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Fall 2017


Fall 2017

FEATURED

8

All-American Scholars Honorees Take Over Philly

22

4  Letter from Jon Butler 6  Parent Corner Football Mom Christine Golic

16 Play Safer

Alec Baldwin Applauds Pop Warner Efforts

S  eason of Change Exciting Developments for 2017

POP WARNER LITTLE SCHOLARS, INC. 586 Middletown Blvd., Suite C-100 Langhorne, PA 19047

26 Q&A with Dion Lewis 28 Rebel Athletic Uniforms

Partner Spotlight

19 USA Football Pilot Season 36 New Companies Join Pop Warner Brain Armor, Genius Brands 20 Stay Focused on the Game International, Nfinity, Wilson Dick’s Sporting Goods Makes Administration Easy7

24 Cheer Coach Edition Creating Peak Moments

39 Pop Warner

Welcomes the Team

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR: Jon Butler NATIONAL FOOTBALL COMMISSIONER: Sam Mutz NATIONAL CHEER & DANCE COMMISSIONER: Lisa Moroski NATIONAL EVENTS MANAGER: Beth Dietz NATIONAL DIRECTOR OF SCHOLASTICS: Tim Boroski NATIONAL RECRUITMENT & GRANT COORDINATOR: Kevin Allen BUSINESS PARTNER COORDINATOR: Phyllis Farruggio EDITORIAL CONTENT: CTP DESIGN/LAYOUT: Ignite2X POP WARNER PHOTOS: Gerardo Mora

For Pop Warner info, visit: PopWarner.com © 2017 Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Printed in the USA. All rights reserved.


LETTER FROM JON BUTLER As we prepare to kick off Pop Warner Little Scholars’ 89th season, I want to welcome you to the inaugural issue of our digital magazine. As one of the nation’s oldest youth sports organizations, we have a large Pop Warner family with millions of alumni and more than 325,000 student athletes currently participating in our special brand of football, cheer and dance. Add to that the thousands of parents, coaches and volunteers who contribute so much to make sure the experience is rewarding and fun for the kids. Because of that, Pop Warner Little Scholars has long been a model for so many sports organizations worldwide. This past season was no exception. The number of young people participating in Pop Warner remained steady and, in fact, we experienced growth in a number of areas. We also continue to make exciting strides in our unending mission to make football safer and better through important, forward looking rule changes and concussion education that we think will improve player safety at every age group and keep the game moving forward. Our progress on this front is led by our independent Medical Advisory Committee, which keeps us current on the latest evidence-based medical studies. For instance, we were encouraged by a recent study from JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) Neurology, which 4 / INSIDE Pop Warner

found that, on average, there was no “... significant harmful association between playing football in high school and increased cognitive impairment or depression later in life.” This study offers some much-needed balance to the coverage on this important issue. We have no doubt that our game is safer today than it was even five years ago. We continue to learn more about the best ways to enhance player safety. In May, we honored more than 7,000 Pop Warner All American Scholars who demonstrated the value of balancing academics and sports. They each achieved at least a 96% average in school. We know there were thousands more who also did well with strong report cards. On the field, hundreds of teams from Hawaii to Florida, California to New England, and everywhere in between competed for championships, culminating in another spectacular week at Disney World for our National Cheer & Dance Championships and Pop Warner Super Bowl. We know everyone will be working hard to reach ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, Dec 2-10. We are fortunate to have so many great people contributing so much to our mission of bringing young people the benefit of team activities in a safe and structured environment. So, twice a year we’re going to provide news updates, fun features, and helpful information through this digital magazine and also through our

monthly e-newsletter. I hope you enjoy it and we look forward to you sharing welcome your story ideas. with us. Again, thank you for being part of our proud Pop Warner family.

Jon Butler

Executive Director Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc.


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PARENT CORNER

Christine Golic is a football fan, advocate and wife. Most importantly, she is a football (and swim) mom. She has been married for 30 years to Mike Golic, a former NFL defenseman and a popular ESPN analyst and on-air personality. Their two boys, Mike Jr. and Jake, played football at University of Notre Dame and their daughter Sydney swam for the Irish. Chris and Mike were honored this year at our All American Scholar Banquet with the Gold Football Award for their service to youth, community and humanity. Here she offers her personal take on being a sports parent.

