2014 AYF National All Star Game Highlights
Photo Courtesy of Ken Sheppardson
The 2014 AYF National All Star game was action packed and full of surprises as was the entire week of festivities as we closed out 2013 and laid the foundation for the upcoming 2014 season.
The AYF National Staff, Coaches, Football Players, Cheerleaders, Volunteers, and Parents were all treated to participate alongside the Semper Fidelis All American Bowl featuring the top High School Seniors in the country. The top 8th Graders in the country got a chance to shine as they competed in an East West showdown prior to the high school game on the grass of the Stub Hub Center in sunny Southern California. The West pulled out the come from behind victory with an electrifying touchdown play with ten seconds remaining on the clock, and defeated the East 25 to 24. The previous year’s game ended in a 30 to 30 tie, so the AYF 8th Graders showed how competitive they are year over year. We compete on an off the field, as is the focus of AYF as we continue to build tomorrow’s leaders.
The week was tightly scheduled and featured the following activities: Tour of the USC Campus, Family Style Dinner at Buca di Beppo, Skype Session with NFL player DeSean Jackson and Screening of his documentary “DeSean Jackson: The Making of a Father’s Dream” produced by his brother Byron Jackson and Sports Rhythms, Byron was a teammate of AYF National Commissioner Dee Grayer at San Jose State University – That all took place on Day two, and yes, football practice was also included. The East and West football teams and the Cheerleaders practiced at Crenshaw High School following the USC Campus and Athletic Facility Tour. The coaches also finished the night with team meetings. This first full day set the tone for the week and gave the participants a glimpse of the time management and dedication needed at the next level, and they all embraced it and handled it greatly as they displayed the passion and love they have for the game. The teams were transported daily via the PT Limo Party Bus to all events, practices, and activities, thanks to Patrick Turner and his team for providing fun, first class transportation for the teams.
Day Three started with a Media Day and Shop Day at Dick’s Sporting Goods in Huntington Beach, where the players received more swag, conducted interviews, and purchased game day accessories and apparel. Following the Media Day, the teams hit the field and returned to the beautiful turf field of Westminster High School on a beautiful 80 degree Southern California day and the competition turned up as players were now focused and trying to win a starting position, “We want our kids to compete in all they do and earn the playing time, as we are preparing them for high school football camp and this is setting the work ethic that they have as they are now competing against the best.” said Dee Grayer. Following practice the players had some time to rest, attending team meetings, and got ready for the Annual Team Bowling Challenge at Concourse Bowling Center. The Bowling Night featured teams made up of Staff, Coaches, West All Stars, East All Stars, and Cheerleaders – The winning team was Team #11, they edged out the AYF National Staff /All Star Bowling team. Thanks to Dick’s Sporting Goods for providing the prizes and the Annual Bowling Pins were presented to the Head Coaches for the East, West, and Cheer teams respectively, Tim Carerra, Lawrence Lee, and Linda Atkins.
Day Four was all about football and cheer as the final practice day was here. The AYC Cheerleaders put the final touches on their incredible routines, dance performances, and sideline crowd pumping cheers and chants. The football players reviewed game plans, special teams, and final preparations. After that all 9 hours of install were completed and it was time to change gears once again. The PT Limo Party buses left Westminster High School and took the players and cheerleaders to the beach where they enjoyed lunch provided by Jersey Mike’s Subs, walked to the Pier, and had fun in sun in the sand and shoreline of Huntington Beach. Following the beach, the players prepped for the Annual All Star Banquet at Dave and Busters in the Showroom. They were treated to a Keynote Address from AYF President Joe Galat, insights from AYF All Star Director Craig Karahuta, AYF National Membership Director Shannon Shy, and AYF Football Commissioner Dee Grayer, capped off with inspiring words from the Coaches and Staff, posed for another Paparazzi session, enjoyed a wonderful pre game dinner, and had unlimited game play for the duration of the evening.
Game Day! This day is what it was all about. Day stared out with Breakfast, followed by team meetings/walk through, then loading the buses, then getting dropped off under the stadium, then to the locker room, then to pregame warm-ups sporting their AYF uniforms provided by Bolt Athletics, and AYC uniforms provided by Team Leader, then to introductions, then to Game Time, then to post game activities/photos, followed by the Annual AYF All Star Tailgate with food by Dog Gone Good Catering (Yummy!), then on field recognition and VIP Seating for the High School game, then back to the Hyatt Regency Orange County. Just like that the week was over. A week that started with a welcome address by Major Kavan O. Lake of the US Marine Corp in the exclusive Players Lounge. The entire AYF and AYC family performed admirably and have a lifetime memory that they will never forget as they embraced the experience and were part of one the most educational weeks of their youth football and cheer careers.
We hope to see you all next year at the AYF National All Star Game!
Past AYF All-Star Games
Read on a below for a general summary of previous years' American Youth Football All-Star events. For information on how to get involved in this years' festivities contact the National Office today.
2011/12 Under Armour All-Star Game
AYF and AYC athletes were given the opportunity to ring in the New Year at the AYF All- Star Game! The 2011 season culminated with the All Star performance at the Tropicana Dome in Tampa, Florida. This event brought 72 of the top 14 and 15 year old AYF Football Players from across the nation to participate in the All America festivities and play for the All Star Title. It also brought 20 of the top Cheerleaders to cheer them on! Starting their journey at the Walt Disney World's Yacht and Beach Club, AYFers stepped into style as they got fully geared up in Under Armour's apparel and uniforms. After practices at ESPN's Wide World of Sports, players relaxed in the Players Lounge where they watched bowl games, played Ping Pong, and video games while getting to know each other. During the week, AYFers got to cheer on the nations top high school recruits at the Under Armour Skills Challenge. The kids had the opportunity to support them again during the Jersey Presentation where they learned about the importance of working hard. Later in the week, AYF players got to meet NFL Stars including Herman Edwards, Deion Sanders, Chris Weinke, Steve Mariucci, Keyshawn Johnson, and the greatest surprise of all – Cam Newton!
As Game day approached, AYF All Star families and fans gathered in the Tropicana Dome Field level hospitality area to cheer on the East and West coast teams. The AYC cheerleaders had an incredible half time performance and multiple routines that they learned in just two days. Final score of the game was West 42 vs East 8.
Following the AYF Game, AYF football players led the Under Armour ALL America High School Players on the field for their introductions-- chest bumps and high fives got the High-school players amped up for their own game.
Watch the 2012 video recap here.
See the 2012 image gallery below.