Girls’ flag football to be offered at Alabama high schools
By Emma Newell
The Alabama High School Athletic Association announced a new sanctioned sport beginning in fall 2021: girls’ flag football.
Alabama will be only the seventh state to sanction the sport at the high school level, and AHSAA partnered with NFL FLAG and the Atlanta Falcons to make it happen.
“After discussions with the Atlanta Falcons for several months, we are excited to be adding this girls’ sport for our membership,” said Alvin Briggs, the associate executive director of AHSAA. “We think it will grow rapidly.”
The Atlanta Falcons helped start the high school girls’ flag football program in Georgia over the past few years. Due to its success, they aim to implement their model in other states, including Alabama.
The initiative is supported by the NFL as a whole, as other NFL teams and NFL FLAG have similarly brought girls’ flag football to other states.
“Girls’ flag demonstrates that football is for all, and the greater the participation, the stronger the game, and the more young women can build the transferrable skills football provides for achieving success in life,” Troy Vincent, executive vice president of football operations for the NFL, told Play Football.
With the sanctioning of the sport also comes a deal with Nike, as the brand is granting uniforms to any state athletic association that offers the girls’ flag football to high school students.
Izell Reese, the executive director for NFL FLAG, thinks that with the enthusiasm, support and demand they have seen for the sport, it was a matter of time before it spread throughout the country.
“I’m especially proud to help bring girls’ high school football to my home state of Alabama,” Reese said. “I’m grateful to be in a position that creates more opportunities for youth athletes to participate in football.”
Schools across the state have begun discussions to assess interest in the sport and decide if they will form a team for its inaugural season. Enterprise High School, for example, said they will have meetings regarding it over the next month.
“I wish they would have done something like this sooner,” said Bailey Harris, a recent graduate of Winfield High School in Marion County. “This is Alabama, so I know girls are going to jump at the chance to do it.”
The first girls’ flag football season in Alabama will end in December with the Super 7 State High School Football Championships at the new Protective Stadium in Birmingham.