After coming off an NFL career cut short by injuries, Joey LaRocque was following his lifelong passion for the game of football by helping coach at a local high school in southern California. He was looking for a way to make a deeper impact in the sport. That path was soon realized after witnessing a collision in a non-contact football drill that resulted in a player needing 14 stitches above his brow line. These kids weren’t wearing any protective gear whatsoever. Why not? Well, legislation had been passed in the state of California banning the use of “contact equipment” anytime outside of the regular football season. Joey, following his entrepreneurial spirit, jumped on the opportunity, and in 2013 started Rocksolid and created the first ever soft-shell head protection designed specifically for football, the RS1 soft-shell. He made huge waves in the California high school market by putting over 50 programs in his soft-shells the first Spring season of 2014. As a result, Rocksolid was now a reality. Joey sought out his former teammate from his playing days in Chicago, Caleb Hanie. Caleb, a 6 year NFL veteran quarterback, jumped at the opportunity and they made it their mission to fill this void in player safety.
As the saying goes, “teamwork makes the dream work.” So Joey, Caleb, and the expanded Rocksolid team made up of former NFL and Collegiate football players, did what they do best; put their head down and worked. They hit the streets and spent most of 2014 and 2015 driving door to door meeting with high school coaches and administrators, The hard work paid off and resulted in protecting thousands.
They soon realized that the opportunity was much greater. They needed to not only temper the decline, but GROW the game. What better place to do so than at the flag football level? After expanding the sales team and putting more of the focus on speaking to youth football commissioners and parents, the dream was a reality. Dozens of flag leagues were not only buying, but requiring their soft-shells! They found that by simply adding this common sense piece of equipment, they were enhancing the experience for everyone. Parents were thanking them, and commissioners were using the soft-shells as a way to promote their league as applying the top standard of care.
Rocksolid now offered elite protection to match the high standards of parents and coaches. At the high school and college levels, coaches wanted to keep their players protected during full speed football drills even when rules restricted them from wearing contact equipment. At the younger levels, they offered the protection, and quickly found that at the youth level, having a great experience is almost as important as having the proper protection. The kids loved emulating their favorite players out there, strapping up their gear to go play with their buddies.
In 2016, Rocksolid continued to expand their sales team of over 15 former NFL or Collegiate football players all across the country. They also added a second generation soft-shell, the RS2, and also added a new soft-shell shoulder pad, the RSS, to their product line. Subsequently, the first ever soft-shell protection system was born. The company now resides in Dallas, Texas, the heart of football country, and Rocksolid is represented in nearly all 50 states!