A group of high school girls in northern New Jersey is taking over the gridiron to play competitive football. The girls will compete in the Garden State’s inaugural high school girls flag football league.
“The parents and the girls are very excited about it. I mean boisterous. I mean, whatever adjective you want to add to it, they are all ready for it,” says Morristown coach Vincent Phinn.
In partnership with the New York Jets and Nike, the girls will represent eight different high schools in the pilot league. Phinn and Coach Lou Vanorskie say that the response to the league has been massive.
“Join the football team down the road, go to college to be a manager, be a GA. We just got off of a Super Bowl that saw the first female referee, and you know, the avenue hasn’t always been there, and I think this is just another great avenue to introduce the game to people who didn’t have the opportunity before,” says Vanorskie.
The Jets and Nike are providing grants for equipment, uniforms and coaching stipends.
“But the other special thing is they are giving us another $1,000 to provide a scholarship to one senior female student athlete this year that is going off to college,” says Irvington athletic director Dr. John Taylor.
Taylor says that he has more than 50 girls signed up for the team. And while the league is not sanctioned by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, Taylor says he is confident that it could be in the future.
“I could certainly see something like this turning into something where in five years every high school in New Jersey has a girls flag football team. And I think it’s even going to go as far as not only do they have teams, they have all three levels – varsity, JV and freshman,” Taylor says.
Flag football tryouts and practices begin next month. The games will start in April.