FOOTBALL MOM Christine Golic It’s easy as a parent to get caught up in youth sports as if they are much bigger than they are. Our job is to support the team, the coaches and all the kids on the field, including our own. Be the role model that our kids need. And most importantly, the time our children are young goes by so fast. It goes so fast and it’s over in the blink of an eye. Take time to enjoy the little moments no matter how chaotic daily life is for you. Encourage your kids to dream big and work hard to achieve those goals, but write those goals in pencil because very few get the fairy tale ending. No matter what your child’s dream is, go into it as a parent being as supportive as you can, but also be flexible with your expectations of how the story will ultimately be written. Like they say, life happens while we are busy making other plans, and man, it’s so true, so just try to enjoy the ride! Coaches can do so much to encourage our young people to enjoy sports. They really do hold the future of the game in their hands. So it’s important that the experience they help create for our young people playing football – or cheering and dancing – is positive and nurturing. As a mother of three athletes who had big dreams, I did everything I could to help them achieve their goals. The one thing I was naive about, though, is that I believed every person who came in contact with my children would want to help them reach their goals. That’s just not true. What should never change, though, is your unconditional support and love for them as they pursue those dreams.

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ALL-AMERICAN SCHOLARS BANQUET

ALL-AMERICAN SCHOLARS

TAKE OVER PHILLY Pop Warner honors young student-athletes along with NFL, Olympic and Media Award winners Our calendar is chock full of special weekends throughout the season. One of the most special, though, happens during the off-season when we gather to celebrate young people who exemplify what it means to be a Pop Warner student athlete. During our 57th Annual All-America Scholars Banquet in Philadelphia in May we honored the scholastic achievements of 7,000 Pop Warner students who earned All American Scholar status by achieving at least a 96% average in school. We also handed out more than $100,000 in college scholarships. Pop Warner also presented awards to distinguished leaders in professional and amateur sports for their unique commitment to athletics, education, community and our nation’s youth.

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and support of Pop Warner both locally award is a credit to the dedication of “As an organization built on promoting and nationally. our youth football department, led by the dual values of academics and Jared Muela, to teach sound technical athletics we are proud to celebrate the “For a storied football organization football skills and our organizational incredible achievements of our young like Pop Warner to recognize our commitment to use grassroots football student-athletes who have shown as much organization in this way in an incredible to support inclusive development of dedication in the classroom as they do honor and one that I know is appreciated children throughout the Bay Area in playing sports,” said Jon Butler, Pop by everyone who works for the 49ers,” and beyond.” Warner Little Scholars’ executive director said 49ers President Al Guido. “This . “We’re also honored to celebrate the leadership The 2017 Pop Warner Little Scholars our award recipients have Award winners included: shown in their sport and their community. These San Francisco 49ers: recipients are exceptional NFL Team of the Year and have shown the good for excellence in the community that happens when we all New England Patriots tackle Nate Solder: help others.”

Inspiration to Youth Award

The San Francisco 49ers were presented with the NFL Team of the Year Award, presented annually to the team that has demonstrated commitment

Philadelphia Eagles guard Brandon Brooks: Inspiration to Youth Award  lympic hockey player Lyndsey Fry: O Female Achievement Award Former NFL defensive lineman and ESPN personality Mike Golic and his wife, youth football advocate Christine Golic: Gold Football Award INSIDE Pop Warner / 9


ALL-AMERICAN SCHOLARS BANQUET

Nate Solder, who was drafted in 2011 by

the New England Patriots and has won two Super Bowls as Tom Brady’s starting left tackle, received one of two Inspiration to Youth Awards presented tonight. Solder graduated from University of Colorado with a degree in biology and physiology. He was the recipient of the 2016 Ed Block Courage Award for his devotion to helping others and the inspiring strength he shows in tackling obstacles both on and off the field, from his own battle with cancer to the support he and his wife are providing their son Hudson in his own battle. Nate has been involved in community programs, including school-based programs and shelters in New England and building projects in Italy and Guatemala. He also has been active in supporting the Jimmy Fund, YMCA’s Integration Initiative, Fresh Truck and the NFL’s My Cause My Cleat’s initiative.

