New campaign extolls the fun of football and its lessons

Broadcast and online ads, giveaways of free footballs, testimonials and an easy-to-use sign-up portal all featured

TV personality and former CFLer Brad Smith named #TryFootball Ambassador

TORONTO (July 4, 2019) – The CFL and its amateur football partners want you to #TryFootball! That is the message at the heart of a new campaign launched by the professional league to encourage Canadian youth to play flag, touch or tackle football – or to just toss the pigskin around with family or friends.

The initiative includes an ad showing kids having fun just playing catch and an easy-to-use online portal at with sign-up information, as well as, a plan to give away 11,500 free footballs across the country.

“Fun and football have always gone hand-in-hand,” said CFL Commissioner, Randy Ambrosie. “Our passionate fans have built an incredible foundation for the game, and by delivering footballs to more new Canadians, youth, families and communities, we’ll welcome the next generation of Canadian players and fans.”

#TryFootball is the newest initiative in support of the CFL’s commitment of more than $3 million to grow the game from coast-to-coast-to-coast. Players and coaches annually make hundreds of appearances at amateur football events, while teams make direct donations and organize various clinics and tournaments throughout the country.

The #TryFootball campaign features:

  • Brad Smith, a former player with the Toronto Argonauts and the Edmonton Eskimos, serving as the official ambassador for the campaign. Following his playing career, the Hudson, Que., native, and a former member of the Queen’s Gaels, has made the leap into the entertainment industry, and now hosts Food Network Canada’s competition series, Chopped Canada.
  • A comprehensive website at with searchable information on local organizations and opportunities to become involved in the game.
  • An ongoing series of spotlight stories highlighting the impact of football in the community, which currently includes:
  • Various team initiatives and giveaways with the #TryFootball football:
    • BC: Footballs will be handed out during in-school programs, at Play with the Pros clinics, and as part of the After School Sports and Arts initiative.
    • Edmonton: Youth will be invited to participate in a trade-in program for a new football, and will be encouraged to sign a pledge to play a game. Balls which were traded-in will be donated to various community groups.
    • Calgary: The Stampeders will visit local First Nations schools to distribute the footballs. These player visits will promote diversity, while encouraging both boys and girls to build a football foundation.
    • Saskatchewan: The Club has partnered with Dream to create the Grow the Game program which will go out into the community during the summer and fall to teach football to children. Working with community leaders and school divisions, the Roughriders and Dream will also spread 1,000 footballs across the province to ensure all youth have the opportunity to play the game.
    • Winnipeg: The Blue Bombers will provide footballs to be used at recess, lunch, or after-school for a pick-up game with friends and family.
    • Hamilton: The team will work with elementary schools in both the Hamilton Wentworth District School Board (Public) and the Hamilton Wentworth Catholic School Board to deliver 1,000 footballs to students aged 6-12. Footballs will be provided to elementary schools comprised of a higher number of new Canadians to help expose the game to a diverse population.
    • Toronto: Footballs and an instructional document featuring Toronto Argonauts players will be donated to 2,000 applicants. The team will also feature an online/app-based component with instructional videos and tips outlining basic skills.
    • Ottawa: Footballs will be provided to select first-year players in Tyke, Mosquito, Pee-Wee and Bantam divisions within Girls Touch Football and Co-Ed Flag Football. In addition, signed footballs will be provided as prizing, and REDBLACKS players will be on-hand to present the football at select year-end banquets for select teams taking part in the program.
    • Montreal: Footballs will continue to be featured in the Ultimate Football Tour program to introduce to the game to youth. In collaboration with various U Sports teams, three Family Clinics will be organized during summer, through which vouchers for an Alouettes game and a football will be distributed. The team will also form a new partnership with various Youth Flag Football leagues in the city.

Additional quotes:

"The sport of football has been life changing for many CFL players and it started in their youth when someone first put a ball in their hands and encouraged them play the game. Providing parents with a gateway to enroll their kids in local football programs can inspire participation in Canadian football and contribute to its growth in communities across the country."
Jeff Keeping, President, CFL Players’ Association

"It starts with getting footballs into the hands of kids. From there, our community associations are ready to start a lifetime relationship with the game which is the ultimate teacher of teamwork through diversity."
Jim Mullin, President, Football Canada

"We have seen how football is used as an avenue to receive both a top-class education and development opportunity across the country. We’re excited for our alumni in the CFL to inspire the next generation of Canadian football student-athletes through this great initiative."
- Graham Brown, President & CEO, U SPORTS

"We at SheIS are proud to work with and support the CFL’s new initiative ‘Try Football’. The mission of SheIS is to use the power of sports to create a future of, by, and for strong women. Participation at a young age for youth, especially girls, is critical in building all of the health benefits, confidence and positive leadership skills that sports brings. We need more opportunities for girls to play sports and we are thrilled to see our partners at the CFL make these opportunities a priority."
Jillian Svensson, Executive Director, SheIS

"Football has given so much to me and my family. I’m so honoured to be a part of #TryFootball – it’s all about being exposed to this amazing game and taking it in with friends and family. Simply getting outside and throwing the ball around or having fun playing a safe game of flag football. I’d like to share the life lessons and values which were instilled in me through football, with people who haven’t had the chance to play."
Brad Smith, #TryFootball Ambassador

Lucas Barrett

Manager, Communications & Public Affairs, Canadian Football League

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