National Youth Football Championship
11 Regional, 8 Age/Weight Groups
One Finals in Canton - December 14-17

By the Numbers...





1 NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE $700 million Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village on the Pro Football Hall of Fame Campus - THE MOST INSPIRING PLACE ON EARTH



The Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy proudly announce the largest youth football championship event in the nation.

For teams of all age groups from everywhere in America – California to New York and Texas to Chicago – who want to prove they are the nation’s best comes the ‘Game for Life’ National Youth Football Championship - the Little League World Series of Youth Football.

Complete with a national ranking system designed by former NFL’s executives, 11 regional playoff locations around the country, 1 national championship event to be broadcast on national television and an emerging $700 million-dollar world class football complex to call “home”. This championship event has it all and will settle all debates on who is the best – grade by grade, team by team, state by state and region by region.

Most importantly, the ‘Game for Life’ National Youth Football Championship will provide a unique and exclusive program that focuses on the values learned from the game. A character development seminar built around values such as commitment, integrity, courage, respect, and excellence learned from the game but applied to all facets of life which will be provided to more than 15,000 athletes and 3,500 coaches. The program is supported by the Hall of Famers and the HOF Staff.



Who We Are

The ‘Game for Life’ National Youth Football Championship was built by the biggest promoters in sports. The founders created the U.S. Army All-American Bowl (NBC), the Aflac All-American Baseball Game (Fox Sports) and the McDonald’s All-American Basketball Game (ESPN).

Over the past 50 years, these national events have showcased the nation’s finest in football, baseball and basketball. These legendary promoters want to turn the focus to a younger generation through events like this.

The event’s managing director and creator of the U.S. Army Bowl, Rich McGuinness, currently oversees the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy and Airo Nation, the nation’s biggest 7v7 platform on behalf of Legacy Global Sports. He sold his interest in the U.S. Army Bowl to reimagine football and build the nation’s biggest youth showcase that could serve as a cornerstone of American football.

Rich recruited a world class team of former NFL coaches and former front office executives to build out this national event and partnered with the Pro Football Hall of Fame and its $700-million-dollar village to find the perfect home for this event featuring 5 NFL style turf football fields to be completed this summer and a 6,000-seat indoor football venue that will be completed in 2019. His vision was to create football equivalent of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, a cornerstone event in baseball that annually captures the heritage of baseball and the attention of the nation for two weeks every August through their television partnership with ESPN.


Why Was This Event Created?

Because youth football deserves a true credible national championship with every bell and whistle to celebrate the best teams in football and provide them with a big-time platform to compete – THE TIME IS NOW.


Because every day the debate rages about which youth teams are the best from every section of the country despite top teams rarely playing each other in real game competition – LET’S SETTLE THE DEBATE ONCE AND FOR ALL.   


Because any ranking system in youth football is eventually flawed given all the challenges inherent in youth football such as multiple leagues, scheduling, cost of travel and regional biases – WE BUILT A BETTER SYSTEM WITH FORMER NFL FORMER EXECUTIVES AND A BLUE-RIBBON PANEL THAT WILL SELECT THE TOP REGIONAL TEAMS FROM AROUND THE COUNTRY TO REPRESENT THAT REGION IN THE CANTON.   

Because youth football deserves an exciting three-week window where the entire nation watches the best in youth football and roots for their local teams like the Little League World Series – LET’S OWN DECEMBER.   


Because youth football deserves a world class character development program authored by the very best in football to help young boys become great men – LET’S MAKE SURE THAT CHARACTER IS NOT FORGOTTEN IN FOOTBALL.     


Because many top teams cannot travel to Florida due to cost, scheduling and the inability to miss school for a multiple days – WE PROVIDED ANOTHER EXCITING OPTION ESPECIALLY FOR TOP TEAMS FROM INDEPENDENT LEAGUES WHO HAVE LITTLE POST SEASON OPPORTUNITY.  