Brandon Brooks, who started

14 games for the Eagles in 2016 and more than 44 games for the Texans over the previous three seasons, accepted the Inspiration to Youth Award, presented to an individual who has inspired the youth of today to become great achieves of tomorrow. Brooks holds a degree in Psychology from Miami University in Ohio and has begun work on his MBA. He has spoken publicly about his battle with anxiety and hopes his openness about anxiety will help those who are also dealing with it. Brooks created an indelible memory for a pair of Eagles fans when he surprisingly accepted an invitation to their wedding. He has been described as a “affable, highly cerebral, a young renaissance man who is not averse to trying new things and stretching his intellect.” 10 / INSIDE Pop Warner


Lyndsey Fry accepted the Female

Achievement Award, given to a woman who has demonstrated remarkable strength of character and leadership in attaining achievements in her life that inspire others. The first native Arizonan to make a U.S. Olympic hockey team, Fry won a silver medal at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, and then returned to Harvard for her senior year. She also won Gold with Team USA in the World Junior Championships. After graduating from Harvard with a degree in History of Science, Fry enrolled at ASU in an MBA program, and also is the director of Lyndsey Fry Hockey, an organization that offers hockey camps, private instruction, and community support.

Mike and Christine Golic

accepted the Gold Football Award, presented to an individual or group with a distinguished record or service to youth, community, and humanity. It was created to emulate the award given by the PALO Club for the most outstanding football player on the West Coast, which is named for “Pop” Warner. Mike, who after graduating from Notre Dame, went on to play eight seasons in the NFL and is co-host of ESPN’s Radio’s wildly popular show, “Mike and Mike”. Chris, his wife, is a member of the Heads Up Football Advisory Board and NFL spokesperson for the program. She travels across the nation helping football families learn about the game and helping to ensure that the game of football is made as safe as possible. They are the parents of three children, two boys who played football at Notre Dame and a daughter who was a Varsity swimmer at Notre Dame.

During their Scholar Tribute events over the weekend, Pop Warner athletes also heard some inspiring messages from Villanova University All-American defensive back Rob Rolle, defensive tackle Ricky Young and Head Coach Mark Ferrante about the importance of balancing the demands of academics and athletics. INSIDE Pop Warner / 11


We aim to the be a forward-looking organization, constantly evolving and challenging ourselves and our partners to make our programs safer and more fun.

SAM MUTZ NATIONAL FOOTBALL COMMISSIONER

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Hollywood Star Applauds Pop Warner Efforts With progressive rule changes, enhanced education for coaches, parents and players, and a commitment to making the game safer and better, Pop Warner Little Scholars has been a leader in player safety across the sport of football.

Click to learn more and watch the video

16 / INSIDE Pop Warner

Breaking through the clutter to deliver that message is not always easy. Fortunately, we received a little help this year to share some important safety information. It came from popular, awardwinning actor Alec Baldwin, who teamed up with the man he played in the movie Concussion, former NFL team neurosurgeon – and

longtime chairman of Pop Warner’s Medical Advisory Committee – Dr. Julian Bailes. The two men, along with Baldwin’s former high school teammate, starred in a public service announcement (PSA) to educate parents, players and coaches about concussion awareness and the advanced player safety measures Pop Warner Little Scholars has implemented.


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Pop Warner League Takes Part in USA FOOTBALL PILOT SEASON Will shrinking it for the youngest kids help grow our sport? approach to introduce tackle football to kids. We applaud USA Football for taking this valuable step in looking for ways to improve the game at the youth level.”

