By Megan Vina |Contributing Writer|
Donald Yee, agent for New England Patriots QB Tom Brady, along with former Super Bowl champion wide receiver Ed McCaffrey and others have formed Pacific Pro Football, a first of its kind league for players directly from high school.
For the first time, emerging football players will have a choice in determining their best path for professional development.
Pacific Pro is America’s first professional football league to utilize—and compensate—players not eligible for other professional leagues. Average annual salary and benefits for each player are projected at $50,000, with four teams initially based in Southern California’s most populated counties.
Initial player employment offers are projected for winter 2017 and will also include one year paid tuition and books at local community colleges. Pacific Pro players will play and develop under professional football rules, protocols and style.
Each Pacific Pro team is projected to have 50 players, coached by former professional and college coaches.
Pacific Pro expands the football industry by creating hundreds of new jobs and enhances safety by playing a short 8-game season. Pacific Pro will also be a development ground for coaches, officials, and executives and a ‘football lab’ for new technologies, smart apparel, and content distributors.
A primary off-field Pacific Pro objective is to help players develop their life paths.
“Pacific Pro’s concept of ‘education’ is expansive. Every team will have a counselor to help players develop their interests academically and/or vocationally, and assist with coordinating meaningful internships in their fields of interest,” said Yee.
Pacific Pro’s Advisory Board includes Super Bowl champion head coach Mike Shanahan, former NFL Senior VP and Super Bowl czar Jim Steeg, officiating expert Mike Pereira, and pre-eminent football reporter Adam Schefter. Steve Schmidt, MSNBC commentator and former lead campaign strategist for the McCain presidential campaign also joins the Advisory Board.
“Professional football is a very specialized game; it demands precise techniques and a certain mental approach,” said Shanahan. “Pacific Pro’s time has come, and these fantastic athletes will be well trained for the pro game on and off the field.”
Pacific Pro, a single entity league, is led by CEO Yee, chief operating officer and former NFL and ESPN executive Bradley Edwards, Chief Content Officer and former Executive VP of Fox Sports Digital Jeffrey Husvar, and chief financial officer John Chung.
Pacific Pro recently closed its angel round of financing and has commenced discussions with content distributors, sponsors, facilities and local political leaders.
“We are gratified by the positive reception to Pacific Pro in the investment, media, government and sponsorship communities,” says Edwards. “We look forward to stimulating the Southern California economy by working with local leaders.”