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Girls’ flag football gets a kick-start from the NFL - FlagSpin

Girls’ flag football gets a kick-start from the NFL

GAME CHANGER—Past Conejo Youth Flag Football Association player Gigi Ciccone stands ready on the field. Courtesy of CYFFA

GAME CHANGER—Past Conejo Youth Flag Football Association player Gigi Ciccone stands ready on the field. Courtesy of CYFFA

Girls’ flag football is coming to a high school campus near you.

It is also going to be available to middle schoolers who want to try it out.

The sport was sanctioned in February by the CIF Federated Council by a vote of 146-0.

The CIF sanction allows high schools to add girls’ flag football to their interscholastic competition, which could encourage girls who want to play football to participate in the sport.

The CIF sanction also means schools can budget for coaches.

CIF has added several sports for women in the past few years, including wrestling, lacrosse, cheer, beach volleyball and now flag football, said Rob Wigod, former CIF commissioner of athletics.

“We are excited to debut girls’ flag football in the fall of 2023 and watching it take off,” he said. “In terms of having a new sport added to the CIF, as there was universal support for having another opportunity for female student-athletes to participate in education-based athletics.”

With the sanctioning, youth girls’ flag football is expanding, too. The Conejo Youth Flag Football Association in Thousand Oaks will be a pipeline for players in high school. CVUSD and other local districts have announced plans to develop programs.

Mark Chin, vice president of the association’s board of directors, has opened registration through August for girls in sixth through eighth grades.

CIF rules, released two weeks ago, he said, “are slightly different, a tackle-flag hybrid.”

Youth girls’ flag football will be played at Redwood Middle School, staggering games with boys.

“Our plan is to add four teams,” he said. “There seems to be a lot of interest at the high school level. If we do a good job of integrating and structure and teaching the game, we can be a nice feeder for the high schools,” he said.

The season begins the first week of September.

In flag football, a “tackle” is achieved when the flag attached by a belt to the ball-carrier’s waist is pulled by an opposing team’s player. Games are on a shortened football field of 80 yards by 40 yards, with seven-on-seven teams and four 12-minute quarters.

The effort to provide girls’ flag football began in earnest a couple of years ago, said Wigod, and it received a little kick from the NFL.

“The NFL has made growing the sport of girls’ flag football a priority for their organization, and for local teams like the Rams and Chargers to get in front of it with financial support and promoting leagues, tournaments and other activities to showcase the sport for high school students and younger students, too.”

Wigod, calling the playing field a “classroom outside the building,” said sports helps reinforce important values that lead to success for students.

“The CIF is committed to providing as many opportunities as possible for young people to learn the life lessons that participating in high school athletic programs can teach them,” Wigod said.

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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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