NFL legends Young, Rice team with NASEF on esports for students

An organization led by Steve Young and Jerry Rice will be working with the scholastic esports federation on programming for underserved youths.
By: | February 8, 2021

How about this winning modern-day connection: Young to Rice to … K-12 students?

Two of the NFL’s most prolific players – Hall of Fame quarterback Steve Young and wide receiver Jerry Rice – are teaming up with the North America Scholastic Esports Federation on a partnership to provide unique programming for youths interested in gaming. The announcement was made a day after the Super Bowl LV, which Young worked as a pre-game analyst for ESPN.

Young and Rice, two superstars who led the San Francisco 49ers to multiple Super Bowl titles during the 1980s and 90s, have created “8 to 80” Zones (the numbers they wore in the NFL) – centers that give underserved students a chance to explore new technology and in this case, esports, through the former quarterback’s Forever Young Foundation.

NASEF, which serves thousands of students across the nation with tournaments, clubs and free curriculum, will be lending their expertise and guidance to the Zones.

The goal will be to give children more opportunities to explore careers paths in a realm that they love – esports – which can be the gateway to learning about STEM-based fields as well as other areas, particularly web and graphic design and broadcasting.

Young said he sees firsthand the value of the product and NASEF through his children, who enjoy both the games and the learning experiences they get from them.

“My boys love technology,” Young said. “There’s writing in the gaming industry, there’s publishing, there’s coding, there’s art. Parents should recognize that there’s a tremendous opportunity for their kids. They  [can] use that as a stepping stone to all these other options. The opportunities are immense.”

According to NASEF, programming will develop as the initiative kicks into gear. But the partnership with the two NFL legends will be key for the organization this year as it hosts its first-ever High School National Championship featuring Madden NFL 21 during the winter-spring season.

“We are excited for this partnership with two NFL greats and their charitable effort, 8 to 80, to close the digital and learning divide,” Gerald Solomon, WWSEF/NASEF, Founder and Executive Director. “NASEF is a natural partner to integrate our project-based STEM learning approach through gaming and esports into their centers. Connecting play and learning is what we each excel at.”


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