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Under the Lights Flag Football League Enters 14th Season at Friends School of Baltimore - FlagSpin

Under the Lights Flag Football League Enters 14th Season at Friends School of Baltimore

Youth Sports Hitting Higher Heights with the Booming Popularity of Flag Football

As a former NFL player, Jason Murphy has often been asked by parents of young children, “when is the right time for my child to start playing football?” And while there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, as a parent himself, Murphy simply replies, “anytime you’re ready.”  Hearing that question repeatedly and wanting kids to experience the fun and fitness of the sport, Murphy launched the Baltimore franchise of Under Armour’s Under the Lights Flag football league several years ago.  The league starts its 14th season at Friends School of Baltimore on Saturday afternoons on September 23rd.

“Flag football is just the perfect entry into the sport.  It’s about learning the sport, and fitness, and recreation, and teamwork…and not about tackling and hitting, because we know that should not be happening too early,” Murphy stresses. 

Flag football has become increasingly popular across the country.  A recent study from the Aspen Institute Sports & Society Program found that flag football’s popularity has surpassed that of tackle football for children ages 12 and under. In Baltimore, Murphy has watched the growth of the Under the Lights league over the past several years, as it has become a go-to for area families, season after season, with many returning players.

The league caters to children in grades K-8 and serves as a perfect prep for the eventual rigors of any high school sport, not just football.  As a co-ed league, Murphy finds some of his former athletes become successful at the high school level in track and field, volleyball and other sports, with flag football having provided the springboard and foundation. 

“My sons played, my husband coached the team, and even our daughter said she wanted to try it too,” said Devin Morgan, a parent from Roland Park whose family participates in the league. “Mr. Murphy is really dedicated to making this league very family friendly.  We will be here until we age out!”  Morgan’s experience is not unique.  Come to Friends School any Saturday afternoon and you will see entire families enjoying the games.  And this year, Murphy has a big surprise for the teams.  He’s worked out a true “under the lights” experience as one of the weeks will take place at the new Under Armour football field at The Peninsula.

Murphy retired from the Baltimore Ravens over a decade ago after a seven-year career in the NFL.  He has since become a successful entrepreneur with a large portfolio of businesses, but he considers running the youth flag football league to be a passion endeavor that he is committed to.  “I wish I had something like this growing up,” he says.  “The opportunity to introduce this sport to the next generation in a nurturing and fun way is one of the greatest things I get to do!”

Registration for the fall 2023 season of Under The Lights Flag Football is underway with a few slots remaining. 

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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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