Aaron Moore is a 6'3, 280lb. O lineman for Minnetonka High School. He joins MinnesotaPreps for an extended interview regarding his participation in the USA football program.
MJM: Aaron please tell me about the USA football program. I know you have been involved for some time and have had a chance to travel extensively outside Minnesota as part of the program.
AM: Team USA is the NFL youth extension organization. They sponsor Heads Up Football for concussion safety, summer camps and also support several USA teams who play internationally. I've played for Team USA and attending their camps going into my third year. I went to the first try out in Chicago on a whim on a family trip when I was 13 and didn't know what to expect and after try outs I was asked to be a member of their youth development camp in Canton, OHIO. I captained my first game there and also started. The whole thing opened my eyes about setting goals and what I wanted to do with the sport.
MJM: Are tryouts held for the teams? How is the level of competition?
AM: You have to basically continuously try out when you are at these events. The competition with the players is so much tougher, which is motivating. It is highly competitive but everyone is pushing each other to be better and it is a very positive experience. You know everyone is showing up to the 1 week summer camps with the goal to gain a spot on that national team that plays up against other countries in February. You've got to give it your all and get as much out of the experience as you can and above all, be a good sportsman, or you don't get invited back.
MJM: What are the backgrounds of the coaches in for the program?
AM: The coaches at the camps are from colleges, the NFL, and nationally ranked high schools.
MJM: Tell us a little about your travels.
AM: I've gotten to tour and actually play in ATT Stadium in Texas last February. I just got back from Maryland where USA held practices, camps and competed against other American teams in a based set of games. We also toured the Baltimore NFL stadium.
MJM: How much is training part of the program? Can you give us some detail? What have you learned?
AM: I think the most impactful thing I've pulled out of the experience is very specific technique feedback in my role from several long-time O line coaches in a 1/1 setting. We watch film and break down and choreograph specific line techniques with foot and hand movements against certain styles of players--for days on end. It is the individual fine tuning of hand positioning, footwork, that really stands out for me. After a while, it really sinks in how much strategy goes into the game and how much you need to be a student of what's going on out on the field. I've always loved football, but the whole thing just opened my eyes on how big the world is and the possibilities around the sport.
MJM: I first talked to you a couple of years ago because I was interested in seeing what young Minnesota players were doing during the off season. Now you are in High School, Can you continue to participate? Are there upper age teams? Do you get to see them play?
AM: You get to see and meet the older guys on the U18-19 teams which is also super motivating. They went to Kuwait this year to play several other countries at a USA Style football championship. My goal from being part of Team USA is to make that final U18-19 team. Hopefully, if I can keep progressing in my football experiences, I can make that team. Next year I've heard they are expanding try outs to several more states so I expect the competition to be even more fierce which is only motivating me to work that much more on the game and in the weight room.
MJM: I'm interested in the international aspect of the program. Is that a growing enterprise?
AM: Part of the mission of the USA Football organization is also to grow USA style football overseas. The US is trying to bring American Style football forward as an Olympic qualifying sport. I am in touch fairly regularly with players in Mexico, Colombia, Ireland and other countries. There is real momentum in these other countries for football to become a strong, national sport. Players have to pay for their own equipment so I've been slowly but surely collecting decent used equipment to send to Colombia.
MJM: I understand the camp experiences are intense. Tell me a little about your most recent camp, what were the days like?
AM: The first night of the camp the coaches get to watch all of us as players go through a few hours of drills. They get together and draft players which break up into 4 teams according to the draft. During the course of the camp we are together with our teams from probably 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. all day every day, plus we stay in college dorms with lots of team building. It is intensely organized and it is amazing how close you get to the people you play with in such a short time.
MJM: You put in some long days! I expect you have the chance to really get to know your fellow players. Talk about those relationship.
AM: I stay in touch with several of the guys and hope to play with any of them after high school if I am so lucky. The whole experience has made me motivated, intensely competitive and immensely thankful for the experience when I get to come back to play on Minnetonka. I've probably had a dozen line coaches in the last few years through many different venues and I always take away something from every experience I get to have with them.
MJM: You are home in Minnesota now. Are you ready for some Minnetonka football?
AM: Right now I feel like I really got what I wanted out of the off season training and I am just really focused on getting back with my Minnetonka team and getting hyped up for the season in front of us.
Moore had a busy summer. He also participate in competitive Weight Lifting and Wrestles. He spend 11 days at the Hawkeyes intensive wrestling camp, attend the U of M Elite Junior day and spent 5 days at the Towson University invitational football camp. He is a top student with a very strong interest in academics.