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All-girls flag football league officially kicks off in the South Bay – Daily Breeze - FlagSpin

All-girls flag football league officially kicks off in the South Bay – Daily Breeze

Girls Under-6 Rams player Manhattan Farrell (right) snatches the flag off of Chargers player Mila Kleintop (left) during the inaugural season of the Beach Cities Sports Girls Flag Football league at Redondo Beach, CA on March 25, 2023. (Photo by Gil Castro-Petres, Contributing Photographer)

It was a huge day for women’s sports. The Beach Cities Sports youth flag football league just introduced its all-girls division.

GBCS, an offshoot of the 14,000-player BCS primarily boys flag football league, officially launched Saturday, March 25, at Redondo Union High School.

The Chargers and Rams teams, made of girls ages 9 to 11, kicked off the first game for the league opening. Four games with the rest of the 125 players, 6 to 12 years old, followed throughout the day.

“This is a monumental day in women’s sports, possibly the most important day in the history of this league,” BCS president Alexi Waul said during Saturday’s opening ceremony. “From this moment on, never let anyone tell you you can’t do it, girls aren’t allowed to play, or this is not a girls’ sport.”

As the players warmed up, the NFL Chargers’ drumline, the Thunderbolts, played a few songs and did a drumroll leading up to the first kick. Folks on the field threw Chargers logoed t-shirts and foam balls to the crowd in the bleachers, and players jumped, cheered and waved to their families in the stands.

The Rams scored the first touchdown of the opening game.

“I feel a sense of pride; I think that’s going to really hit me tomorrow,” Waul said in an interview a day before the opening.

The community needs to see that this matters, Waul added.

“I’m looking forward to seeing these girls enjoy themselves in a competitive environment and be involved in the football culture — a culture they’ve been restricted from for a long time.”

The California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) last month voted to make high school girls flag football an officially sanctioned sport in the state. But BCS had their new league in the works a year ago, Waul said, with a goal to launch this spring.

When Waul became the organization’s president in 2019, he said, he knew his goal was to grow the size and scope of BCS. The league was founded in 2008 by a group of local dads, who Waul said never imagined BCS would become what it is now.

“I wanted to grow, especially with the girls,” Waul said. “We have a history of girls participating in the league, playing alongside the boys, but I had a feeling there are probably some girls who’d love to be involved but are maybe a little intimidated by playing with the boys; if there’s a space they can do this with other girls, it might be better.”

Womens’ sports has always had to fight this uphill battle for engagement with fans and funding from the institutions they exist in, among other things, Waul said. And at BCS games, you often see sisters of the players in the stands watching from the sidelines and their level of engagement as a spectator; “I wonder if they want to play, too.”

“We have an opportunity: How can we blaze this trail (and let girls know) you can play football and you don’t have to be restricted to ‘womens’ sports’ in our society,” Waul said.

Raising two sons himself, Waul added, “It was important not only for the girls but also the boys in this community to see that girls can do this, are capable and can have fun with it.”

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Travis Burnett

Travis Burnett

A pioneer in the flag football community, Travis helped co-found the Flag Football World Championship Tour, FlagSpin and USA Flag. Featuring 15+ years of content creation for the sport of flag football, creating and managing the largest flag football tournaments on the planet, coaching experience at the youth and adult level as well as an active player with National and World Championship level experience.

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