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Girls flag football is coming and will be taken seriously – Orange County Register

High school girls flag football is closer to becoming reality now that the CIF Southern Section Council has approved a proposal that would make it an official CIF sport.

Girls flag football. How cute, right?

Wrong.

Girls are remarkable competitors.

Yes, girls often take a mistake more lightly than do high school boys; a girl volleyball player will flub a kill and her teammates might smile and goof on her a bit. But the smiles and giggles disappear quickly and seconds later that player who flubbed the kill is smashing the ball 80 mph.

Don’t get in the way of a girls soccer player in pursuit of the ball. Watch a girls swimmer dig deep to muscle her way through final few strokes in the pool. Elbows are flying in front of the 2-meter area in water polo, and softball pitchers whip the ball to the plate at Lamborghini-level speeds.

Girls flag football, which will be a 7-on-7 sport, has two more legislative steps before it becomes an official CIF sport. But it is going to be approved in February.

The CIF Southern Section has 36 of the CIF State Federated Council’s 125 votes in its weighted voting format. Many of the sections, if not all of the other nine, will support the proposal that needs only a majority for approval.

Then girls flag football officially becomes a CIF sport for fall 2023. (The original proposal had girls flag football as a spring sport.)

Athletic directors already are figuring out field time for girls flag football practices and games, transportation to away games, how to assemble the proposal’s required coaching staff of a head coach, an assistant coach and a strength and conditioning coach, and how to have certified trainers present at practices and games.

Orange Lutheran athletic director Vince Brown anticipates great interest at that Trinity League school.

“We know it will not take much publicity for our girls to get behind it,” Brown said. “The challenge is having girls flag football in the fall.

“Girls tennis, girls volleyball, girls cross country, girls tennis and girls golf are already fall sports. So what athletes are we going to get for flag football? We’ll probably get some girls basketball players, some soccer girls players, maybe even some girls volleyball players will switch over. We could be diluting our female athletes population, but I know for sure we’re going to find enough girls to have at least one level if not two levels of teams.”

Edison has a flag football club team.

“Response was great when we started it,” said Edison athletic director Rich Boyce. “We had a bunch of girls sign up right away. I think it’s going to be a big thing at Edison.”

Boyce anticipates transportation for away games won’t be an issue.

“There probably will be only 11 or 12 players on a team,” he said, “so we’ll only need one bus or two vans.”

Financing for uniforms and equipment should not be a problem. Funding assistance from the NFL will be coming. Nike and the NFL are providing $100,000 worth of product to state associations like CIF that offer high school girls flag football.

The NFL FLAG organization has more than 500,000 boys and girls players in leagues and tournaments including a tournament Nov. 6 at Edison High School for boys and girls 8 to 17 years old.

The Rams and Chargers teamed up to create a pilot season for eight area girls flag football teams around the time that the Super Bowl was played at SoFi Stadium this past winter. And CIF girls flag football players would wear the NFL FLAG quick-release belts that have three flags on each belt.

The NFL just might want to ensure that California high school girls flag football gets the finances it needs to succeed.

Fifteen NAIA colleges offer flag football scholarships. NCAA schools might follow. The opportunity for college scholarships in women’s water polo, for one, helped that sport grow quickly at the high school level.

Having enough officiating crews to work girls flag football, which require two to four officials at each game, is another area that needs to be addressed.

Orange County Football Officials Association assignor Paul Caldera, already dealing with a shortage of officials, has suggestions.

“Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday games would lighten the load for officials,” said Caldera, who also is the CIF-SS officials liaison. “And, personally speaking, if schools want to spotlight girls flag football they might want to consider having those games right before the boys varsity game like they sometimes do in basketball.”

Many junior high and middle schools have flag football teams. The Parochial Athletic League has flag football teams, too, with some of those teams for fifth- and sixth-grade kids. Caldera said girls flag football officials might come from that pool of officials.

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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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