The Key West Women and Girls Flag Football League is underway. Entering its 21st year, the league has 200 girls learning to play and enjoy a game the whole family watches on the weekend — but in a new way.
“Playing flag football, we create our own style with a completely different flavor,” said longtime coach and league organizer Diane Beruldsen. “We don’t prioritize winning, rather understanding her position on the field to make the best choices. It’s about building leaders and caring for one another. We don’t focus on the score.”
Marathon flag football league mom Allison Sayer says, “My daughter is obsessed with the game.”
On Thanksgiving weekend, Sarah Fuller made history by being the first female to play in a major conference football game for Vanderbilt University as kicker.
“It’s just so exciting,” Fuller told ESPN after the game. “The fact that I can represent the little girls out there who want to do this or thought about playing football or any sport really. And (I hope) it encourages them to be able to step out and do something big like this.”
The Keys league has 200 players spread across 10 teams in two divisions — girls (ages 9 to 11, though they take players as young as 7) and junior (ages 12 to 15). Girls 16 and older are invited to play in the local women’s league.
It’s not too late to join, for mothers or daughters.
“We encourage moms to coach, so their daughters can see their mothers in leadership positions,” said Beruldsen.
Once-a-week practices are spread throughout the week. Pictured is a scrimmage game played over the Thanksgiving weekend. The program is free, courtesy of businesses that sponsor teams. The season culminates in mid-January with the Kelly McGillis Classic Flag Football Tournament.
For more about the league, or to join (it’s not too late as a player or a coach), call 305-896-8678.