USA Football is the only organization in the sport that provides high school players the opportunity to represent their country while gaining instruction from and training under current college coaches. Senior Manager of the USA Football National Program Aaron Ingram is tasked with building the best coaching staff at every level of the U.S. National Team program by sorting through a pool of 1,600 candidates. He hires more than 1,000 coaches for the Regional Development Camps and selects the best of the best to represent the United States against international competition.
Ingram recently joined the FNF Coaches podcast to share how coaches and players across the country can get involved in the National Team program.
What is the process for coaches who want to get involved with the USA Football National Program?
“This year, right before COVID pulled the plug, we had 1,600 coaches in the pool running for 18 regionals. The process is a lengthy one and can be overwhelming at times. We go through the applications like it’s a job. My staff scours applications and does the background homework; sometimes, we do a phone interview. We’re going into our 12th year with the program, so we’re starting to get a lot of return coaches who fall in love with the process like I have. We have high-level coaches who are doing a great job. We’re excited to see what happens in 2021.”
What should a coach do if he/she wants to get involved in the program?
“The process to get it started is to go to the USA Football website, click on the National Team section, and sign up to be a coach. That’s the first step. It’s rare that we’ll hire coaches without seeing them in a regional development camp for two days in t-shirts and shorts. That’s boots-on-the-ground fundamental football. We want to see a coach get into it and be an outstanding communicator and teacher.”
And how would a coach nominate a player?
“That same spot has a link for recommending players. We’re always looking for players. It’s a nonstop process. There’s not a time of year when we’re not looking at players, not looking at film, and not looking for the next great one. We’ve had a lot of success with it, and we’re hoping to find a few more.”