The San Francisco 49ers announced on Tuesday a three-year agreement with The Honor Group, Inc. to serve as the presenting partner of the Honor Bowl, the non-profit's annual high school football showcase. With a mission to demonstrate the sacrifice made by our military, the Honor Bowl has grown into one of the top high school football showcases in the nation.
"The 49ers partnership with the Honor Bowl is a reflection of two of our franchise's core values of service and youth development," said 49ers president Al Guido. "We are eager to continue sharing the game of football with the next generation through the Honor Bowl, and celebrate all of the positive characteristics that are a byproduct of team sports."
Featuring games between nationally ranked high school football teams, the Honor Bowl is a Sacramento based non-profit founded in 2013 by two high school football coaches and a Gold Star mother whose son was killed in action in Afghanistan. The 2017 Honor Bowl will be played on September 1st and 2nd at Cathedral Catholic High School in San Diego with the intention of moving the game to the Bay Area in 2018.
The Honor Bowl partnership echoes the 49ers continued support of youth football throughout the Bay Area and across the country, which was preceded by the franchise being named the Pop Warner Little Scholars NFL Team of the Year in May. The 49ers Youth Football Program has grown local youth participation 18 percent year over year through grassroots efforts including youth camps, a local Coach of the Year award, Player of the Week awards, and hosting the unique 43-year old local prep football tradition known as the Charlie Wedemeyer High School All-Star Football Game.
"Bringing together students, coaches and the community through sport to raise awareness of the sacrifice of our veterans is core to the Honor Group," said Mark Soto, Executive Director and Founder of the Honor Group. "A partnership of this nature with the 49ers is a game changer for our youth and veteran cause and we are grateful for the support"
During the two-day celebration of high school football and military, the participating teams will visit Camp Pendleton to spend time with wounded warriors, Gold Star parents and US Marine Corps command. Ahead of the games, a decorated wounded Marine or solider will visit the team's locker rooms. Additionally, the Honor Bowl features a military expo set up in the stadium where the fans in attendance learn about other veteran focused nonprofits and various military branches set up static displays and booths. Before each game the fans are greeted by on field military pageantry with a primary focus of bonding and educating the students and fans in attendance about patriotism, honor and sacrifice. In the past five years The Honor Bowl has hosted over 56 varsity football teams from seven different states.