Two of the NFL’s premier youth football events – NFL FLAG Championships and Punt, Pass and Kick (PPK) National Championships – will move to PRO BOWL WEEK in Orlando as part of the league’s celebration of the brightest stars of today and tomorrow. The announcement was made at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

“We are excited to bring NFL FLAG powered by USA Football and PPK Championships to Pro Bowl as we celebrate youth players,” said Roman Oben, NFL senior director of youth and high school football. “This is a great opportunity to showcase the talent, dedication and achievements of the boys and girls who have made it to the national stage.”

NFL FLAG Championships will take place from January 27-29. PPK National Championships will take place on January 27. Both events will be held at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort.

Thirty-two NFL FLAG teams will compete for the title in the 13-14 Boys division. The 13-14 Boys Championship Game will be aired on ESPN as part of the network’s broadcast of the Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium.

Thousands of girls and boys from across the country will compete in regional PPK competitions this fall that will culminate with the PPK National Championships in Orlando. The top four boys and top four girls in each age division (6-7, 8-9, 10-11, 12-13, and 14-15) will reach the national stage in Orlando.

The tournaments add to the list of new unprecedented youth-focused activities to take place at Walt Disney World Resort and throughout Orlando during PRO BOWL WEEK.

Other highlights include:

Pro Bowl AFC and NFC practices will be held alongside youth football competitions, activities and fan events at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort, which annually hosts more than 100 youth sports events, such as the Pop Warner Super Bowl.

The 2017 Pro Bowl players will also be able to invite their former youth or high school coach to be a part of the celebrations during the week. Players on the winning Pro Bowl team will receive a grant from the NFL Foundation to support their youth or high school football program.

The annual USA Football National Conference will take place at the Orange County Convention Center during the weekend of Pro Bowl. USA Football, the sport’s national governing body and a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, leads the largest annual conference of high school and youth football administrators and high school coaches in the United States. More than 650 participants from all 50 states attended USA Football’s 2016 National Conference in Indianapolis, addressing coach education, player safety and key trends through inspiring speakers representing youth, high school, collegiate and pro levels.

The Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year Award winner will be announced during the Pro Bowl as part of a year-long recognition of high school coaches on ESPN. The award honors high school football coaches that display the integrity, achievement and leadership exemplified by Pro Football Hall of Famer Don Shula, the winningest coach in NFL history.

Pro Bowl festivities for youth and their families will take place throughout the week across Orlando, including a Pro Bowl-themed 5k run and a parade of Pro Bowl players in the Magic Kingdom.

For the second consecutive year, the NFL is working with the Aspire Group on group ticket sales for the Pro Bowl, with an emphasis on engaging youth football teams throughout central Florida. Tickets will go on sale to the general public in October. Fans may register on ProBowl.com for exclusive presale opportunities and additional information on Pro Bowl Week fan events in Orlando.

Football fans will also be able to see NFL action at Camping World Stadium when the Miami Dolphins host the Atlanta Falcons Thursday, August 25 at 8 p.m. (Eastern) in Week 3 of the preseason to celebrate Play Football Month. Youth football teams from across Florida will be honored as part of the gameday activities.

The game will also provide NFL officials the opportunity to observe the gameday experience and stadium operations.

About NFL FLAG powered by USA Football: NFL FLAG powered by USA Football (www.nflflag.com) provides opportunities for children ages 5-17 to enjoy America’s favorite sport. With more than 340,000 participants nationwide, players benefit by being physically active through non-contact, continuous action while learning the fundamentals of football, lessons in teamwork and sportsmanship. NFL FLAG is a program of PLAY 60, the NFL’s campaign to encourage kids to be active for 60 minutes a day in order to help reverse the trend of childhood obesity.

About NFL PUNT, PASS, & KICK: Established in 1961, the PPK program is the oldest NFL Youth Football program. The program is a national skills competition for boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 15 to compete separately against their peers. For more information, visit http://www.nflppk.com/.

The Orlando Destination: Home to seven of the world’s top theme parks, Orlando is the No. 1 family vacation destination, theme park capital of the world, and most visited destination in the United States.  An unparalleled mix of unique experiences create cherished memories for visitors, including legendary theme parks from Disney, Universal and SeaWorld, an array of world-class water parks, entertainment venues, an award-winning food scene, shopping, sports and nightlife. And with 450 hotels, Orlando offers more lodging options than nearly any other destination in the world including expansive resorts and uniquely themed hotels.

