2014-03-21 / Team Leominster

Top Experts to Lead Flag Football Clinics

STORY BY
CHERYL A. CUDDAHY

When David Fried received the invitation to spend two days in Leominster, conducting flag football player and coaching clinics, he eagerly accepted.

Fried, considered one of the nation’s top flag football experts and advocates for the sport, has traveled around the world promoting the game he loves to people of all ages. His youth teams have participated in the NFL FLAG National Championships for the past fifteen years, earning six national championships.

“I love this game. I love what the game teaches our young people and that it provides an opportunity for anyone, male or female, to play”, explained Fried. “I treasure any chance I have to share my knowledge and to promote and develop the game”.

Fried, a South Florida native, will be joined by Jorge Cascudo, a two-time member of the U.S. Men’s Flag Football National Team and fellow U.S. Flag & Touch Football League (USFTL) Hall of Fame inductee, as clinicians during the free flag football clinics scheduled for next weekend, March 29 and 30. The clinics will be offered by the Leominster NFL FLAG program at no charge to students in kindergarten through high school and to the new league’s coaches, officials and parents as an introduction to the game.

The free player clinic will be divided into two sessions on Saturday, March 29 with kindergarten through sixth grades from 10 a.m. To 1 p.m. and seventh grade through high school from 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.. Registration will be open at 9 a.m. for the first session and will close at the start of the second session at 1:30 p.m. Both sessions will be held at historic Doyle Field in Leominster.

On Sunday, March 30, Fried and Cascudo will lead a coaching clinic for all volunteer coaches, game officials and interested parents. The clinic will run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and participants may register by emailing LeominsterNFLFLAG@hotmail.com.

Cascudo, like Fried, has spent most of his adult life traveling in the U.S. and internationally playing the game he loves and earning a reputation as the best flag football quarterback in the country.

The opportunity to spend a weekend teaching the game instead of playing is a bit different for Cascudo, a teacher by trade in South Florida, but he is looking forward to the experience.

“Flag football is different than tackle. The game teaches a lot of the same values such as teamwork, discipline and leadership, but the strategy and the type of athlete who excels is much different. It’s not about size at all. It’s about fundamentals, speed and strategy”, said Cascudo.

Both Fried and Cascudo will be traveling to Israel this August to represent the United States in the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Flag Football World Championship. Each will be looking to trade the silver medals they earned in 2012 into gold medals this time around.

Fried will lead the women’s national team for the second consecutive tournament. In 2012 in Gothenburg, Sweden, his women’s team fell 33-32 in overtime to defending champion Mexico in the championship game.

Similarly, after bringing home the gold and earning tournament MVP honors in 2010, Cascudo watched as Austria celebrated as champions in a dramatic 47-40 victory that saw a last second U.S. scoring attempt fail as time expired.

Both men will have to wait until this summer in Israel to represent their country, but in the meantime, they are looking forward to sharing what they know with the players and coaches in Leominster.

“I’ve been told this is a football town. People here love the game and are knowledgeable about the tackle version of the sport. Our goal is to teach the fundamentals and intricacies of the flag game and help build a strong foundation of knowledge as the NFL FLAG program kicks off this spring”, explained Fried.

If you would like more information on next weekend’s clinics or the Leominster NFL FLAG program, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LeomNFLFLAG or email LeominsterNFLFLAG@hotmail.com. To register for the league, visit the Leominster Recreation Department at www.leominster-ma.gov.

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