March 1, 2024
California makes flag football a girls’ high school sport

California authorized a system Friday to make flag a girls’ significant faculty sport amid soaring recognition of the match and a thrust to get more feminine athletes on the area.

The shift by the California Interscholastic Federation — the statewide system that governs superior college athletics — will make flag an formal activity for women in the nation’s most populous condition for the approaching 2023-24 12 months. The system was authorised unanimously by the organization’s federated council in Extensive Beach front, said Rebecca Brutlag, an agency spokesperson.

Paula Hart Rodas, president-elect of the CIF Southern Section’s council, said the goal is to get much more ladies included in large faculty sports and tap into a common appreciate of by many who are loath to play tackle. Southern California universities spanning from Prolonged Seashore to Corona are hoping to start out groups in the fall and the acceptance enables districts to increase the activity to their budgets, Hart Rodas stated.

“You can really like the game of and not like obtaining tackled but still want to take part,” Hart Rodas mentioned. “Flag proper now is aimed right at getting far more women involved in athletics by introducing a diverse sport that we know ladies throughout the country are intrigued in, but not prepared to engage in deal with for a selection of explanations.”

The go provides California to a expanding checklist of states that have involved girls’ flag soccer in superior university athletic programs, these as Alabama and Nevada. New York state’s general public higher school athletic affiliation took a similar stage this 7 days and expects to host the first point out championship for women flag football in the spring of 2024.

The vote in California will come amid a surge in interest in flag football amongst young players in recreational leagues and burgeoning assistance from the NFL and groups these as the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, which have been functioning a pilot significant school league for women in Southern California.

Scores of educational institutions signed up to take part in the pilot and people chosen to do so — and the eager young players who played in it — have broadly been found as pioneers in the activity.

Paul Schmidt stated being component of a commence-up has been fascinating for his 14-calendar year-outdated daughter, who experienced in no way performed flag soccer before she tried out for the crew at Redondo Union Substantial College, 1 of the educational facilities taking part in the league. Creating the sport official must make it much easier to protected area time, he reported, and gives a raise to a restricted-knit team of girls that has bonded around starting a thing new.

“She loves it, loves it. It’s enjoyable to be in a new sport,” he said.

Increasing desire in flag football — in which no a single gets tackled and a enjoy ends when an opposing player pulls a flag from a belt around the ball-carrier’s waistline — will come amid problem about the risk of concussions and other injuries from tackle soccer.

In the decade top up to 2018-19, the amount of girls taking part in flag football in U.S. significant universities doubled to 11,000, in accordance to the Countrywide Federation of Point out Large School Associations.

Without the CIF’s acceptance, California high faculties could organize flag football clubs. But coaches stated making it possible for formal interscholastic level of competition will likely drive additional faculties to start out groups and develop a pipeline of players.

Troy Vincent Sr., the NFL’s government vice president of football functions, wrote in the Sacramento Bee that times have adjusted considering that he performed skilled soccer, which back again then was “broadly seen as a man’s match.” He said substantial university players may be ready to participate in into higher education and over and above as universities have also ramped up the activity.

Vincent is also pushing to get flag football additional to 2028 Olympic Game titles in Los Angeles.

“This is no more time just a backyard activity for girls’ pickup video games throughout relatives getaway gatherings,” he said.