Non-profit organizations share common goals of supporting military veterans
December 19, 2022
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – Two organizations dedicated to creating opportunities for military veterans while also bolstering the ranks of youth sports officials have announced a partnership, designed to identify more candidates and support them with the training, certification and equipment required to thrive in the role.
Battlefields2Ballfields (B2B) was founded in 2017 by Mike Pereira, current rules analyst on FOX Sports broadcasts and longtime football official, who took inspiration from conversations he had with military veterans struggling to find a path in civilian life. Over time, B2B has established a scholarship fund to help veterans gain a foothold in the world of sports officiating.
Protect The Game (PTG), founded in 2019 under the umbrella of Triple Crown Sports, has similar motivations – PTG has hosted a number of training and certification sessions around the country, also designed to identify veterans looking for a meaningful occupation out of the military. Time and again, military veterans have displayed the established skills and situational awareness to thrive as a sports official, finding a natural fit with the knowledge of rules and concepts of teamwork.
Working in association, candidates that execute the training and certification process through PTG will be eligible for funding assistance from B2B, removing the hurdles of cost so new officials can get equipment and uniforms. This should open more doors, more quickly, as veterans can help rebuild the ranks of youth sports officials.
The dwindling number of qualified officials is a crisis all its own, as youth sporting events around the country are being altered, and at times canceled, due to the lack of officials.
"It is an honor to partner with such a great organization that shares our commitment to veterans, officials and amateur sports,” Pereira said. “We will grow together in our joint mission to get more veterans on the fields, courts, diamonds and pitches."
“In honor of my brother, Dan Harsch (LCpl, USMC, deceased), I speak for myself, PTG executive director Jordan Cohen, and the rest of our Board of Directors when I say that this partnership with B2B is so very important to our success in training, certifying, and equipping military veterans (and supporting their family members) to become youth sports officials,” said Patty Harsch, PTG president. “The mission and values of each organization are in complete alignment with providing our veterans with working opportunities that foster camaraderie, while addressing the shortage of youth sports officials in America. From the day I met Mike Pereira and the rest of the Board of Battlefields2Ballfields, the synergy between our two organizations has been electric. We have much to accomplish together, and we look forward to the journey.”
About Protect the Game
Protect the Game’s mission is to provide opportunities for U.S. military veterans to train and then be paid to work in youth sports and to build the numbers of qualified youth sports officials in America. Since its inception in 2019, PTG has certified 130 veterans around the country. For more information on PTG and to sign up for an upcoming training visit: www.protectthegame.com.
Battlefields2Ballfields is a foundation designed to provide veterans an opportunity to integrate back into their communities through sports officiating. Founded in 2017 by current FOX Sports football rules analyst Mike Pereira, B2B provides scholarship assistance to servicemen and servicewomen who aspire to officiate football, men's and women's basketball, soccer, baseball, softball, track & field, among others. The foundation has awarded nearly 800 scholarships and has members in 38 of the United States. www.battlefields2ballfields.org