A proud Pop Warner partner, USA Football recently introduced Rookie Tackle, a small-sided version of the sport that will be piloted in 11 youth programs this fall. Among the pilot leagues spanning nine states is Hill Country Pop Warner in Austin, Texas. Shadowing innovation that a number of youth leagues have exhibited for years, USA Football’s Rookie Tackle game formally aligns our sport with the U.S. Olympic Committee’s American Development Model. Designed to introduce young athletes to tackle football, Rookie Tackle bridges flag and traditional 11-player tackle. “The game of football has evolved tremendously over the last several years,” said Pop Warner Executive Director Jon Butler. “This is a common-sense

Rookie Tackle is a small-sided version of the sport which may be an option for youth organizations to teach and introduce tackle football skills. Similar models are found in other sports, including tee-ball to “coach pitch” to “player pitch” in baseball.

The goal of the pilot season is to learn how players, parents and coaches embrace its concept and how it may be improved as part of a long-term athlete development pathway for football.

A brief video about Rookie Tackle with USA Football Executive Director Scott Hallenbeck may be viewed here. “Rookie Tackle has the potential to enhance the social and physical benefits that football provides young athletes today,” said Pro Football Hall of Fame Coach Tony Dungy. “As a coach, I see not only a pathway for the development of youth players, but also a pathway for youth football coaches.”

ASPECTS OF A ROOKIE TACKLE INCLUDE:

Six, seven or eight players on the field per team

Field size scaled for youth players

Players learn multiple positions and skills; position-specialization is not introduced Smaller teams foster more playing time and opportunities for improvement, success

Players on offensive and defensive lines begin every play in a two-point stance

Removal of special teams to encourage more plays from scrimmage and skill development To learn more about USA Football’s Rookie Tackle pilot season, visit www.usafootball.com/rookietackle. INSIDE Pop Warner / 19


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Season of

Change Exciting

developments for 2017 We’re pretty confident that Socrates, the Greek philosopher, never picked up a football in his life or performed a roundoff handspring. But as an organization now in our 89th year and always looking to improve from one year to the next, we think he got this one right, “The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

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The sport of football has experienced modest changes over much of its nearly 150 years; cheer and dance certainly a bit more in their time. In the last seven years alone, though, Pop Warner has led the way with revolutionary changes aimed at making the experience even better for our student athletes.

And 2017 is no exception. “We have long been focused on making the Pop Warner experience as fun, safe and rewarding as possible,” said Pop Warner Little Scholars executive director Jon Butler. “While we are the oldest football, cheer and dance organization in the nation we also aim to be a forward looking organization, constantly evolving and challenging ourselves and our partners to improve.”


There is lots happening on the CHEER AND DANCE side, in particular: • Cheer and Dance teams can declare and compete in two routines in 2017 • We’ve added the Hip Hop Division for 2017 • We’re proud to welcome three amazing Spirit Sponsors: Rebel Athletic, SpacePOP and Nfinity • SpacePOP Movie Release in movie theaters in September and the SpacePop HalfTime Challenge for TM MM teams in September • Rebel Dream Bus - working to attend region and national events • Youth Cheer and Dance Alliance Global Games announced for Jan 2018 for recreation teams • Construction will be finalized on a new 8,000-seat cheer and dance venue at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in time for National Championships in December

For FOOTBALL we’re also adding some new rules that we think will enhance player safety and make the games more balanced. • Wilson Sporting Goods has signed as the official football • Though Mitey Mite is meant as a fun development division for the youngest kids, a local Champion can now be declared beginning this year if a league chooses • We’re participating in USA Football’s pilot Rookie Tackle program with our Hill Country, Texas association to experiment on a small-sided form of the game that introduces young players to tackle football. It consists of six, seven or eight players per side on a 40-yard-by-35-yard field with a clear focus on skill development and fun.

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CREATING PEAK MOMENTS CHEER COACH EDITION

Welcome to the 2017 Football Season! For many of you, this is a return to the familiar rhythm of coordinating with cheerleaders and parents, rushing to the practice field after work, late night crockpot (or fast-food) dinners and packing the vehicle for ALL types of weather - from extreme practice heat to freezing night games! For those of you who are new to cheer, coaching or Pop Warner – WELCOME to the ride of a lifetime! This may sound a bit dramatic now, but just wait… After being asked to contribute to the inaugural issue of Inside Pop Warner, the hardest decision was selecting a topic. Should I address cheer camps; clinics; practice agendas; team drama; competition; or ever evolving cheer rules, grids and scoring? No. I’ve decided to go back to basics. About the Author: Marty Grogan is a Parent; CFO JAMZ Cheer & Dance; Co-Founder of YCADA; Author of Mom, we need a coach; Engineer.

