FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (August 25, 2010) - Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc., the world's largest youth football and cheerleading organization with more than 400,000 participants and the only youth sports organization that emphasizes academics as a prerequisite for participation will celebrate the start of football season and the NFL's and USA Football's Play Football initiative by conducting the fifth annual Pop Warner Nationwide Kickoff hosted by the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA. The event will include a ceremonial kickoff by Greater Boston-area Pop Warner participants before Thursday's New England Patriots vs. St. Louis Rams preseason game. Jonathan Kraft, President of the New England Patriots and 2006 recipient of Pop Warner's most prestigious award - the Warner Award, will be joined by NFL Hall of Famer, former New England Patriots linebacker and current Patriots Executive Director of Community Affairs Andre Tippett to participate in the event and conduct a pre-kick pep talk.
"The New England Patriots are proud to be recognized as the Official NFL Host of the Pop Warner Nationwide Kickoff. Pop Warner's commitment to teaching youth the game of football and balancing their success on the field with success in the classroom is unmatched. We are proud of our long-standing support of Pop Warner," said Jonathan Kraft, President of the New England Patriots.
The New England Patriots will support Pop Warner in their Nationwide Kickoff event as the Official NFL Team Host by incorporating additional Play Football festivities into the event. Those activities in addition to the Nationwide Kickoff will include recognizing the eight Pop Warner New England Teams that qualified for the 2009 Pop Warner Super Bowl prior to the National Anthem including: Boston Raiders, Worcester Vikings, West Lynn Rams, Shrewsbury Colonials, Stratford Redskins (CT), Bridgeport Raiders (CT), Fairfield Giants (CT) and New Haven Steelers (CT).
Pop Warner Pee Wee teams (9-11 year-olds) teams from Foxboro, Mansfield, Taunton and North Attleboro will participate in an eight-minute scrimmage at halftime and more than 4,000 complimentary tickets to the game will be distributed to local Pop Warner organizations.
"Around the country, thousands of Pop Warner administrators, coaches and parents will take to football fields and spend countless hours teaching kids the game of football and the long-lasting values learned through teamwork, hard work, sportsmanship and perseverance. We are grateful for their commitment and volunteerism," said Andre Tippett, Pro Football Hall of Famer and Executive Director of Community Affairs, New England Patriots.
The Pop Warner Nationwide Kickoff is expected to involve more than 20,000 children (ages 5-15) taking part in ceremonial kicks across the country, while the kick from Gillette Stadium will take place at 4:00 PM (ET). The ceremonial kick is designed to celebrate the start of the football season, promote participation in youth football and coincides with the start of the Pop Warner season and road to the Pop Warner 54th Super Bowl and 23rd National Cheer & Dance Championships at ESPN's Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, FL. The ceremonial kick will be conducted with a commemorative Spalding football, the Official Football of Pop Warner and select programs across the country will also use the commemorative football.
"The New England Patriots have been long time supporters of Pop Warner and we are excited to have them serve as the Official NFL Host for the 2010 Nationwide Kickoff. "We also wish Coach Kraft and Coach Tippett the best of luck in their Pop Warner seasons," said Jon Butler, Executive Director of Pop Warner. "The Pop Warner Nationwide Kickoff gives programs across the country a chance to celebrate the start of the season as they begin their road to the Pop Warner Super Bowl and National Cheer and Dance Championships while simultaneously enabling Pop Warner as an organization to take a proactive role at the grassroots level of participating in the NFL's and USA Football's Play Football initiative," added Butler.
About Pop Warner:
Founded in 1929 and headquartered in Langhorne, PA, Pop Warner Little Scholars is the world's largest youth football, cheerleading and dance organization and the only youth sports organization that emphasizes academics as a prerequisite for participation. Currently there are over 400,000 children in Pop Warner organizations in 43 states, Guam, Scotland, Germany, Russia, Japan and Mexico. The NFLPA estimates that 70% of all current NFL Players got their starts in Pop Warner programs. For more information on Pop Warner and its programs visit www.popwarner.com. Join us on Facebook or follow Pop Warner on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/PopWarner.