The American Flag Football League (AFFL) will add a new women’s division promising pay equity from the kickoff, offering women’s teams a championship prize equal to the $200,000 it awards its men’s teams.
Adrienne Smith, a former wide receiver for the Boston Renegades of Team USA Football, will oversee football operations and corporate partnership development for the women’s division. Michelle Roque will join the organization to head up social media for the AFFL and marketing for the Women’s Division.
“When I was a little girl, it wasn’t cool to want to play football and it definitely wasn’t cool to play as well as the boys could,” Roque said. “We are so excited to finally give all those football-loving girls out there the role models that our generation didn’t have to look up to.”
“The grassroots flag community has always epitomized the inclusivity and diversity that so much of society has struggled to achieve. Once we made the commitment to introduce the women’s division to the world, there was no question that our grand prizes would be equal,” said Jeffrey Lewis, CEO and founder of the league.
Girls’ flag football is a growing sport, one that has recently captured the attention and backing of Nike and the NFL, which partnered on a grant initiative committing a total of $5 million to growing high school programs.
The multi-year project will provide a one-time donation of up to $100,000 in products including uniforms, socks and accessories such as sports bras to state athletic associations that offer girls flag football as a high school sport or successfully pilot a program beginning in 2021.
Anne Stych is a staff writer for Bizwomen.