The Denver Broncos, in conjunction with American Family Insurance, are proud to announce the start of the eighth season of Futures Football. Futures, which started with Denver Public Schools in 2008, is a tackle football program for middle school students in both Denver and Aurora Public Schools. Every high school football program in DPS and APS has a corresponding 'feeder' middle school Futures program coached by the high school football staff.
Futures Football, presented by American Family Insurance, a Madison, Wis., based insurance company, helps the Denver and Aurora High School football coaches develop strong relationships with their student-athletes before high school. The program, which takes place every spring and kicks off this week, is designed to help student athletes improve both athletically and academically through an intense practice and game schedule along with character development education.
"Eight years ago when we started Futures, football was on its way out of Denver Public Schools," said John Andrew, Manager of Athletics for DPS. "We were struggling with our numbers and many of the high schools didn't have enough kids to fill a varsity, junior varsity and freshmen roster. Over time, we have not only quadrupled our numbers, but we've become a lot more successful on and off the field because of the Futures program."
Each team, made up of 35 student athletes, also participates in a five-week character development course led by local non-profit Project PAVE. Through innovative intervention and prevention education programming, Project PAVE instructors have designed a curriculum specifically for middle school football players that will focus on team values, healthy relationships, character development, positive conflict resolution and other relevant topics.
With practice starting this week, teams will begin to prepare for a five-week regular season with three weeks of postseason play to follow in April and early May. Participating teams in Denver Public Schools include: Abraham Lincoln, Denver East, Denver North, Denver South, Denver West, George Washington, John. F. Kennedy, Montbello, Manual and Thomas Jefferson. Participating teams in Aurora include: Aurora Central, Gateway, Hinkley, Rangeview and Vista Peak. All teams will wear Broncos branded team uniforms but in corresponding high school team colors.
"Futures Football saved our program," said Leon Garcia, head football coach at Denver West High School. "Our program was in serious trouble but Futures was able to jumpstart our numbers and overall passion for the game. And because of the character development that our team will receive this spring, we can provide a solid foundation, on and off the field, for these young men as they transition into high school."
At the conclusion of the Futures spring season, the Denver Broncos and American Family Insurance will host a banquet for all coaches and players at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. The student athletes will enjoy dinner, awards presentations and a highlight reel from each leagues championship weekend.
Like Futures Football, American Family Insurance is dedicated to inspiring and protecting the dreams of local high school students, their families and communities and is proud to support this storied program for the first time. The support from American Family Insurance will ensure the positive on-field experience for the coaches and players involved.
"American Family is proud to partner with the Denver Broncos to inspire young dreamers in Colorado," said Tom Pietras, Marketing Event Manager. "These fearless young dreamers are an inspiration to all of us with the hard work, dedication and persistence they are willing to put into their chosen sport at such a young age. These are qualities that are important not just in athletics, but life."
Based in Madison, Wis., American Family Insurance offers auto insurance, homeowners insurance, life insurance, health insurance, business and farm/ranch insurance in 19 states. American Family insurance is the nation's third-largest mutual property/casualty insurance company and ranks 373rd on the Fortune 500 list. Web: www.amfam.com; Facebook: www.facebook.com/amfam; Twitter: www.twitter.com/amfam; YouTube: www.youtube.com/amfam.