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As women's flag football popularity soars, local athletes take advantage

Posted at 11:34 PM, Apr 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-16 09:11:24-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Flag football is now a collegiate sport for women at the NAIA level. It was announced last month that starting in 2022, the NJCAA will start playing games, and for local players, they say it's about time.

"It gets very aggressive out there!" laughed Rickards senior Ny'asia Green, who plays quarterback.

"I talk to people after the game and they're like, this is way faster paced then tackle," added Chiles senior quarterback Sam Wilson.

"Being a first-year coach, I'm like come on, come out to watch us play flag football," said Rickards head coach Meaghan Eckerle. "It's like, 'Really? I don't if I want to go to a women's flag football game,' but when they come, it's such an exciting game."

It's a game that's growing. Last week, Alabama become the fifth state to offer it at the high school level. The NFL is offering grants to programs and backing women's flag football becoming a collegiate sport.

"At the beginning of the year, me and Sam actually Snapchatted each other and said wouldn't that be so cool if it was an opportunity?" said Chiles senior Sidney Hines, who's already signed with Warner University. "Now it's coming true. It's crazy."

Hines and Wilson will play flag football collegiately.

"I see everywhere that flag is growing and being so much bigger and better than it is, and that's how it should be," said Wilson, who will sign with Webber in May.

"Knowing that we can compete and keep it going, it won't end so soon, it's the best feeling," added Hines.

It's a chance to keep playing and get an education.

"It's nice to not only have that opportunity to have those scholarships for females but also to have them where we have these clips of a girl throwing it 40-50 yards," said Eckerle. "Females not only have a spot with that scholarship but also in the world of football."

A world where football is very much a woman's game too.