“We appreciate and respect the youth teams who travel to Florida and play in December, but there are hundreds of top teams who cannot travel that far including independent teams that have no post-season opportunity but to play in open jamborees. This event is an exciting option for top teams to play other top teams closer to home and earn the right to play for a national championship in Canton against the nation’s best.” -  Richard McGuinness.

About the Event


The championship series is broken down into two divisions – all-star division and team division.

The All-Star Division will feature 192 teams from all around the country made up of top athletes from that region that represent three age groups – 6th grade, 7th grade and 8th grade (we will provide an age cutoff date).  Teams are formed during the off-season and come back together to play in the post-season. A state director organizes the teams from each region and within each grade (6th, 7th and 8th grade) and hosts a try-out. Up to 30 players are allowed per team.

The League Team Division is made up of teams that play together throughout the regular season and stay together to compete in the post-season. Each team must demonstrate that they have the same roster from the start of the season (we will provide all teams with the needed documentation requirements) once they are added to Regional Watch List (see below).

The age groups for the Team Divisions are Tiny Mite, 8U, Mighty Mite, 10U, Junior Pee Wee, 12U, Pee Wee, and 8th Grade. The age and weight eligibility chart is included below.

george presenting the model

The Play In System

Teams from both divisions will compete in regional playoffs across the country between November 17th and December 3rd.

The regions include:

Chesapeake Region (S New Jersey, Maryland area) TBD

Mid- Atlantic Region (Sparta area, N New Jersey) Dec 1-3

Coastal Atlantic Region (Charlotte, NC area) Nov 17-19

South East Region (Atlanta area, GA) TBD

North Central Region (Canton Area, OH) TBD

South Central Region (Dallas Area, TX) Dec 1-3

Mid- West Region (St. Louis, MO) Dec. 1-3

Western Region (SoCal area, CA) TBD

Great Plains Region (OKC, OK) Dec. 1-3

Gulf Coast Region (SW Florida Area, FL) TBD

New England Region (Boston area, MA) TBD

See Weight/Age Matrix below. 

The Code of Conduct will be Strictly Enforced.

Age & Weight Matrix

Player Age as of July 31 2017


Weighted or Unlimited

Regular Ages

OL Ages

Regular Weight

OL Weight

Tiny Mite
5-7 Yrs Old
100 lbs
6-8 Yrs Old
Mighty Mite
7-9 Yrs Old
110 lbs
9-10 Yrs Old
Junior Peewee
9-10 Yrs Old
11 Yrs Old
130 lbs
110 lbs
11-12 Yrs Old
10-11 Yrs Old
12 Yrs Old
140 lbs
125 lbs
13-14 Yrs Old

The Team Selection Process
Ray Farmer, Chairman of the National Selection Team

Overseeing the national blue-ribbon selection team is Ray Farmer, former General Manager of the Cleveland Browns. A Duke graduate, former NFL athlete, front office executive and father to two young athletes, including a 9th grade wide receiver, Ray has a deep understanding and passion for athlete development from youth football to the NFL.

His nearly 15 years of NFL front office experience and cutting edge philosophy in scouting and athlete evaluation make him the ideal candidate to help select the nation’s best youth teams for this big-time event. Ray will oversee the team selection process and evaluation of all potential teams through game film, live evaluation and the criteria listed below. Supported by legendary high school coaches from around the country, regional scouts and aspiring front office executives breaking down hours of game film, Ray’s team will make the final selection of the top 8 teams to be invited per region to represent each age group (7 groups) and serve as the tie breaker when teams evaluation are similar.

Ray and his team have already started identifying top teams in each region based on last year’s success. His team has identified 25 pre-season jamboree events that will provide the start of this season’s team evaluations through live team evaluation and game footage.

Team selection will occur on a rolling basis until each bracket is complete. A few slots will remain open until the end of the season to allow for emerging teams who were not on the pre-season radar.

Any team that wants to be considered for a coveted bracket slot per region may email the selection team (below) and provide team information including game film.

Formal selection will be provided through a Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy Official Invite to be sent to the coach with a formal press release. Each team has 2 weeks to accept the official invitation.