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Many of us began as a parent of a daughter whose team needs a coach. On the first day of practice, we each arrive with varying levels of knowledge about this sport. No matter our starting point, we pressure ourselves to advance from schmo-to-pro sometime between August 1st and our Conference Competition. After all, we’re held accountable for the placement of our team, right?


This thought process brings me to my chosen topic: Creating Peak Moments. Yes, of course rules, quality practice and proper education are important. Without these fundamental elements, our sport would not exist. But in 2017 I believe we have an even higher mission. We are setting the standard of expectation for our cheerleaders. Since they are young, every coach they have hereafter will be compared to us. This standard will not be measured just on how well versed we are in the sport of cheer, or how many competitions they win, but also in how they FELT after leaving practice or a game or a competition. We want our kids to STAY in Pop Warner Cheerleading for as long as possible. If our words or actions cause them embarrassment, insecurity or self-doubt they may elect to not return next season or possibly choose to never participate in youth sports again. This is not to say we mustn’t hold disciplined practices or quickly correct misbehavior. Our job is to learn early in

coaching the art of balancing WORK with FUN. These are not adults. If kids don’t remember an experience as fun, they won’t want to do it again. Let’s each set a GOAL to create peak moments in our kids’ lives. For the bargain price of registration our Pop Warner Cheerleaders can experience their first cheer practice, first uniform fitting, first rally, first night game under the lights, first competition and first standing ovation from the home crowd. THESE are PEAK MOMENTS that will never be forgotten. YOU can create these ‘firsts’! Our kids will want to return next season because of the experience created by YOU! I know we’re all volunteers and at times the weight of responsibility is heavy. But let’s remember to insert unforgettable FUN into our daily interaction with these kids. It will never be forgotten. Welcome to 2017! Make every experience count! They’re counting on you.

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DION

Q&A LEWIS Q: What is your favorite Pop Warner memory? DL: My favorite Pop Warner memory would have to be the time we played a playoff game in a blizzard. We actually ended up losing but it was a great experience playing in a snow storm at 11 years old. The whole field was covered in snow and parents had to come out and shovel the lines on the field.

Q: Tell us about your first Pop Warner Coach/Team? DL: The first Pop Warner team I played for was called the South Troy Trojans. We had a pretty good team. I was 9 years old and it was my first time in full pads playing tackle football. I think this is when I fell in love with the game of football. 17 years later and I am still living out my dream.

Q: Who was your biggest rival when you were a kid? DL: My biggest rival during my Pop Warner days had to be South Colonie, which is a suburb of Albany, NY. They always had a really good team and you always knew you had to bring your A game every time you played them. We would always have a tough game against them during the regular season, and we would always see them again in the playoffs.

Q: Are you still in touch with any of your Pop Warner teammates? DL: I played Pop Warner with two people who are still my best friends til this day. Pop Warner football has been a big part of my life, and I have so many great childhood memories from it. The relationships you make in Pop Warner are relationships that will last a lifetime.

Q: How do you think playing Pop Warner influenced your football career? DL: I believe my days playing Pop Warner had a tremendous influence on my football career. Pop Warner is where my love for the game started. To be able to put on pads and play the game you love with your best friends is something I will never forget. I had a dream to play in the NFL, and through hard work and dedication, I achieved my goal. Young children who are playing Pop Warner can be anything they want to be. Whether you want to be a Doctor, a lawyer, or play in the NFL, you have to work hard and always keep your eyes on the prize.

