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Patriots kick off USA Football 'Play Football' campaign

The New England Patriot sand USA Football, the sport's national governing body on youth and amateur levels, will host 2,500 youth football players from Sharon Pop Warner, Brookline-Jamaica Plain Pop Warner, Norfolk, Medfield and Millis Pop Vikings Pop Warner, Wellesley High School and Boston public high schools on August 22, 2008 to celebrate the "Play Football ... it's more than a game" campaign.

The 2,500 youth football players have been invited watch the Patriots take on the Philadelphia Eagles in a preseason game on the 22nd, where they will be acknowledged and honored. Two teams from the Sharon Pop Warner organization will also be on the field during the singing of the national anthem and then participate in an on-field scrimmage during halftime. These youth football players are among 100,000 youngsters who will attend preseason games nationwide as part of "Play Football" through team-donated tickets. The August 22 game also will feature in-stadium promotion through banners and public address announcements.

USA Football is also distributing "Captain's Packs" free of charge through to the first 5,000 youth football leagues wishing to recognize youngsters' leadership qualities. By receiving a free Captain's Pack, youth coaches obtain 25 "C" Captain jersey patches, 200 helmet decals, and 25 Captain's Pledges that a young player signs as a commitment to good sportsmanship.

The "Play Football" campaign will feature "I Played" public service announcements, featuring six everyday professionals in their respective work environments united by the leadership and strong character traits they gained by playing football – a sport that employs teamwork to attain success. The "I Played" television message invites viewers to to share memories of playing football and how the game has enriched them as people.

"As a Pop Warner coach myself, I see the valuable lessons that can be taught to our youngsters through the sport of football," said Andre Tippett, the executive director of community affairs for the Patriots. "Football can teach kids how to be disciplined, how to deal with adversity and how to work in a team environment. We couldn't be more proud to celebrate youth football and all of its participants at our last home preseason game."

In addition to promoting football's values, the Play Football campaign also celebrates the sport's rising participation figures. According to the independent sports marketing firm The Bonham Group, 3.2 million youngsters ages 6-14 played tackle football in 2007, up from 3.0 million in 2006.

About USA Football
USA Football, the national governing body of America's favorite sport on youth and amateur levels, hosts nearly 100 football training events per year offering education for coaches and game officials, skill development for players and resources for youth football league administrators. The independent non-profit manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competitions. Endowed by the NFL and NFLPA through the NFL Youth Football Fund, USA Football is chaired by former U.S. Congressman and professional quarterback JACK KEMP.

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