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Pop Warner Little Scholars YOUR FUTURE BEGINS HERE!

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Jul, 2022

ALUMNI FEATURE: NFL Linebacker Austin Calitro


Name: Austin Calitro
Current Job: NFL Linebacker
Pop Warner Team: Danbury Trojans

How did you get involved with Pop Warner?

I started in Pop Warner through joining the Danbury Athletic Youth Organization (DAYO) Danbury Trojans at 8 years old in the 89er division. I am still friends with some of my teammates to this day.

What is your favorite Pop Warner memory? 

My favorite Pop Warner memory was when I was 8 years old and we were playing the Pomperoug Panthers in the pouring rain. I was on the kickoff return team as a full back and the ball was kicked right to me. I ran up the sideline and scored my first touchdown on special teams. 

Tell us about your Pop Warner team / coach. Who was your team’s biggest rival? 

The Danbury Trojans had a strong tradition when I started playing. I remember a lot of the older teams going to Disney to play in the Pop Warner Super Bowl. I had a bunch of coaches, my coaches were my entire coaching staff from my 89er year. Eileen Mitchell was the head coach, she taught me so much about the game at a young age. Our biggest rival was probably Bridgeport, those games were always fun and intense.  

Are you still close with any of your Pop Warner teammates or coaches? If so, who and how? 

I am still close with my coaches and teammates. Two of my best friends, Tyler Hancock and Aaron Dixon. They have come out to a bunch of my games throughout my NFL career and are my biggest fans. I wouldn’t have that connection with them without us starting out together in Pop Warner!

What are the 1-2 key takeaways you learned from playing Pop Warner? 

I learned first off how to tackle safely and properly at a very young age and that allowed me to minimize risk for injury throughout my career. I also learned how to be a teammate at a very young age, and that will help you get further in life than anything else. 

How did Pop Warner prepare you for college football/the NFL?

Pop Warner showed me how to have fun and play with instincts. As a kid, you’re able to develop instincts and a feel for the game, and once it becomes faster, you’re able to just let your instincts take over and have fun.

Any words of advice for current Pop Warner football players? 

Enjoy it and have fun! Embrace the memories that you’ll create with your teammates who will become your lifelong friends. Most importantly, respect the game. This game will always be bigger than one person, respect the game and have fun!


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