New England Patriots running back Dion Lewis has won a Super Bowl and was an All-American at University of Pittsburgh, but some of his best memories are from playing Pop Warner in Albany, NY

Winslow Townson / AP 26 / INSIDE Pop Warner


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NEW PARTNER SPOTLIGHT

GET A LITTLE REBELLIOUS with New REBEL

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ATHLETIC Uniforms


Earlier this year Pop Warner embarked on an exciting new partnership with Rebel Athletic, the luxury uniform provider with the most custom offerings available in the youth market. Under the new partnership, Rebel becomes the Official Cheer Uniform Supplier, as well as a Participating Sponsor in the Academic All-American program. Rebel Athletic and Pop Warner both have missions that transcend the sport, as they are committed to helping shape young people away from competition. Pop Warner is the only national youth sports organization that requires mandatory academic progress to participate, and Rebel has taken a bold leadership stance against bullying.

“Beyond the excitement our cheer and dance participants and coaches have expressed about the amazing range of quality uniform options they’ll now have, we are proud to partner with a like-minded organization that is sincerely committed to working with kids on important issues like bullying,” said Jon Butler, the executive director of Pop Warner Little Scholars. “We are thrilled to enter into a new partnership with Pop Warner Little Scholars, one that will allow both companies to excel at what they do best in the youth cheerleading community,” said Karen Noseff Aldridge, president of Rebel Athletic.

“Rebel’s focus will be on providing a ‘#RebelLevel’ experience to all those we touch in the Pop Warner organization – from cheerleaders to coaches, parents to spectators - across all of Pop Warner’s activities in the eight regions. Rebel’s goal is always to exceed customer expectations at every level - across the spectrum of unbeatable service, design customization, product choice, quality and amazing value. As a company that champions the development of the sport at all levels, what we’re most proud of is our alliance with an organization whose primary focus is on scholastic aptitude and on providing scholarships for the next generation of athletes and leaders.” Click here to contact your Rebel Athletic Pop Warner Territory Director today.

Hear what one coach has to say about Rebel Athletic

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On August 1st, our teams begin the ultimate challenge in their sport to qualify for a National Championship but what matters most to the Pop Warner family is the journey to become a scholar, an athlete and a teammate.

LISA MOROSKI NATIONAL CHEER & DANCE COMMISSIONER

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WILSON, BRAIN ARMOR, GENIUS BRANDS and NFINITY Join the Pop Warner Family of Partners

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NEW PARTNER ROUND-UP

In this Season of Change era, Pop Warner has undertaken an initiative to forge relationships with the most forward-thinking companies to work jointly in enhancing the youth sports experience. Brain Armor is a plant-based DHA Omega-3 supplement specifically designed for athletes to maximize performance. Brain Armor optimizes cognitive and visual performance by supplying up to 1,871 mg of DHA per serving. DHA represents 97% of the Omega-3s in your brain and has been clinically proven to support brain, eye and heart health. BRAIN ARMOR is NSF certified for sport and is a regular part of many professional and elite amateur athlete and team conditioning programs. Brain Armor is powered by life’sDHA™ a patented plant source of DHA grown in an FDA-inspected facility.

our content in an entirely new way that our fans around the world will love,” commented Stone Newman, President, Global Consumer Products, Worldwide Content Sales & Marketing at Genius Brand. “These routines will motivate and encourage girls of all ages to get up and be active with SpacePOP!”

Nfinity Athletic is now on board as the official cheer footwear and backpack partner. The company specializes in the unique biomechanical needs of the female athlete to enhance their athletic performance.

As the world’s first and only brand with a core focus on designing and engineering lightweight, high-performance athletic footwear for female athletes, Nfinity’s continued goal is to strengthen its The hit music-driven tween series SpacePOP is coming to Pop Warner as position in the sports of the official music provider of the cheer women’s basketball, cheer and volleyball. and dance program. SpacePOP music will be utilized in Pop Warner’s dance and cheerleading workshops, camps, games and at competitions across the country through the end of the year, Wilson Sporting Goods has joined Pop culminating in the national championships to be broadcast Warner as the official football. As part of across a family of ESPN networks. the agreement, every Pop Warner team will Multiple Grammy Award-winning producer and music veteran Ron Fair (Fergie, Mary J. Blige, Black Eyed Peas, Pussycat Dolls, Christina Aguilera and more) together with his singer songwriter spouse Stefanie Fair (founding member of RCA’s girl group Wild Orchid with Fergie) created the SpacePOP theme music; and veteran music producer and composer John Loeffler (Kidz Bop, Pokémon) created the songs that will be incorporated into the routines. “The creation of original choreographies, cheer and dance routines to the remixes of the SpacePOP songs will showcase

