High school girls’ flag ends first season at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

High school girls' flag ends first season at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) – On Sunday at Bank of America Stadium, the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools concluded the inaugural season of girls’ high school flag football.

Chambers was the winner of the league title, but this is about more than just a championship. It’s about exposure to the sport and the doors it could open, as well as the new-found confidence it gives these young ladies.

“I was a little scared,” said Butler freshman Brooklyn Saunders when she described the first time she went out for flag football. “I was like ‘can I catch a ball?’ But it was a really nice experience to come here and be able to prove myself and others wrong that I can play flag football.”

Football is such a male dominated sport but young girls love the sport too and with flag football in development, some are finally getting the chance to participate in the one sport they really love while others can step on one leg and add something to their portfolio .

“The majority of my team don’t play sports, so this is pretty much their first high school sport they’ve played,” Saunders said.

“We have cheerleaders on the team, basketball players. softball players, people who have played soccer, volleyball — we have athletes from all different sports playing this game,” said Chambers coach Tiana Alexander. “I remember the first day I made the group chat. I left it maybe five minutes, I come back to more than 2000 messages.”

So there is no doubt that the interest and excitement is there.

Although this first year was a pilot program, the hope is that this sport will be sanctioned as a varsity sport like in 6 other states.

It was sanctioned in Georgia in 2020, and nearly 200 schools have teams, and they play and broadcast their championships on the same weekend as the high school boys’ state soccer championship.

Flag football is growing and as it does, it is opening new doors that these young ladies may never have had the chance to progress beyond high school.

“There are also scholarships for these college-level young ladies to play flag football,” said CMS director of athletics Ericia Turner. “As far as we can create more opportunities for girls, now is the time to do it.”

“But also about coaching,” said Panthers legend and girls’ soccer league ambassador Mike Rucker. “It gives them a different perspective on playing flag football. If they want to go coaching I think there are a lot of opportunities and you can see where this will really take off and have a lot of height as more people start hearing about it in different counties in the state of North Carolina.”

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