Army All-American Bowl – Youth excellence for the future

Army All-American Bowl – Youth excellence for the future

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Greetings from the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), our Army’s association for education and professional development and a major supporter of the Army’s Soldier for Life efforts.

I had the opportunity to start this New Year with soldiers and their leadership in San Antonio, Texas, for the annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

SMA Dan Dailey, retired sergeants major Jack Tilley and Ken Preston, the 12th and 13th sergeants major of the Army respectively, and CSM David Davenport, Training and Doctrine Command. (Photo by Sgt. Jonathan Fernandez)

The All-American Bowl, for those who have never heard of the venue, is recognized by many as the nation’s premier high school football all-star sporting event.

For 19 years, the All-American Bowl serves as the pre-eminent launching pad for America’s future college and National Football League (NFL) stars.

Each year, the top 100 high school football players are selected from thousands of players in nearly 200 high schools across the country to form two all-star teams for this competition.

These 100 high school football players come from east and west coast schools to form the two elite teams.

A total of 351 All-American alumni have been selected in NFL drafts including star athletes including Tim Tebow, Mark Sanchez, Odell Beckham Jr. and many more.

The 2018 All-American Bowl recorded more than 4.4 million television viewers of the NBC televised game, making this event America’s most-watched high school sporting competition.

Since 2003 when the first two All-American athletes publicly announced their signing with a major university, hundreds of all-star athletes have followed in their footsteps.

The 2018 All-American Bowl included 42 of the top 50 overall recruits in the country.

After college, many of these all-stars head to the NFL where more than 200 All-Americans currently play.

Since the start of the All American Bowl, 52 All-Americans wear a Super Bowl ring; eight of these All-Americans played for the Super Bowl World Champions – the Philadelphia Eagles.

For those interested in statistics, two Heisman Trophy winners and 16 Heisman finalists were All-American players.

Additionally, there have been 11 NFL Rookies of the Year, with six of these in the last five seasons, who played as All-Americans.

The selection process to identify the top 100 high school football athletes from across the country begins the season.

On Jan. 29, 2018, several weeks after this year’s bowl, the All-American Selection Committee released the list of class of 2019 graduates set to play in next year’s Jan. 5 game presented by American Family Insurance.

The list includes the names of 17 outstanding high school football players nationally ranked among their peers.

As an example, Kayvon Thibodeaux of Oaks Christian High School in Thousand Oaks, Calif., is ranked as the number one defensive end in the country.

The research and selection process continued until all 100 high school football athletes were identified.

The 2019 All-American Bowl is already scheduled for national television on NBC from the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.

In addition to the selection process for football athletes, the focus on excellence among high school students includes high school band members.

Each year, the top 125 band members are selected and invited to participate at the bowl game during halftime. These 125 members included one drum major, 24 color guard members and 100 marching musicians.

All the halftime shows have featured patriotic themes and have evolved to become one of the key highlights of the game.

The excitement for these students begins in the fall of each year when each athlete and marching band member is honored during a celebratory event at their high schools before their classmates, teammates and bandmates, family members, school administrators and teachers, and the media.

Beginning in September, the Army recognizes 225 high school seniors, football players and band members, for excellence.

Of every eligible senior football player and band member, only the best of the best is selected and honored as All-Americans.

Recognizing these young men and women before their high school student bodies are Army recruiters from local recruiting stations across the country.

Recruiters performing these presentations in front of students, family members, staff and faculty present the Army in a different venue by recognizing students of excellence for their athletic, instrumental and academic achievements.

Committed and dedicated students who have achieved excellence have the same unique qualities sought after for growing our future volunteer Army.

Seeing the Army in this venue firmly plants the idea of military service as a potential career opportunity where this idea may not have been an option previously in a young person’s mind.

While recruiting soldiers of excellence is the mission of our recruiters, your Association of the United States Army is focused on professional development and education for retaining our Army’s best and brightest for the future.

The Army has evolved and adapted to an ever-changing complex world where we live and work.

A U.S. Army soldier marches recruits onto the football field at the Alamodome where they took their oath of enlistment before the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. (Photo by Sgt. Ian Valley)

Recruiting the best and brightest young people today establishes the foundation for the Army to grow our leaders of tomorrow.