In other NFL Youth news…

ESPN, DICK’S Sporting Goods and the NFL have come together to support youth and high school sports teams across the country. The Monday Night Football Sports Matter initiative provides football teams in MNF cities with much-needed resources and sports equipment to address barriers to access and enable more youth to participate and obtain the benefits of playing sports. In addition, MNF analyst and Super Bowl-winning head coach Jon Gruden hosts Chalk Talk events with youth and high school football players and coaches to provide mentorship and discuss the value of sports participation.

As part of this effort, ESPN has donated $100,000 to DonorsChoose.org and will make additional donations to youth sports teams over the course of the 2016 MNF season. The NFL Foundation, together with USA Football, the sport’s national governing body, has matched ESPN’s $100,000 donation to provide resources and sports equipment to high school football teams in each NFL market. USA Football will also host Heads Up Football clinics for participating teams in select MNF markets to help advance player safety in the game of football.

“Football is a great game and a great teacher,” said Gruden, who was presented with the first-ever DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation Sports Matter Impact Award in April. “Kids learn lessons on the field – work ethic, teamwork, sportsmanship and mental toughness – that will help them off the field for the rest of their lives. But like all youth sports programs, there’s not enough funding to go around. That’s why the FFCA [Fired Football Coaches Association] and I are working with ESPN, DICK’S and the NFL to improve the situation. We invite you to join us and do what you can in your own community to support youth sports and create more opportunities for kids.”

Gruden and his Fired Football Coaches Association (FFCA) are committed to raising awareness about the youth sports funding crisis and doing what they can to help by providing monetary support to bolster local programs throughout the country. To this end, Gruden hosts Chalk Talk sessions in MNF host cities during the season. Each participating team receives funding and equipment from ESPN, DICK’S and the NFL Foundation to support its football program.

“Our company mission of serving sports fans includes young athletes who want to play sports, be active, and be part of a team, but may not have the resources to do so,” said Kevin Martinez, ESPN’s vice president of corporate citizenship. “We’re proud to work with Jon, our MNF team, DICK’S and the NFL to create opportunities for kids and youth programs that need it most.”

The goal of the MNF Sports Matter initiative is to help address the systemic problem that exists for many youth and high school football teams across the country, particularly in underserved communities, who find the financial impediment to playing sports a barrier for the youth participating.

“Playing football teaches kids important life lessons. The values learned on the football field play a key role in personal growth and development. At the NFL, we’re committed to creating more opportunities for sport participation at all levels,” said Roman Oben, NFL senior director of youth and high school football. “This collaboration with ESPN and DICK’S Sporting Goods will help us progress our efforts to remove barriers to access and enable more athletes across the country to participate and benefit from playing football.”

Through the Sports Matter campaign, DICK’S Sporting Goods and the DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation have made a $50 million multi-year commitment to support youth athletic programs, including donations to community sports leagues. Since 2014, they have helped more than 1,800 youth sports teams and ESPN and the NFL’s support will help positively impact more athletes nationwide.

DICK’S is also the official sponsor of this year’s MNF bus – which is being adorned with the decals of teams who participate in Gruden’s Chalk Talk sessions – and the weekly Monday Night Countdown bus segment where Gruden sits one-on-one with a player or coach.

About The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation: The DICK’S Sporting Goods Foundation is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with a mission to inspire and enable sports participation. It was created by DICK’S Sporting Goods, Inc. as a private corporate foundation to support DICK’S charitable and philanthropic activities.

About ESPN Corporate Citizenship: ESPN believes that, at its very best, sports uplifts the human spirit. Its corporate citizenship programs use power of sport to positively address society’s most pressing needs through strategic community investments, cause marketing programs, collaboration with sports organizations and employee volunteerism, while also utilizing its diverse media assets. For more information, please visit http://www.espn.com/citizenship.

About the NFL Foundation: The National Football League Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of those touched by the game of football – from players at all levels to communities across the country. The NFL Foundation represents the 32 NFL clubs and supports the health, safety and wellness of athletes, youth football, and the communities that support our game. For more information on the NFL Foundation, visit: http://www.NFLFoundation.org.

About USA Football: USA Football evolves and grows the sport through innovative standards and best practices to advance coach and player development, participation and safety within the fun of the game and its inherent values. As the sport’s national governing body and member of the U.S. Olympic Committee, USA Football partners with leaders in medicine, child advocacy and athletics to support positive football experiences for youth, high school and other amateur players. Follow USA Football at http://www.facebook.com/usafootball or on Twitter @USAFootball.

ESPN also shines a light on youth sports during the Monday Night Countdown pregame show at 6 p.m. and the MNF game at 8:15 p.m. with “Monday Night Lights” segments, which celebrate youth players and coaches.

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