New York Jets and Chicago Bears announce the first-ever UK NFL Flag league for girls

The New York Jets and Chicago Bears have launched the inaugural Jets and Bears NFL Girls Flag league, the first UK all-girls’ competition of its kind. The aim is to overcome barriers in activity and to increase access to sport for young girls.

Starting from 20 April, the league will see girls aged 12-14 compete in two conferences of six teams each (12 teams total) across five weeks in Ealing. The ambition of this tournament is to expand to other UK cities and age groups in future years to provide more opportunities for young girls. Competitors will benefit with transferable skills that will stay with them from life with both teams providing coaching sessions from a qualified NFL Flag coach.

At the launch event on International Women’s Day (8 March), Sky Sports presenter Hannah Wilkes engaged with a panel prominent advocates in women’s sport, who spoke to the 100 girls competing in the league. This included Phoebe Schecter (Team GB NFL Flag player), Celia Quansah (England rugby sevens player), Afia Law (head of community & grassroots development at NFL UK), Chase Claypool (Chicago Bears wide receiver), CJ Uzomah (New York Jets tight end) and Ugo Monye (former England rugby union player).

The panel discussed the barriers for girls to continue participating in sports throughout secondary school. Following the discussion, the girls received their official Nike and team branded kit and had a taster session of what’s to come with NFL UK coaches.

Dr Victor Thompson, sports and clinical psychologist, has welcomed the introduction of the league: “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.”

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