Andre Chachere Reflects on the Lessons of Youth Football
Welcome to Why We Play, a series of discussions with current players and NFL Legends about their youth football experience and why they play the game.
As a kid, Andre Chachere knew he wanted to play football. He just didn’t realize how much he would get out of it.
Chachere wanted to play because of his father, Derrick, who played linebacker at the University of Nevada-Reno and spent time in the Arena Football League and in the Canadian Football League.
"My dad was a big, big influence," said the younger Chachere. "He never forced me to play, but I was growing up around football all the time. My older brothers played football, too, so I just wanted to get out there as soon as I could."
So young Andre hit the field at eight years old, playing Pop Warner football in his hometown of Fresno, California.
"And I haven’t stopped playing to this day," he says with a laugh.
After his Pop Warner beginnings, Chachere played Clovis West Fresno High School before heading to San Jose State, where he was a three-year starter at cornerback for the Spartans.
In the league, the 25-year-old defensive back has had stints with the Houston Texans, Detroit Lions, Carolina Panthers, Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts. Chachere, a former undrafted rookie, signed a futures contract with the Colts during the 2021 offseason.
As Chachere works to carve out a role in the NFL, he said he often reflects on the ways youth football helped him become who his is on and off the field
"Starting so young, those first couple of years, I learned so much football," Chachere said. "I had learned from my dad, but you can only learn so much without actually playing the game yourself. So it was a great learning experience for me."
Chachere said he also formed lasting bonds on the field.
"I was around a lot of other kids who didn’t go to the same school as I did, so I made a lot of new friends from football and advanced socially," Chachere said. "And a lot of those guys I’m still friends with today. Making friends at that young age that I still have now, I mean that’s a big influence too."
Chachere's coaches made a lasting impact on him as well.
"One of my favorite coaches was Coach Soto," Chachere said. “He coached me when I was nine years old and for the next four or five years after that. He’s still close to me and my family. We keep in touch with him and talk every now and again."
"He helped me so much as a young man. He is just an amazing guy, really good coach. He knew football and taught me that. But off the field, too, he helped become a good kid."
Photo: AP/Eric Christian Smith
- NFL Players and Legends
- Youth Football