The Football Camp for the Stars is especially for athletes with Down Syndrome who love football. With instruction from NFL football players, along with NFL, college and prep school coaches, athletes learn the fundamentals that put them in the middle of the action, resulting in an authentic football experience.

How it all began…


Andrew Watson and Coach Machado

The Football Camp for the Stars, believed to be the first of its kind in the United States, is the brainchild of current Valley Christian Schools (VCS) Varsity Football Coach, Mike Machado.  The mission of the camp is to provide athletes with Down Syndrome an authentic football experience while maintaining the highest standards of safety.  The first camp was held in June of 2007.

Now in its seventh year, the Football Camp for the Stars at Valley Christian has been embraced and supported by the football community at large.  The list of professional and collegiate participants is both lengthy and well known.  Camp coaches utilize drills and plays taken directly from the VCS playbook.  The two days of training end with a scrimmage.

An initial goal for the camp was to have other schools and organizations ‘catch the vision’ and learn that football doesn’t have to be ‘off limits’ to these competitive athletes.  That vision has become a reality as similar camps have been started in both Denver and Pittsburg.

Coach Machado has been honored by the National Down Syndrome Congress by receiving the President’s Award for meritorious service to individuals with Down Syndrome.  This is the second national honor for Machado, who was also the recipient of the Double Goal Coaching Award from the Positive Coaching Alliance.  On a local level, Coach Machado was selected as CCS Coach of the year in 1995 and 2002.