Pilot Program Announced

June 13, 2017

USA Football has announced a pilot program called Rookie Tackle football, a method of helping athletes ease into 11-man football. According to USA Today, Rookie Tackle will include smaller teams, smaller fields, no specialization, and no three-point stances. The pilot program will involve 24,000 students from 11 leagues all across the country.

Scott Hallenbeck, CEO of USA Football, said Rookie Tackle would help athletes learn how to play football before moving on to the 11-man version, but not serve as a substitute for it.

“Rookie Tackle is not going to replace 11-man football,” Hallenbeck told USA TODAY Sports. “That is not our position. This is additive and necessary for the ongoing advancement and growth of football.”

One goal is to ensure each player is on the field and in the action.

“Every youngster should have the opportunity to play meaningful time,” said Nick Inzerello, USA Football’s senior director of partnerships and education. “That’s why they sign up.”

Inzerello said that the smaller fields, which are 40 yards by 35 yards, would encourage more physical activity.

“We wanted to create a game that kids enjoy and ultimately help improve their skill development without losing the integrity of football,” Inzerello said. “It’s all football, whether it’s flag, Rookie Tackle or 11 player. Let’s celebrate that kids are playing football.”

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