Prior to their Week 15 victory over the Washington Commanders, the Los Angeles Rams hosted representatives from six local youth tackle football programs for a visit to NFL Los Angeles, the home of NFL Network located right across from SoFi Stadium. During the visit, with the support of USA Football and Riddell, the Rams surprised the group with a $75,000 donation for equipment and coaching certifications. The donation was announced live on NFL GameDay Morning, the segment can be viewed here. This season, the Rams have partnered with USA Football, the sport's governing body, to provide $120,000 in grants to local youth and high school football programs to grow the game of football.
The Rams are driven by the fact that talent is equally distributed, but opportunity is not. The organization is committed to growing the game of football by providing access and opportunity for all youth across Los Angeles. Through various programs, leagues and free camps and clinics, the organization has exposed over 40,000 youth throughout the Southern California region to opportunities within the game of football.
"We view football as a platform that addresses education inequities, youth justice and mentorship. Our goal at the Rams is to enhance opportunities for all youth to create pathways through sport and ensure that the game is growing for all members of the community," said Johnathan Franklin, Rams director of social justice and football development.
The Rams continuously use football to unite communities. By supporting youth football programs coached by Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) officers serving youth in local public housing developments, the Rams not only provide access to opportunity but also bridge the gap between communities of color and law enforcement. The Watts Rams and North-East Lincoln Rams are coed youth football programs that give 350 youth the opportunity to see police officers as human beings and mentors. The Rams fund all football components for the programs including uniforms and equipment as well as provide access to engagement opportunities with the Rams organization.
The North East Lincoln Rams and Watts Rams were among the six programs that will benefit from Sunday's donation. The other programs that will benefit include the Anaheim Rams, Antelope Valley Rams, Conejo Rams and Los Angeles Rams. Participants reach from LA's Inland Empire to Ventura County and down to the San Diego region.
Since returning to Los Angeles in 2016, the Rams have supported over 20,000 youth tackle and flag football participants through school districts, leagues and non-profits. They also have launched leagues and restored sports in communities where football was not previously present through Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation, local Boys and Girls Clubs and Salvation Army sites. The Rams have provided flag kits, jerseys, cleats and resources to many programs through sponsorship.
With programs such as their annual High School All-Star Flag Football Tournament, Beyond the Bell Flag League and Girls Flag Football League of Champions, the Rams aim to expose young girls and boys to the sport through flag football. In partnership with organizations like Bridgestone and USA Football, the Rams have hosted flag football jamborees and skills clinics with 165 girls' flag teams for over 3,300 total young athletes.
The Rams know that football develops strong character, as well as physical and mental health and wellness. The same standard holds for excellence in the classroom. The Rams encourage young athletes to stay focused off the field through programs such as the Rams Academic Challenge and RISE with the Rams that motivate goal setting, self-discovery, work ethic and cross-cultural unity.
In addition to reaching aspiring athletes, the Rams provide coaches with educational opportunities to best support the next generation. Through coaching clinics and shadow programs, the Rams have supported over 300 schools and more than 700 coaches across Los Angeles.
Albertsons/Vons/Pavilions also supports the Rams High School Coach of the Year which recognizes a nominee from their High School Coach of the Week winners. The Coach of the Year is recognized in an on-field moment at a Rams game and awarded $10,000 for their football program.
In partnership with Riddell, USA Football awards up to $2 million annually through its grants program to flag and tackle programs. The youth programs that received the donation also are provided access to coaching certification. USA Football's coach certification is the only tackle football certification accredited by the United States Center for Coaching Excellence (USCCE).
Through their youth and high school football efforts, the Rams have provided over $1 million in total funds to help inspire Los Angeles youth to see opportunities within and around the game of football.
To learn more about the Rams efforts to grow the game of football through connecting with local youth, please visit https://www.therams.com/community/.