Since 2019, the NY Jets have hosted Soldiers To Sidelines as their Salute to Service partner.  Each year, the multi-day football coaching workshop and in-game experience gets more incredible.  This year, Ticketmaster presented the event and made it extra special by providing all participating Soldier Coaches with a $200 gift card to use at MetLife Stadium during the Monday Night Football game Jets vs. Chargers.  

The weekend workshop began Saturday evening, November 4th, in Lyndhurst, NJ at the local Marriott hotel, with 30 Soldier Coaches in attendance plus staff and special military guests. We shared food, drinks, and fellowship to set the tone for an inspiring weekend.   

The following morning, we woke up, filled our tanks with coffee and local hot bagels, and then boarded a bus to MetLife Stadium for a full-day intensive workshop covering the essential aspects of coaching football.  The NY Jets rolled out the green carpet for our Soldier Coaches. Upon arrival, MetLife Stadium was adorned with Soldiers To Sidelines and Jets Salute To Service signage. Once inside, we were greeted by Eli Hodges with the NY Jets Community Relations. He then surprised the class with a VIP tour of the NY Jets locker room. Each locker was outfitted with Jets gear, and our Soldier Coaches’ names were displayed on the lockers.  A bigger surprise unfolded when the class learned that they could keep all the gear and a $200 gift card from Ticketmaster. 

Then the work began.  The class dove into an intensive study on how to accurately draw plays, breakdown film, scout opponents, analyze strategy, teach drills, and operate a successful punt unit. Solder Coaches had the opportunity to practice coaching the drills we were discussing and receive constructive feedback.  

Another unique component of the workshop was a practical tutorial on how to design playbooks using GoArmyEdge, a free computer application that can bring playbooks to three-dimensional life. This tool is another method to help teach players a better way to learn football.  Each Soldier Coach had the opportunity to use the application and bring the plays they already drew by hand to 3D animation.  

Most of the football instruction was spearheaded by Soldiers To Sidelines Football Director, Del Smith.  Supporting Coach Smith was former NFL Coach and College Head Coach Jerod Kruse and former USMA West Point Football Coach John Mumford.  These decorated football coaches imparted knowledge to our Soldier Coaches unlike any other coaching workshop in the world.  This is a big statement…but just ask those who attended.  

To cap the weekend, we spent hours analyzing the Los Angeles Chargers both offensively and defensively by position.  This four-hour task prepared our Soldier Coaches to watch the Monday Night Football game through the eyes of an NFL Coach.  We bussed over to the stadium at 4 PM for a fun tailgating experience before entering the stadium with a private security escort. Monday Night Football was filled with excitement and regalia for the NY Jets Salute To Service Game. In the second quarter, the entire Soldiers To Sidelines class took the field to be saluted by a jam-packed MetLife Stadium crowd.  This was truly a weekend to remember, and we are already looking forward to next year.