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Girls flag football clinics are major successes throughout Montgomery County | Communities - FlagSpin

Girls flag football clinics are major successes throughout Montgomery County | Communities

“This game is for you!”

That is what Tom LaNeve, director of officiating for NFL Flag, told the over 200 girls at the start of the Seneca Valley High School girls flag football clinic. The clinic at Seneca Valley was the second of three girls flag football clinics held at various Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) during the first two weeks of June. 

MCPS will be adding girls flag football as a varsity-only sport in the fall. These clinics gave girls a chance to meet their coaches and new friends while learning basic football skills with help from the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Commanders. 

The Ravens have partnered with MCPS to sponsor girls flag football, as the Ravens will cover the expenses for the inaugural season. MCPS has secured grant funding to sponsor the next few girls flag football seasons that will help make the sport a success in one of Maryland’s largest counties. 

“We’re just thrilled to offer girls flag,” MCPS athletic director Jeff Sullivan said. “It’s an opportunity to celebrate the diversity of Montgomery County Public Schools, regardless of your background or your experience with the sport, you can come out here and throw a football, play line, play running back [and] play wide receiver.” 

All 25 high schools will sponsor a varsity girls flag football team this fall, giving everyone the opportunity to play with all the schools starting at the same level. 

During the two-hour clinic, the girls rotated through different drills, learning how to pull the flag, throw and hike the ball, and catch and run with the ball. This introduces the girls to each position they could play throughout the season. 

“I just wanted to try something new and be more athletic,” incoming Damascus High School junior Kennedy Walker said. “I don’t really do sports, so I wanted to do something different.” 

Flag Football will be one of the two new sports making its debut during the 2028 Los Angeles Olympics. Expanding girls flag football to MCPS gives local athletes a chance to learn and develop skills in the lead-up to the sport being televised on the world’s biggest stage. 

MCPS will be one of four Maryland school systems with girls flag football, joining Frederick County, which launched its inaugural season in 2023, and Baltimore City and Washington County schools, which are also launching the sport in the fall. 

“We live in a world where boys have played [football] for generations, and we’ve seen an opportunity to level the playing field and get girls to the field,” senior manager of marketing and football outreach for the Ravens Adam Rudel said.

Rudel and the Ravens hope to make girls flag football a fully sanctioned sport for the entire state of Maryland, giving more female students athletic opportunities. 

Two former Commanders players, cornerback Kevin Barnes and wide receiver Josh Morgan, were in attendance watching the historic clinic in Germantown, Maryland. Barnes and Morgan helped with some drills while inspiring the next generation of girls flag football players in their own community. 

“When I was growing up, there were always a few girls who wanted to play football … so I think it’s a great thing,” Barners said. “ … This is incredible to have hundreds and hundreds [of girls] day after day.” 

Overall both clinics at Walter Johnson and Seneca Valley high schools have been major successes with hundreds of girls from all different racial and athletics backgrounds coming together to learn the basic flag football skills. The skills clinic featured energetic and inspiring coaches leading the way, showing these girls that they too can play football and how fun flag football is. 

“I really wanted to try something new and see what playing flag football was like because girls don’t really get a lot of chances to do it,” incoming Quince Orchard High School freshman Ivy Mastin said. 

Both Mastin and Walker said they are planning to try out for their school’s girls flag football teams as the clinics proved to build exciting momentum before tryouts begin in mid-August. 

“We’re going to grow this in Montgomery County, and the future opportunities are endless,” Sullivan said. 

The last clinic will be held at John F. Kennedy High School on June 10.

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