As this year marks the 50th anniversary of Title IX, more barriers are being broken in women’s sports. The Los Angeles Rams and Chargers along with Gatorade, partnered up for their second annual unveiling of uniforms for the Girls Flag Football League of Champions.
“The opportunities and the pathways of access that this creates beyond the field, we’re really excited to be behind it and empower girls to be all they can be,” said Rams director of social justice and football development Johnathan Franklin.
The league expanded to 16 teams, players from the teams visited SoFi Stadium to get uniforms and other equipment and materials to prepare them to compete. Morningside, Redondo Union, Long Beach Poly and Serra are some of the high schools that are in the League of Champions.
As the youth arrived in the Chargers and Rams locker rooms to receive their uniforms, cheers and chants rang out. The students yelled out their respective schools: “Poly!” “Wood!” “C-House!”
“This is a new thing at [Long Beach Poly], it means a lot to us, we’re the first ones to do it in our whole district,” said Long Beach Poly student athlete Jeneell Moe. “I got a lot of love for the school itself.”
They took photos and recorded videos of their new gear. The uniforms were provided by Nike. Crenshaw running back Dechelle “Dynamite” Brackett competed during the inaugural season.
“The experience was really good for me. It was really different because high schools never done anything like it, it was really fun,” Brackett said. “It was different because it actually made history basically.”
After the teams received their uniforms, they listened to a panel discussion that included Team USA women’s flag and tackle football players Elizabeth Sowers, Darcy Leslie and Vanita Krouch. Rams corporate communications representative Nia Hyacinthe and Chargers manager of football development Angellica Grayson moderated the event.
“It’s monumental, it’s indescribable,” said Grayson, who also has a 14-year career in tackle football. “To see these ladies’ faces smiling and being able to see other people who have done this and been there and they can take that same exact path and go beyond where we went and that gives me chills.”
The Rams and Chargers are providing the teams with several resources including stipends for coaches, athletic trainers, officials, coaching manuals, and transportation.
“It’s just an incredible opportunity for our girls,” said Rise Kohyang High School athletic director and head coach Yolanda Galeazi. “To be able to get this gear is just a blessing and it’s something that our girls will cherish forever.”
The inaugural season kicked off in January 2022 with the Championship taking place at the official Super Bowl experience. Flag football players, including Tamaya Hemphill of Inglewood high school, were coin toss captains for Super Bowl LVI.
“It was amazing to have our young lady [Hemphill] on the field, not only in our backyard in Inglewood, not only in SoFi but she was wearing a jersey that said ‘Inglewood’ on it for the whole world to see, that along with the other schools, it was beautiful,” said Inglewood girls flag football coach Jason Beresford. “She represented the school pretty well.”