Another youth flag football program is coming to the western communities starting this fall. The Breakthru Athletic League, a nonprofit organization, is bringing an NFL Flag chapter of five-on-five flag football to the greater Acreage/Loxahatchee area.
According to Breakthru Athletic League President Chris Harris, NFL Flag is currently the fastest-growing flag football program in the United States.
“We have an all-boys league and an all-girls league for ages 4 to 17,” Harris said. “Our registration ends on Aug. 14. The registration fee is $125 per person with a sibling discount available.”
The opening day of the fall 2022 season for the Breakthru Athletic League is Saturday, Sept. 10. The season includes eight regular-season games with a “super bowl” tournament at the end of the season.
According to Harris, the players will meet three times per week at Western Pines Middle School, located at 5949 140th Avenue North. On Mondays, all athletes in the league will meet for a series of group football skills and conditioning training sessions. On Wednesdays and Thursdays, athletes will meet with their specific team and coach for an organized practice. On Saturdays, teams will play competitive games.
Harris’ wife, Samantha Harris, is the president of the girls division. She has been playing flag football since 2000, has coached girls flag football at Seminole Ridge High School for 11 years, and has coached recreation and travel teams as well.
“Samantha has assembled a board of directors who have a positive mindset,” Chris Harris said. “Her board features a group of individuals who are looking to grow the sport.”
The president of the boys division is Bill Basso. He is a local firefighter who has served as a league president and coach for youth baseball in the western communities.
“Bill has put together an experienced board of directors group that is excited to see an all-boys flag football league in the area for the first time,” Harris said.
The emergence of this local NFL-backed youth flag football chapter in the western communities is a reflection of the growth and popularity of flag football across the U.S. and overseas. Flag football — for men and women — is one of the medal sports at the World Games now taking place (July 7-17) in Birmingham, Alabama. Besides the U.S., other countries with flag football teams include Mexico, Austria, Brazil, Panama, Japan, France, Italy, Denmark and Germany.
According to Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, NFL Flag has more than half a million participants and 1,640 active leagues, prompting six states to certify girls high school flag football as a varsity sport.
“More than 20 other states are either showing interest or already in the process of launching pilot programs,” added Vincent, who was drafted by the Miami Dolphins with the seventh overall pick in the 1992 NFL Draft.
“It’s a very exciting time for the sport,” Harris said. “Between the World Games and the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), which sanctions flag football for women, the future is looking good for flag football.”
The list of local league sponsors to date for the Breakthru Athletic League includes Lakeside Cottages, East Coast Painting and Waterproofing, Jabrewski’s Pizza Company, Green Gorilla Print House, Jordano Insurance Group, Tru Skillz Academy, Goals 4 Girls WPB, Sassy Stitches Embroidery, D1 Training Royal Palm Beach, Elite Detailing & Coatings, State Farm Agent Robert LaPeter, AMS Palm Beach, Elite Power Solutions, Oil Change Services Inc. and Dick’s Sporting Goods.
To learn more about the Breakthru Athletic League, call Chris Harris at (561) 596-4196 or visit www.breakthruathleticleague.com.