HOF World Youth Championship Week

HOF World Youth Championship Week

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This week is the HOF World Youth Championship Week. It’s going to be an incredible weekend when 70 teams, 1,700 players from around the globe, will travel to Canton.

The event will host the top youth football teams from across the country and throughout the world from December 14-17, 2017. The games will take place at the National Youth Football & Sports Complex and Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.

“The Hall’s great leader Dave Baker called me up a few years ago and realized that I was looking for a new adventure,” said Rich McGuinness, Director of the tournament. “Mr. Baker talked about the Little League World Series and someday this will be youth football. So, this weekend is all about the vision that’s going to add the best kids in America, playing on the best teams at eight different ages levels. Playing regional football all the way to Canton, Ohio for the first ever Global National Youth Championship.”

The majority of teams for the inaugural World Youth Football Championships qualified for the weekend through competition over the past two weeks in regional play. The qualifying rounds took place in Locust Grove, Georgia; Sparta New Jersey; Middletown, Delaware; Alton, Illinois; Desoto, Texas; Canton, Ohio; Oxnard, California; Santa Rosa, California.

“The chance for the best youth football teams to visit the Hall, learn about the values of the Game and the walk onto their field of dreams at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium for their chance to play the greatest game of their lives in front of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is something that will impact them for the rest of their lives,” said Hall of Fame Executive Producer and COO George Veras.

“It is not just about winning or losing, but it is a moment in time for all the players to feel part of something that will forever live in football history to say ‘we were there at the first one ever” just like those 17 Hall of Famers that were first enshrined in 1963.”

The selection process was headed by former NFL General Manager Ray Farmer and National Collegiate Scout Gary Howard. More than 500 teams were considered. Over 100 teams were selected this past fall at an announcement event that featured guest appearances by NFL stars, Hall of Famers and Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 semifinalist Ray Lewis. 

“We’ll have teams coming in from all over the country,” said McGuinness.  “We have 71 teams. Teams from Hawaii, Mexico and all parts of the country. We’re really excited about this event finally coming to fruition.”

On Thursday, all teams will participate in national media day, a red-carpet ceremony and the Game for Life program that will provide character development to all athletes and coaches. Media Day takes place at the Goodyear Theater, 1201 East Market Street, Akron, Ohio on and includes an appearance by Gold Jacket Mike Haynes.

Coaches, players and tournament directors will be made available to the media during the following times.

2:00 PM – 3:00 PM: 7U & 8U
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM: Mighty Mite & 10U
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM: J Peewee & 12U
5:00 PM – 6:00 PM: Peewee & 14U

Media may also cover the red carpet and welcoming ceremonies taking place from 6:30-8:00 pm (7U-10U) and 8:30-10:00 PM for (PeeWee-14U) at the Goodyear Theater.

On Friday and Saturday at the National Youth and Championship Fields, the 50 teams will play two games to advance to Championship Saturday and Sunday. This momentous inaugural event will be 81 games.

The championship schedule is as followed on Sunday:

8:00 AM – 9:30 AM 8U Division National Championship Game 
10:00 AM – 11:30 AM Mighty Mite National Championship Game 
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM 10U Division National Championship Game 
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM Junior Peewee National Championship Game 
4:00 PM – 5:30 PM 12U National Championship Game 
6:00 PM – 7:30 PM Peewee National Championship Game 
8:00 PM – 9:30 PM 14U National Championship Game 

“This is going to be unbelievable,” said McGuinness. “I think all of these kids are going to pinch themselves when they walk in that championship game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.”

All championship games will be streamed live on the subscription OTT service SportsLive. Two championship games (14U and 12U) will air on CBS Sports Network on Jan. 1 from 2-5 PM, ET. The championship games will take place Sunday in the brand new Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium, a major component of the nearly $800 million Johnson Controls Hall of Fame Village under way on the Hall’s campus.

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