The Los Angeles Chargers partnered with the L.A. Legends sports organization to host their inaugural girls’ flag football college showcase at Serra high school. Members of the L.A. Legends helped facilitate drills and exercises.
“We’re big supporters of the L.A. Legends professional tackle team,” said Chargers director of football development Zac Emde. “Them being able to have their players out to help run this camp, it’s another good way to highlight women in football and showing that there’s higher levels, professional play.”
Young flag football players got a chance to show off their skills and learn from different college flag football coaches.
The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) sanctioned Womens’ Flag Football as a sport in 2020. This allows young female athletes the opportunity to compete beyond high school.
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“We have a lot of NAIA coaches out here kind of scouting, recruiting, seeing the talent … and possibly giving scholarships,” said Kansas Wesleyan Women’s Flag Football head coach Melinda Nguyen. “I think there’s a lot of athletes out here, there’s some people with raw talent, there’s some people with years of talent … it’s nice that they’re getting the exposure now.”
The youth participated in running, catching, flag-pulling, and throwing drills, they also played 7-on-7’s and one-on-ones. Although she could not participate, Serra senior running back Kyli Bixon was excited to cheer her teammates on and talk to college coaches.
“I’m happy for myself and my other teammates and other people out here being able to get this opportunity and do what they love in the future,” Bixon said. “Some people didn’t get this opportunity, so I’m sure everybody here is so thankful.”
Hesston College women’s flag football head coach Max Switzer recalled times when women were not allowed to compete in football in the past. Now he brimmed with excitement to hand out scholarships.
“We have probably about 60-70 girls out here that are having a lot of fun and they’re balling out,” Switzer said. “I think the women are soaking everything up, they want to learn … the quarterbacks been throwing routes to each other and to other receivers.”
Agion Quinney plays for the Legends and coaches the Serra girls’ flag football team. The Cavaliers are the reigning champs of the League of Champions.
“Being able to teach other young ladies and even adults about football and the possibilities, it’s just a great opportunity,” Quinney said. “Being able to show the girls that it’s a possibility for them to play at a higher level, it’s a great look.”
The fervor for girls flag football is palpable among the youth in Southern California, senior Destiny Okoli is a prime example of such.
“Before [Serra] got the team, I was gonna start my own team,” Okoli said. “Then I became the captain of the team and I recruited some girls … they went to the championships, proud of them.”
The CIF Southern Section voted to sanction girls flag-football as a sport in February. Southern Section Executive Committee president-elect Dr. Paula Hart-Rodas noted how the meeting when the sanction was decided was “ almost surreal,” recalling the cheers while the votes were counted.
“We had a unanimous 146 to zero vote yes,” Hart-Rodas said. “It was just an amazing feeling … to know what this means for the girls of California, for these girls that we’ve been working with for the last couple of years.”