(LOS ANGELES) - The California Sharks non-profit sports leadership organization announced today they have partnered with Developmental Football International LLC (DFI) in the launch of their own scalable franchise platform designed to produce 'Game-Ready Players' and 'Life-Ready Men ™.'
Managing General Partner Kelly J. Hurst confirmed the Sharks organization and its applications for participation had been formally approved by DFI, which notably includes the SoCal Coyotes, America's #1 Developmental Football Program™.
“DFI is not just a football organization,” said Ms. Hurst. “It’s a river of life to every player, every community, and every person it reaches.”
The Sharks, now in their second year of operation, will play an eight-game schedule with additional playoffs this fall, in at least a four-team conference. DFI executives confirmed that as many as 12 more teams are working through the intensive DFI franchise application vetting process.
Ms. Hurst called the DFI process "an exhaustive deep dive" into an owner's personal and business history, player development processes, technical abilities, fiscal responsibility, career trajectory, and social and civic responsibility.
For the sake of parity, and consistency, each owner must agree to zero tolerance and full compliance of DFI's suite of franchise operating guidelines. DFI heavily weighs an owner’s commitment to community integration.
"DFI is clear that building brand equity depends on the efficacy of each individual owner," Ms. Hurst said.
DFI executives have positioned the new league as a turn-key developmental football opportunity, confirmed Commissioner Joel Williams.
The vertical move reflects the non-profit Sharks uncompromising standards and relentless push toward a business model that mirrors that of pro soccer's exploding USL developmental initiatives.
DFI's website (developmentalfootball.com) bills itself as the first premier American developmental football organization engineered to cultivate the annual flow of 16,000 Division I, II, and III prospects, who must thread an NFL or CFL needle of opportunity that combined only turn over roughly 250 jobs each year.
'Above the Line' leadership development is a Chief Cornerstone of DFI, where becoming a "Game-Ready Player' also requires a 'Life-Ready Man.'
DFI teams all share the same contracts and policies, including those for Code of Conduct and Social Media. The league plays by NFL rules, with NFL-style uniforms, and teaching from veteran NFL coaches and players.
Off the field, the Sharks leadership curriculum, camps, clinics and symposiums impact thousands of youth each year. The Sharks non-profit organization supports dozens of local causes, with particular emphasis on at-risk, unprivileged, minority and displaced youth.
The Sharks community-building efforts have been remarkable for a second-year organization. The non-profit has partnered with celebrity comedian Steve Flye in hosting the “Houston Reloaded” comedy show, to aid thousands of victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Further, the team's support of the Apperson Street School’s fall festival has fostered relationships with local business owners and community groups. In conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce, the Sharks outreach will touch thousands of families at upcoming initiatives.
The Sharks are sponsors of a spring carnival at the Hansen Dam Recreation Center, and a free community Fourth of July Fireworks at Verdugo Hills High School.
“The opportunity to positively contribute is everywhere," Ms. Hurst said. "We take our role as trusted community partners seriously. We are building civic, corporate and political trust, which reciprocates through our player programs and community impact.
"We aren't just changing the face of developmental football," she said. "It’s about bringing people to life."