First-Ever World Youth Football Championships Draw 70 Teams From Across Continental U.S., Hawaii & Mexico

First-Ever World Youth Football Championships Draw 70 Teams From Across Continental U.S., Hawaii & Mexico

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The first-ever Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Football Championships kick off today in Canton, Ohio. More than 1,700 athletes from across the country and throughout the world will compete in the tournament that is capped by championship games on Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017.

Teams will be represented from five unweighted divisions, three weighted divisions and three all-star divisions. All championship games will be streamed live on the subscription OTT service SportsLive. Two championship games (14U and 12U) will air on CBS Sports Network on Jan. 1 from 2-5 PM, ET. The championship games will take place Sunday in the brand new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, a major component of the nearly $800 million Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village under way on the Hall’s campus.

“This youth championship series, the biggest in the history of youth football, will feature athletes and coaches competing in the most exciting postseason weekend in football,” Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker commented. “Just as important, all of these fine athletes, win or lose, will be immersed in the values of football through the Game for Life Program that teach life skills that serve athletes beyond the game of football.” 

The majority of teams for the inaugural Pro Football Hall of Fame World Youth Football Championships qualified for the weekend through competition over the past two weeks in regional play. The qualifying rounds took place in Locust Grove, Georgia; Sparta, New Jersey; Middletown, Delaware; Alton, Illinois; Desoto, Texas; Canton, Ohio; Oxnard, California; and Santa Rosa, California.  

The selection process was headed by former NFL General Manager Ray Farmer and National Collegiate Scout Gary Howard. More than 500 teams were considered. Over 100 teams were selected this past fall at an announcement event that featured guest appearances by NFL stars, Hall of Famers and Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 semifinalist Ray Lewis.

The championship event is owned by Legacy Global Sports and directed by Richard McGuinness, who created the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on NBC, the Eastbay All-American Game and other top football properties over the past 15 years. McGuinness sold his interest in his previous company to re-imagine the nation’s top showcase events for youth, high school and soon to be NFL athletes through showcase events like the Championship series.

“As the world of football recruiting continues to get younger, this event will serve as the first phase of player identification in the nation. Through our extensive collection of game film from this event along with NFL style evaluations, we are providing a unique opportunity to identify nation’s best youth athletes like no one else,” McGuinness stated.


Hall of Fame Productions, led by Executive Producer George Veras, a 10-time Emmy Award winner who worked for CBS Sports from 1981 to 1994, will produce three of the youth championship games taking place on Sunday.

The production will include pre- and post-game coverage from the 12U, 14U, and 14U Gold championship games. The broadcast team will consist of play-by-play announcer Neil Sika, a national broadcaster who is also the voice of the Major Indoor Soccer’s Columbus Crew; and a pair of color commentators Ray Farmer (former Cleveland Browns GM and former NFL player) and Brandon Noble (former NFL linebacker with the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and San Francisco 49ers). Top collegiate scout Gary Howard will provide insight on top ranked players competing in the games.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Jamir Howerton will be the sideline reporter. Howerton worked in that capacity for the Browns from 2008-2013.


All teams will participate in national media day, a red-carpet ceremony and the Game for Life program that will provide character development to all athletes and coaches. Media Day takes place at the Goodyear Theater, 1201 East Market Street, Akron, Ohio on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017.

Hall of Famer MIKE HAYNES will be on hand Thursday evening beginning at 4 PM at the Goodyear Theater.

Coaches, players and tournament directors will be made available to the media during the following times.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: 7U & 8U

3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Mighty Mite & 10U

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: J Peewee & 12U

5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Peewee & 14U

Media may also cover the red carpet and welcoming ceremonies taking place from 6:30-8:00 PM (7U-10U) and 8:30-10:00 PM for (PeeWee-14U) at the Goodyear Theater.


Game schedules and championship schedules can be found at: http://www.youthfootballchampionship.com/

Tickets are $10 per person per day (kids 5 and under are free) and may be purchased at the ticket booth located across from the Symphony Gate at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.


The World Youth Football Championships are sponsored by Xenith, Jet Fuel, Wilson and Shadowman.

More information can be found at: www.youthfootballchampionship.com

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