International Women’s Day and Ealing Trailfinders sports ground was the setting for an announcement that the New York Jets and Chicago Bears, have launched the Jets and Bears NFL Girls Flag league, and four schools from Ealing will be taking part.
NFL Flag is the non-contact version of American Football and seeks to promote accessibility for all, teamwork, and character development in youth.
The Ealing schools taking part in the Jets league are: Featherstone High School, Ealing Fields High School and Villiers High School and Alec Reed Academy will be taking part on the Bears league.
From 20 April 2023, the league will see girls aged 12-14 compete in two conferences of six teams each (twelve teams total) across five weeks. The Jets and Bears will each run a conference in Ealing, with the winners going head-to-head in a Championship Event on 22 May 2023.
Afia Law, head of community and grassroots development at NFL UK) said: “NFL UK is seeing great momentum in Flag Football participation across the country and initiatives like this are a fantastic way to engage young people to get active and involved. As a former player, I’m delighted to see an increase in opportunities for girls to play Flag, helping them to feel like they belong in a sport, and I am excited to see the growth of Flag Football nationwide in the coming years.”
Dr. Victor Thompson, sports and clinical psychologist added: “NFL Flag is a fun and inclusive sport for all whilst providing pro-social settings. As a growing sport in the UK, and a new experience for most participants, girls can access Flag football without limiting expectations. The launch of this new league will help girls foster a can-do mindset within a supportive team environment and community. The game brings a great social atmosphere, where everyone works together to plan and execute winning plays, building outputs that include life-long psychological skills in strategy, communication, resilience, and can promote healthy mental wellbeing for the future.”
In a statement, New York Jets said: “The creation of our new league furthers our commitment to providing female athletes an equitable opportunity to play what we consider to be the greatest sport in the world. The collaboration between the Jets and Bears ensures the athletes will have a first class, professional experience. We are thrilled to continue cultivating meaningful relationships and expanding our fanbase throughout the United Kingdom.”
In a statement Chicago Bears said: “As part of our core mission, the Chicago Bears look to inspire young people to participate in sports and increase access to organised sports. With our fanbase in the UK growing, we wanted to showcase that there were opportunities for everyone in this sport. Our hope with this partnership is to create greater access for younger girls in sports and to give them a space to participate and stand out in flag football.”