What is the difference between the Youth Heads Up Football program and the Coach Membership program?

With both programs, coaches have access to the USA Football Youth Coach Membership (Learn about the benefits of a Youth Coach Membership here). Key differences include cost, level of training, and organizational commitment:

Heads Up Football is a USA Football organizational membership program designed to create a better, safer game. A key component of this program includes coaches activating a Coach Membership and completing the only nationally accredited, football-specific certification course. Members of USA Football’s Medical Advisory Committee and Football Advisory Committee as well as content from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) helped guide USA Football in the creation of the Heads Up Football program and its curriculum.

The Coach Membership program is targeted to organizations that may not plan to certify all their coaches, are not interested in, in-person football-specific and health & safety training from USA Football, and/or cannot meet requirements laid out in the the Heads Up Football program's Terms and Conditions.


Heads Up Football program

Coaches activate Youth Coach Memberships at the Heads Up Football-rate of $10 ea. ($15 off the standard price).

Coach Membership program

Coaches can activate Youth Coach Memberships at the group-rate of $20 ea. ($5 of the standard price).

*Please note, under both programs coaches are activating the exact same online Coach Membership containing identical resources and insurance benefits.


Heads Up Football program

Organizations that participate in the Heads Up Football program receive in-person and online training from USA Football.

In Heads Up Football, an organization nominates a someone to be trained, locally, in-person for a full-day by USA Football in the key educational components of the program: Concussion Recognition & Response, Heat Preparedness & Hydration, Sudden Cardiac Arrest, Proper Equipment Fitting, and Heads Up Tackling & Blocking Technique. We call this person a Player Safety Coach and the training events are called Player Safety Coach Clinics. Player Safety Coaches are trained by USA Football Master Trainers. After being trained by USA Football, Player Safety Coaches are tasked with educating head coaches from their organizations in the Heads Up Football components so Heads Up Football can be implemented in practices and games. During the in-person training by USA Football, Player Safety Coaches are given instruction and guides to assist in sharing the player health & safety and football fundamentals content from the Heads Up Football program with coaches in their organizations. In addition to educating head coaches, Player Safety Coaches and head coaches are responsible for incorporating the Heads Up Football material into existing parent meetings, or if no meeting exists, setting up meetings to present this material.

In addition to an organization’s Player Safety Coach being trained in person by USA Football, all head and assistant coaches are expected to register for a $10 Coach Membership and  complete the Level 1 Coach Certification Course or Recertification Quiz. This online certification reinforces the material a Player Safety Coach and head coach will cover regarding the key components of Heads Up Football.

Coach Membership program

Coaches whose organizations participate in the Coach Membership program, receive the same Coach Membership as coaches whose organizations participate in the Heads Up Football program—this includes access to the same certification courses. Organizations participating in the Coach Membership program are not required to have all of their coaches certified, nor do they have the opportunity to get a Player Safety Coach trained in-person by USA Football. The Player Safety Coach is a benefit exclusive to organizations participating in Heads Up Football.


Heads Up Football program

Each participating organization is tasked with the following:

  • Each organization must register for the program online and agree to the Terms & Conditions.
  • Nominate the right person to be the Player Safety Coach (PSC).
  • Player Safety Coach must complete the following responsibilities:
    • Become certified by USA Football’s Level 1 Coach Certification (Deadline: Labor Day).
    • Attend a one-day, in-person USA Football Player Safety Coach training clinic annually (Deadline: Aug. 16).
    • Conduct a Heads Up Coaches clinic for all head coaches.
    • Conduct a Heads Up Parent Meeting for all parents and players.
    • Mentor coaches, players and parents in elements of Heads Up Football in-season by attending practices and games.
  • All coaches (head and assistant) register for a USA Football Coach Membership, which includes Level 1 certification courses and member resources.
  • All coaches annually complete the Level 1 Coach Certification Course or Recertification Quiz.
  • Require each player’s parent or legal guardian to execute a legally valid waiver and release naming USA Football as a released party.
  • Maintain a minimum of $1 million general liability and $25,000 accident and health insurance policies, submitting a certificate of insurance to USA Football and naming USA Football as additionally insured.

Coach Membership program

Organizations make no commitments to USA Football when they participate in the Coach Membership program.


To see the answers to more, common Youth Heads Up Football questions, check out the FAQ attached to this article.

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