The Buccaneers are the hosts this weekend for the Girls Flag Football Preseason Classic, an annual event that attracts 1,200 players, making it the largest girls’ flag football tournament in the world.
Tampa Bay is the only NFL team with multiple female coaches on its staff, and both of them are in attendance at the event, where strength and conditioning coach Maral Javadifar said supporting girls’ football is to be expected in Tampa Bay, where diversity is a core value of head coach Bruce Arians.
“Coach Arians is always looking to push forward. He’s been progressive. He wants to do what’s right, and that’s what he believes in,” Javadifar told the Tampa Bay Times.
Tampa Mayor Jane Castor credited the team for encouraging girls to get involved in the sport.
“The only thing that you need to ensure that you build up is that belief in yourself and that confidence that you can do anything,” Castor told the Buccaneers’ website. “Do you think the coaches here when they grew up watching football on TV that they ever thought they would have an opportunity to coach NFL team? They didn’t know that because they didn’t see it, they didn’t see any women standing on the sidelines but now you get to see them standing on the sidelines, you get to see them as coaches in the NFL and you can be the first players in the NFL, if that’s what your dream is and you’re committed to work hard enough to get there.”
The event was initially scheduled to take place at the Buccaneers’ practice facility but was moved to a larger outdoor venue because of COVID-19 concerns.