over 400 did NOT attend.  Not to mention how many we extended financial aid to because they had legitimate financial hardships.

This has never been about money for me and it never will be.  We have a business to run and until or unless the Sponsorship dollars begin to come in and amazing rates, we need every penny that we charge to provide the top notch league that you have all grown to expect.

That is all for now!


God Bless,


Coach Mike

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