Northeast Indiana Football Association launched, aimed at building character

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FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – There’s a new opportunity for local kids in the area as the Northeast Indiana Football Association (NIFA) is ready to roll for the 2021 fall season.


NIFA is a nonprofit organization founded in part by Wayne High School graduate and former NFL punter Jason Baker.

On NIFA’s website the organization lists the following as its goals:

“We believe that successful communities are built on strong servant leadership. We also believe that football is a powerful tool to build future servant leaders. Teamwork, discipline, focus and resilience are just a few of the character qualities a positive football experience can develop. The Northeast Indiana Football Association (NIFA) is committed to providing every youth football player with that experience.

NIFA will partner with the Police Athletic League of Fort Wayne and work with schools in the area to host individual teams.

Flag football is available for kids in grades 1-3 for $25 a player. Tackle football is $90 per family and available for kids ages 9-12. Financial assistance is available.

The first practice for the 2021 season is scheduled for August 4.

The following is a press release from NIFA:

July 27, 2021, FORT WAYNE, INDIANA – With a belief that successful communities are built on strong servant leadership, a new nonprofit organization is working to enhance and expand the opportunities available to youth football players throughout Fort Wayne and Allen County.

Founded in part by Fort Wayne native and former NFL player Jason Baker, the Northeast Indiana Football Association (NIFA) brings with it a mission to grow youth football in the area and positively impact the community through the development of servant leaders. Baker engaged several area football programs and organizations to help design and develop NIFA.

“This is a ‘for us, by us’ organization – designed in partnership with those it will serve and benefit,” Baker said. “We believe that football is a powerful tool to build stronger leaders and better communities, thanks to character qualities like teamwork, discipline, focus and resilience that come from a positive football experience. This organization is committed to providing every youth football player with that type of experience.”

NIFA’s first initiative is the Root System, a limited pilot program for the 2021 season developed in partnership with PAL Fort Wayne, East Allen County Schools, Fort Wayne Community Schools and Homestead High School. Through the program, NIFA and PAL Fort Wayne are working with schools from each school system to “host” individual PAL teams.

Each school-based program will follow NIFA’s best practices for safety and development of athletes; provide professional learning and support to coaching staffs and mentors; as well as guide and encourage parent engagement. NIFA follows the Football Development Model (FDM), a comprehensive program of age-appropriate training and game play to safely prepare youth athletes for the demands of full-contact football.

“Our goal is to provide the training, guidance and resources needed to achieve the highest levels of excellence, safety and equity,” Baker added. “Together, schools and leagues will ensure that all players are given an equal opportunity to participate in football the right way.”

In addition to the Root System, NIFA will eventually offer programs for participants through the 12th grade. These will be done in coordination or partnership with the NFL Foundation, NFL Youth Football and USA Football as well as local and regional organizations and foundations.

Registration is now open for the 2021 PAL Fort Wayne flag and tackle seasons, and financial assistance is available to those in need. Visit to learn more and to register for the 2021 season.

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