play with the Wilson TDY, TDJ and K2 for Region Championships across the U.S. and at the Pop Warner Super Bowl & International Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in December. “Pop Warner’s dedication to young athletes across the nation is tremendous and mirrors our own love of and commitment to sports,” said Kevin Murphy, General Manager, Team Sports, Wilson. “We look forward to actively working with Pop Warner towards further enriching their football programs and supporting coaches and young student-athletes as they pursue their athletic goals.”

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Be Unstoppable with SpacePOP Your OfďŹ cial Cheer & Dance Music Sponsor

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THESE AREN'T

YOUR FATHER'S FOOTBALL Don’t get us wrong, Panini America still makes your father’s football cards, too – and they’re still way cool. But some of Panini America’s newest creations represent true next-level stuff and offer a real-life sneak peek into the future of sports card collecting. As the exclusive trading card partner of Pop Warner, the NFL and the NFLPA, all of us at Panini America have a keen appreciation for traditional trading cards. In fact, making them is what we do better than any other manufacturer on the planet. But we also always have at least one eye fixed firmly on the future . . . on what’s next. And what’s next, quite frankly, is here right now.

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CARDS In recent months, Panini America has introduced two new initiatives – the NFL Blitz Digital Trading Card App and the Panini Instant real-time trading card platform – that offer a futuristic twist on a timeless hobby. Here’s a quick breakdown of both:

PANINI NFL BLITZ DIGITAL TRADING The Panini NFL Blitz Digital Trading Card App offers a dynamic, next-gen spin on traditional trading cards. It brings the NFL’s greatest stars, hottest rookies and most legendary Hall of Famers right to your smartphone with digital versions of Panini America’s best trading cards, including Digital Autographs and Digital Memorabilia cards. The NFL Blitz App is about so much more than just collecting your favorite players and teams. It also provides weekly contests using the real-time game stats of all players. Field your best starting lineup from players in your digital collection and compete to win weekly prizes. Beyond that, NFL Blitz allows users to socialize and trade with fans and collectors from around the world. Download the free app now so you can be ready for all the action of the 2017 NFL season.

PANINI INSTANT Panini Instant offers a revolutionary twist on traditional trading cards by featuring unique trading cards produced in real-time and on-demand. Each week during the NFL season, Panini Instant honors the biggest performances from the biggest games with made-to-order trading cards featuring photography and statistics from those games. Many times, there will also be autographed versions of these special cards. When the New England Patriots defeated the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Panini Instant delivered special cards of Tom Brady, Julian Edelman, James White and more the very next day, incorporating Super Bowl photography. The cards are available to order for just 24 hours. Once the window closes, they’re no longer available. It’s a real-time revelation that must be experienced to be believed. Of course, if the traditional trading card scene is still your collecting avenue of choice, you can bet that Panini America will always provide the most innovative and collectible products on the planet, complete with authentic autographs and memorabilia. You can check out our complete selection of trading card products 24/7 by visiting iCollectPanini.com. Be sure to keep up with everything we’ve got going on by following us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and The Knight’s Lance, the official blog of Panini America. We’re proud to be the exclusive trading card partner of Pop Warner and wish you the best of luck this season and beyond.

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Inside Pop Warner (Fall 2017)  

Our inaugural issue of Inside Pop Warner Magazine (Fall 2017) with a recap of the 2017 Pop Warner Scholar Banquet, tips from our National Pa...

Inside Pop Warner (Fall 2017)  

Our inaugural issue of Inside Pop Warner Magazine (Fall 2017) with a recap of the 2017 Pop Warner Scholar Banquet, tips from our National Pa...