Working with USA Football is a dream come true for Head Football Coach Aaron Brady, and has allowed for further development in his players.
Sending Malvern football players halfway around the world to play in China or making football an Olympic Sport are lofty goals for any person involved in the game of football.
However, Malvern Prep’s Head Football Coach Mr. Aaron Brady is working to achieve these goals among others with USA Football.
According to its website, USA Football is American Football’s national governing body and also a current member of the United States Olympic Committee.
“It has the role of growing the game at the amateur level,” Senior Director of Business Development at USA Football Mr. Garrett Shea said.
“The more you are around people who have had success, the more you can be successful yourself.”
-Coach Aaron Brady
“The goal of USA Football is to make the game of football better and safer for all that play,” Shea said. “So for the athletes, the coaches, the parents, the organizers – how do we make the game of football better, but also safer?”
USA Football works with mainly high school, middle school, and youth athletes in all genres of football – from tackle to flag to 7-on-7 games.
Shea said that the organization works hard to educate players, but coaches especially, to play the game “better and safer.” He said that coaches need to be educated in order for the players to grow.
“For a player to become better and safer, they need to have constant coaching and mentoring,” Shea said. “It is the coaches who are going to make the players better and safer in the long term.”
Through camps and international games, USA Football also provides plenty of opportunities for players to get better and to play against top competition regionally, nationally, and even internationally. The organization brings in top high school, collegiate, and even professional coaches to work with the players.
That is where Coach Brady enters.
In 2009, after having extensive coaching experience at top schools, including Georgetown, Clarion, Mansfield and Duke, Brady was invited by Shea to coach the defensive line at the International Bowl, a series of games where different USA teams play Canada.
Shea has known Brady for almost 20 years. He played Division I football with Brady at Rutgers University, where Brady was an all-Big East linebacker.
After college, Brady got into coaching, where Shea followed his career. When Shea got to USA Football, 7 years ago, he gave Brady a chance to coach top high school athletes at the International Bowl.
According to Shea, Brady loved the experience he had at the event and wanted more.
“He got exposed to USA Football and what we stand for from the value standpoint and our character,” Shea said. “He is in it for a lot more than just football on the field.”
Coach Brady was hooked once Shea brought him to work another international event, a week long training camp that included teams from Sweden and Mexico.
“He loved the environment. He loved the impact we are having on players, parents, and coaches, and he loved the international side,” Shea said.
Since then, Brady has been a coach in 8 international games. This includes being the head coach of the American team that won the International Federation for American Football U-19 world championship in Kuwait.
He also coaches at various training camps. He went to a camp this winter in New Orleans to coach women’s international teams who are preparing for the upcoming IFAF Women’s World Championship in 2017.
“My group did the running backs,” Brady said. “We had a Hungarian, a girl from France, China, Japan, England, Brazil, and some Americans. It was wild.”
One of Brady’s long term goals at USA Football is to make American football an Olympic Sport. But, in order for that to happen, it would have to be a men’s and women’s game as well. As a result, Brady focuses on building up the women’s game through USA Football events.
Shea said that American Football is now recognized by the International Olympic Committee, meaning it would have a chance at becoming an Olympic sport. Shea acknowledges that this process will take time, but USA Football is working hard to open up a conversation with their work with women’s and international football.
Brady also runs several Regional Development Camps that bring in regional players and work them out for 2 days. The players are evaluated and also coached by top college coaches at these camps. Brady has coached at 3 out of the 26 camps this year, including Charlotte, Milwaukee, and Tampa Bay.
Brady said that players from those camps are selected to go to events in the summer, in which players play against each other over 5 different events. The best players from those camps are chosen to play on USA Football’s various international teams, including the International Bowl games that take place during the winter at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
Sophomore Tackle Joe Basiura was one of these players selected in 2015. He played for the USA team that beat Canada 49-7. This experience helped Basiura grow and develop as a player.
“Meeting the new athletes and coaches was a great time, and learning the different ways that coaches coach was a great way to broaden my exposure to different play types,” Basuira said. “When I was down there, we ran a similar offense to what we run at Malvern, but the technique was a little different so I was exposed to a wider range of technique and playing style.”
Brady said that experiences like these are good for any of his players.
“The opportunity to play someone from another country is great because it is an unknown,” Brady said. “When you go play the Haverford School or Germantown Academy, you kind of know who they are when you are playing them. When you’re playing against Japan or Canada, it is a whole different world.”
Brady explained that his involvement with USA Football has opportunities for his other players as well, as he helped to set up a USA Development Camp at Malvern. The camp took place in July 2015, hosting players from 15 different states.
Sophomore starting quarterback Kevin Doyle went to the camp. He enjoyed the experience of playing with kids from different parts of the country, like California, Louisiana, Florida, and even Texas.
“The camp really helped me get an understanding of the competition not only on a regional level, but a national level as well,” Doyle said. “I also liked how the format of the camp was over a few days so that it was not all jammed pack into one day.”
Doyle said the camp made him better as a quarterback, and gave him exposure.
“I also think it helped give me exposure and had people acknowledge my skills along with their skills being acknowledged as well,” Doyle said.
Brady is thankful that Malvern Prep has allowed him to continue his relationship with USA Football, not only for his career but for the opportunities it has opened up for his players.
He said that USA Football experiences like the USA Development Camp and the International Bowl are great for the development of his players at Malvern.
“The opportunity for our guys to play against other top-level athletes but also to get the coaching, to be around people that have success or who are successful, it is like math, or a project or a violin,” Brady said. “The more you are around people who have had success, the more you can be successful yourself.”