The Pittsburgh Elite flag football program earned an opportunity for a new experience.
By winning the 9U, 11U and 12U tournaments Aug. 1 at the Valley Forge Championships in Conshohocken, the program will have an opportunity to compete at the NFL Flag Bowl on Feb. 4-6 in Los Angeles.
The tournament will start a week before the Super Bowl, which will be held at SoFi Stadium. While Pittsburgh Elite’s tournament won’t be at the site of the big game, they are looking forward to making the trip.
Since the program started a travel squad in 2016, they have gone to play in Tampa, Fla., on several occasions but have yet to make a trip to the west coast.
“This event is kicking off Super Bowl week and to earn our way there for the teams to experience a little of what surrounds it and to be a part of something the NFL is hosting is special,” Pittsburgh Elite commissioner Erik Cooper said.
The Pittsburgh Elite program started with one team but has grown to eight teams broken down by age group and has 80 participants from around the area, but with many of them coming from Penn Hills.
Cooper said the group is working on fundraising for the trip to help families be able to make the trek across the country.
The Pittsburgh Elite flag football program features plenty of coaches with ties to Penn Hills. The 9U team is coached by Brandon Anderson, a Penn Hills alum, along with Tayon Mitchell.
The 11U team is coached by Londell Robinson, a Penn Hills resident, and Rashad Colvin. The 12U team is led by Penn Hills alum Jayvin Turner and Korey Rea.
All of the teams heading to nationals are ranked in the top 15 in their age division.
Cooper said they have been able to find regular tournaments to compete in during the pandemic. They’ve entered a tournament every month.
Going to Los Angeles will be something exciting for the program.
“For us, it’s another tournament,” Cooper said. “The difference is all the teams there have earned their way there. We know it’s going to be tough from pool play until the end. We are excited to go up against top competition.”
Josh Rizzo is a freelance writer.