A high school educational and fitness initiative will be an added enhancement to the U.S. Army and the Arena Football League’s (AFL) renewed partnership. Announced earlier this week, it is the fourth consecutive year of the pairing.

The initiative will be expanded nationwide after undergoing successful testing in five AFL markets during the off-season. AFL players and coaches and U.S. Army battalion officials will talk to local high schools students during physical education classes about the importance of teamwork, fitness and exercise education. Students will also participate in flag-football scrimmages. In-season player appearances with local battalion officials will continue at high schools in all AFL markets.

“Our partnership with Arena Football has been extremely successful in helping the Army connect with America,” said. Col. Thomas Nickerson, director of strategic outreach for the U.S. Army Accessions Command in a release. “We’re excited to see the partnership go beyond the arena and into schools and other Army programs. This provides the Army and AFL an opportunity to expand and build a greater awareness among both young Americans and those people who influence their decisions – parents, teachers, coaches and peers.”

Other highlights of the partnership for 2005 include: U.S. Army Week, the U.S. Army’s continuation as presenting sponsor of the AFL’s Ironman program and the AFL’s continuation of involvement with the U.S. Army Spring Break Program in Panama City Beach, Fl.

Like all U.S. Army sponsorships, this partnership is subject to review and renewal each year.