The Cleveland Browns continue to grow the game of football in Ohio by supporting Rookie Tackle, and last Friday, they strived to grow the program even more through a Rookie Tackle Meet & Greet, where youth football coaches gathered at CrossCountry Mortgage Campus to learn about the program and how to start one or join an existing one.
Eight existing leagues and prospective coaches were in attendance and heard from Cleveland Browns Youth Football representatives and a panel of three Rookie Tackle coaches who have taken on responsibilities, such as commissioner and league directors. The panel consisted of Duane Koczan, Great Lakes Youth Football President; Greg Marmaros, Chagrin Valley Conference Rookie Tackle Director; Jason Dunn, Cleveland Muny Football League Director. The discussion was moderated by Chuck Kyle, the Cleveland Browns Youth Advisor and legendary former St. Ignatius football coach.
Koczan spoke directly about his experience since joining the league in 2017: "In the beginning, we had to sell the product; smaller cities were having a tough time fielding teams even though everyone was playing flag football the year before. Parents weren't comfortable with the idea of tackling. So, we did the Rookie Tackle pilot programs and got good feedback from the parents.
"Our numbers have jumped, probably 60 percent alone from Rookie Tackle, and parents love it now. We now have some moms wanting to coach."
Marmaros then focused on the growth in youth football participation since starting their Rookie Tackle journey three years ago, and Dunn added that he expects the numbers in Cleveland Muny league and overall Rookie Tackle programs to double for a second consecutive year.
Following a presentation and Q and A, all members were invited to tour the facility, socialize with fellow coaches and discuss the Rookie Tackle program in detail. Prizes such as autographed footballs were raffled off, and everyone left with Rookie Tackle materials.
Eight coaches won 20 new Xenith helmets for their 2023 Rookie Tackle team. To receive the helmets, coaches must complete theUSA Football Youth Coach Certification.
Since 2017, Rookie Tackle has risen to over 2,400 players, with more teams and leagues welcomed for the 2023 season.
For more information on Rookie Tackle and how to get involved, visit us online.