This the time of year when the "Middle School Elite" players get a chance to test their skills against teams from all over the country. The mission is simple, "Win Out". The players have been chosen for their football I.Q., Size, Speed, Play Making Ability, and overall Power Ranking in the Middle School Ranks. The players come from every corner of Indiana with this seasons core coming from the Southern Indiana Region. The coaches are selected for their experience and demeanor with the players; as opposed to a win at all costs mentality. The coaches however bring success to the ranks of Indiana Select with Championship Hardware and accolades to rival any youth program in the Nation. The teams this season are ready to compete for the National Championship Crown and will be invited to additional tournaments and/or games in San Antonio at the conclusion of the season through our affiliate partner USA Select National Youth Football League. The teams will regroup, breathe, analyze the season, and make decisions on whether to continue the journey to Texas or to move on to other sports. Many families participate in wrestling and basketball as well.
As the 2019 Football Program's start to ramp up, Friday Night Lights begin to illuminating the night skies around the country, and all the coaches are charged up for yet another run; my mind shifts to the Elite Middle School National Championship season.
Football is a tradition in the Cole household but never replaces academics. My oldest son was one heck of a football player and decided after his freshmen year that pursuing a football scholarship was not the top priority in his life. He dominated on the field but never veered off track and maintained a 4.5 GPA and used his academic prowess to get accepted into Notre Dame in South Bend Indiana. This made me so proud to have witnessed him play and make a fundamentally sound decision. I am really proud of this guy! My youngest son maintains a 3.75 GPA and was named Indiana All State as a sophomore defensive back. He will have to make the same decision and hopes to get offers this year to make it easier. No matter what he does on the field the grades are ultimately what he has to fall back on.
"As a parent I want my son to start varsity as a freshmen. This is a lofty goal and translates into thousands of dollars for camps, combines, training, and All American games. When I found out I could have my son try out for a team that would be comprised of the best-of-the-best then I was sold. I got a return on the investment because of the extra practices, games, scrimmages, and superior competition. I am a football fanatic and realize the importance of practicing when the rest of the state has forgotten about football. I do not care if my son ever plays a down or plays his favorite position. I just care about the experience and if this experience can help him get a shot on Friday night. One extra year of Friday Night Lights is worth it 100%. My son Rylan started at tight end his first year and had never played tight end in his life. He was a safety and running back. The second year for the 8th Grade Team Indiana FBU he started at safety. Bottom line is my son started varsity as a freshmen and is All State as a sophomore at safety. He is also a running back in High School and scored 14 touchdowns. This is why you sign up for Team Indiana, Team Indiana FBU, or Team Indiana Select. No matter which team you choose your son will get the experience and high level competition he needs to get onto the field earlier", (Cole, 2014).
The quest to field the best team in the country is no easy task. Scouting the "best-of-the-best" is not easy when there are other programs recruiting in the same area and thus saturating the talent pool. The search for players becomes a ground roots approach and canvassing the entire state is a must.
During my Indiana Select scouting routine; I decided to contact a youth director Michael Dabney for some help. Dabney is a youth sports advocate from my hometown of Bloomington Indiana and is a person I can trust. Michael Dabney managed to recommend several players to Indiana Select, all of which turned out to be tremendous contributors from the start of the season to the end.
I plan on writing articles about all the players and have only gotten one written so far about stand out DE/TE Tysen Smith to this point. (More Players articles to come)
Cole Cundiff is just one of those players you love to have on your team. This student athlete always works hard in practice, sponges up information, and is eager to learn new technique. Cole was recruited to play for the Indiana Select 6th grade tournament team. When we got the group together he stood out because of his size. He is 6' tall and weighs 160 pounds. This is unusual for this age group and I immediately walked to him and asked his age.