Selection Criteria

The main selection criteria will include:

--Current Team Ability -  Live evaluation at pre-season jamboree events and game film evaluation by the national selection team throughout the season.

--Traditional Team Metrics - Win-Loss Record, Strength of Schedule and Standing within Conference.

--Team History – Strength of team’s overall program and prior year success.

--Team Explosiveness – Defined by the current ability to make big-time plays by their top athletes over the course of a season.


invite with helmet

Nominate Your Team

Top Teams Interested in Selection to the Big Dance

Please fill out this nomination form and we will contact you and evaluate your team. Please keep in mind the official selection criteria.


Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy Mission

  1. The Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy was created to empower athletes to succeed, to be excellent on game-day and to reach their destiny.
  2. Every athlete faces a unique and exciting journey. Core to this journey is the ambition for excellence. We believe that great players are made, not born.
  3. We bring together the nation’s best coaches from the NFL ranks, sports scientists and nationally renowned trainers to the best facility to imagine the future of training at every position. We built a very special place where this new facility-based training will live and where special athletes will be called to train.
  4. For today’s athlete, we combine the latest training technology, state of the art testing and master positional coaches from the NFL to create a world class curriculum for today’s middle school and prep athletes. This new training paradigm focuses on the entire athlete.
  5. The Academy lives at the new Pro Football Hall of Fame Village where excellence is the standard and to where the best are called by the very best to have ever played the game.
  6. For your journey, we invite you to a life-changing and career-changing experience at the new Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy headquartered at the Pro Football Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio.
  7. We are proud to extend the mission of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is to honor the heroes of the game, preserve its history, promote its values and celebrate excellence everywhere.
HOF'er Rod Woodson

Other Post-Season Events

In the end, we are supporters of the great game of football and want young athletes to play the game as safely and as much as possible. We believe we are the biggest and best national platform for your team if you qualify for regional play and would encourage you to not miss the nation’s biggest youth football event if selected.

However, there are other post-season events throughout the country run by many supporters and friends of ours who do a great job running great football events. As just a small number of teams are selected for our event and only a smaller number of teams move on to Canton for the Championship round, we understand and encourage you to register for other quality events as well.

The Pro Football Hall Of Fame Canton ohio

Quotes About the Academy

“We are thrilled to partner with LEGACY Global Sports and have an impact on the next generation of promising athletes. This youth championship series, the biggest in the history of youth football, will provide a platform for great competition while also imparting the values learned from this great game that will help shape their futures, on and off the football field.”

-David Baker, Pro Football Hall of Fame President & CEO

“This national showcase event will bring the nation’s top youth teams and youth athletes together like no other and it will serve as a cornerstone property for football in America. With eight regional events, a blue-ribbon selection team and a final stop in Canton, this is the ultimate program in youth football,”

-Rich McGuinness, General Manager of the Pro Football Hall of Fame Academy and Game for Life National Youth Football Championship


“Given all the talented teams from around the country, our national selection team and blue ribbon members are proud and excited to evaluate and select the nation’s eight top youth teams per region and by age group and seed them for exciting bracket play. After that, let the best win in Canton this December”

- Ray Farmer, former General Manager of the Cleveland Browns and Chairman of the National Selection Team – Game for Life National Youth Football Championship.

Stay to Play Hotel Information

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Game for Life National Championship Bracket Games has partnered with Pse Event Housing to provide attendees/groups with the best available hotel rates and a smooth booking experience.

Our event is a “Stay to Play” event:  A good working relationship with hotels is critical for the long-term success of our event. For this reason, teams or attendees who are traveling from out of town are required to book their rooms through our Official Travel Partner, Pse Event Housing, to ensure that our room blocks are utilized. In short, since the hotels are holding rooms for our event, we must use these rooms.


Lowest Available Room Rates:  View hotels and book online

North Central Region- Canton, OH (December 1-3): https://pse.tournamentho tels.com/pse/Event/1704

National Championships Canton, OH (December 14-17): https://pse.tournament hotels.com/pse/Event/1705


The best hotels will book up quickly so please book well in advance.