Today, more and more of the Army’s missions on the ground involve small teams that are part of a multi-component Army, joint and interagency.

Your association is aligned to help support the development of young leaders who have a broad understanding of strategic missions, have an understanding for all the complex pieces of an operation and can apply critical thinking to a wide variety of options.

Down to the sergeant level, critical thinking young leaders must be focused on meeting the commander’s intent for any operation.

In many of the professional development sessions, I am asked about the role of our Army’s professional association and the value it provides to leaders of all ranks.

Junior and mid-grade leaders often ask me if they should become involved in an Army military oriented or veteran service organization and what the professional development, educational or leadership value is for a sergeant or a captain to become a member.

My short answer is YES!!!

Whether these leaders are Army National Guard, Army Reserve or Regular Army, I always say yes! Get involved!

Soldier- and leader-focused organizations are great places to meet new friends, stay active in your military and civilian communities and learn a little more about something of interest to you.

Whether you are considering joining a cultural, social or professional organization, I recommend you check it out and learn about its history, mission and what the organization can do for you.

When you find an organization you really like, get more involved in its activities, contribute your time and, if you desire, grow into leadership roles in the organization just as you have done in your Army career.

The Association of the United States Army’s young professional focus is targeted on junior and mid-grade officers, noncommissioned officers and Army civilians.

In support of these young professionals, this month we celebrate the one-year anniversary of “Soldier Today!” our twice-weekly e-letter distributed to all our uniformed and retired soldier members.

Young professionals have asked for professional development, leadership, education and mentoring from their professional association.

“Soldier Today!” will continue providing the information our soldier-members want and need to remain current and competitive in their profession and their occupational specialty.

Your feedback, old and young, helps us shape this digital publication. Keep pushing us to provide you leader book notes that count and make a difference.

If you are not receiving “Soldier Today!” and want to be added to the distribution list, send your email address, preferably a civilian email address, to

Also, the Association of the United States Army’s chapters serve as the interface between the Army and the local communities surrounding our military bases.

AUSA’s 121 chapters provide opportunities for members to volunteer alongside many corporate sponsors and businesses throughout the community in support of local chapter goals.

All the members of an AUSA chapter are volunteers who have jobs, families and other responsibilities, but are passionate for supporting our Army, our soldiers, Army civilians and their families.

So, the great advantage of these associations why not just AUSA is everyone who volunteers a little gains much more back in fellowship, connections, networking, communication, education and mentoring.

These volunteer opportunities provide younger and older professionals with the opportunity to network and build relationships in preparation for their transition into the civilian sector.

Everyone in uniform, at some point in his or her career, must transition to a new chapter in life outside the Army.

Employers today look for professionals who can multi-task, or do multiple types of jobs and tasks.

Employers also look for those professionals who thrive and excel in what many might consider busy lives, and even stressful environments.

The secret of these young professionals is their gradual growth and involvement in education and professional organizations above and beyond their daily jobs.

Becoming part of and contributing to a professional organization is a great addition to any resume, and provides the opportunity to gain some real world experience beyond any military occupational specialty.

Serving in leadership or committee-level positions further demonstrates your abilities to efficiently and effectively prioritize tasks, manage time and see projects through to completion.

Keeping engaged in community-based activities beyond your daily job allows you to learn many more broadening skills that will make you smarter and wiser.

The reason we have the greatest Army in the world is because we have the greatest soldiers.

The legacy of service of each of our veterans who has worn the uniform of a soldier is passed on from one generation to the next.

So if you are on the fence and not sure if you should join the Association of the United States Army, check us out at

The experiences will be worth your time and energy, and you’ll come out with lasting memories and a host of newly acquired skills.

Now more than ever America’s Army needs AUSA, and AUSA needs your membership support.

Membership is the volume knob to ensure your voice is amplified many times over and heard throughout the halls of Congress, from sea to shining sea across this country, and throughout every small town and community in-between.

Keep America’s Army Strong! Take a Stand!

Still Serving, Still Saluting!