USA Football expands pathway to U.S. National Teams with development program 

INDIANAPOLIS – USA Football, a member of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the sport's governing body, is proud to announce the launch of the National Team Development Program. Designed to help flag football athletes and coaches refine their skills, showcase their talent and compete at an elite level, the program expands the pathway to USA Football’s U.S. National Team, which has the opportunity to represent the U.S. at the 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.  

The National Team Development Program provides a clear pathway for athletes at the 12U level and up to stay engaged with USA Football and pursue a roster spot on the U.S. National Team through adulthood, competing in the USA Football Select Team Bowl on Regional Select Teams before potentially competing in the Junior International Cup, IFAF Continental Championships, IFAF World Championships, The World Games or even the Olympics as a member of the U.S. National Team.  

“Flag football’s addition to the Olympics is a monumental opportunity for the sport and will drive competitive interest globally,” said USA Football CEO Scott Hallenbeck. “We already see greater competition and higher participation levels from men, women and youth athletes across the world than ever before. Our National Team Development Program will introduce the next generation of athletes to the best-in-class standards, practices and values of our U.S. National Team’s high-performance pathway as we prepare them for international opportunities.” 

“The caliber of athlete is increasing, the speed of the athlete is increasing, and the level of international competition is increasing, meaning the gap between the other countries and the United States is closing quickly,” said USA Football Managing Director of High Performance and National Teams, Eric Mayes. “The National Team Development Program helps raise our performance and long-term competitive outlook and maximizes development opportunities for the next generation of elite athletes by connecting them with their peers and some of the country’s most accomplished coaches. These athletes will further strengthen the talent pool for USA Football’s U.S. National Team program as we prepare for the 2028 Olympics and beyond.” 

In its inaugural year, the National Team Development Program will feature four Regional Select Teams for girls and boys at the 12U and 14U levels as well as at the 20U level for women. Throughout the year, USA Football will host four one-day, region-based talent identification camps for USA Football staff, National Team staff, and Select Team coaches to scout the nation’s top flag football athletes. 

The talent identification camps feature four components, including on-field drills, situational scrimmages, combine testing and developmental panels where camp attendees hear from current or former members of the U.S. National Team. Talent ID Camps are also qualifying events for the U.S. National Team, making participants eligible for invitations to join the Regional Select Teams or participate in the U.S. National Team Trials.  

The U.S. National Team Trials, held annually at the U.S. Performance Center in Charlotte, N.C., bring together the country’s elite athletes to compete for roster spots on the 15U and 17 Boys’ and Girls’ National Teams and the Men’s and Women’s National Teams.  

In 2024, the Boys’ and Girls’ National Teams will compete in the Junior International Cup, an annual international competition hosted USA Football, while the Men’s and Women’s National Teams travel to Lahti, Finland for the 2024 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Flag Football World Championships.  

In July, USA Football will host the first annual Select Team Bowl, a premier multi-day competition between the four Select Teams at each level. The event’s format and process provide Select Team members with access to the National Team athlete experience while they learn and compete at the sport’s highest level. It’s a unique opportunity for flag football players to walk in the shoes of National Team athletes.  

Additionally, the USA Football Select Team Bowl will occur alongside the Junior International Cup to expose Select Team athletes to an international event and allow them to learn from the National Team athletes.   

About USA Football: USA Football is the governing body of American football in the United States, the sole US member of the International Federation of American Football, and a recognized sports organization of the US Olympic & Paralympic Committee. Its non-profit mission includes designing and delivering premier educational, development, and competitive programs for American football, including tackle and flag football. USA Football is the only organization that selects and organizes men’s and women’s US National Teams in federation-sanctioned international competition. 

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