A new high school female flag football league is coming to the city thanks to a donation from the Philadelphia Eagles.
The Eagles are donating $100,000 to provide sports equipment to youth girls and will launch the Inaugural High School Girls Flag Football League, which will be available to Philadelphia Public and Catholic League Schools.
A total of $200,000 in resources will support the program through matching funds and donations. The money will be donated to the Eagles; nonprofit partner Leveling the Playing Field, which will distribute sports bras to female athletes.
“On behalf of the entire LPF team, we are incredibly excited to have the opportunity to partner with the Philadelphia Eagles to bring a much-needed equipment resource to local female athletes,” said Kaitlin Brennan, Director of Operations at Leveling the Playing Field. “While it may not be as widely known, sports bras are yet another equipment barrier that can prevent girls from under-resourced communities from engaging in sports and are one of our most requested pieces of gear. This incredible donation of new, quality sports bras is helping to break down those gendered barriers and get more girls from the Philadelphia community off the sidelines.”
Approximately 6,000 sports bras will be purchased and distributed in the city, which will be enough to provide at least one to each female athlete in the School District of Philadelphia. In addition, the Eagles will launch a 15-team flag football league in the spring, featuring high school girls teams from both the Public and Catholic Leagues. The season will be an eight-game schedule for each team, a championship game at the Eagles NovaCare Complex practice facility in South Philly and will include a jamboree at Lincoln Financial Field.
The goal is to make girls flag football an official sanctioned sport in the state of Pennsylvania.
“This high school girls flag football initiative means the world to the girls in our program and school,” said Kara Quinn, Athena Athletics participant and future member of the high school flag football program. “The Philadelphia Eagles have been so supportive of us and helped us reach a dream we did not even know was possible, playing flag football as a high school sport in our school community. To me, this is exhilarating. The program will provide us with opportunities, like earning college scholarships, that we could not have taken advantage of without the backing of the Philadelphia Eagles. I really appreciate the work they have done to make the big push for girls flag as a high school sport in PA.”
The announcement coincides with the celebration of the 36th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day on Feb. 2.
“The Philadelphia Public League is excited to continue expanding on our partnership with the Philadelphia Eagles, and our collective focus on increasing female participation through sports across the City,” said James Lynch, Executive Director of Athletics, Philadelphia Public League. “The Eagles organization has been steadfast in its commitment in partnering with our City schools to provide this great new opportunity for Girls Flag Football. Even further, they are ensuring our female student-athletes have the critical pieces of equipment and skill development opportunities to ensure safety and an enjoyable experience for all.”
According to the Eagles, they are the first NFL team to support female youth athletes from their community in this capacity. The purchase was made possible thanks to a $50,000 matching contribution from the NFL Foundation.
“The Philadelphia Eagles have always been committed to growing the game of football,” said Jen Kavanagh, Senior Vice President of Media and Marketing, Philadelphia Eagles. “We are thrilled to be working with Leveling the Playing Field, the Philadelphia Public League, and Archdiocese, to ensure female youth athletes have the equipment and resources needed to feel comfortable and confident engaging in the sport they love. The valuable life lessons sport provides, such as teamwork, leadership, and character building, extend far beyond the playing field. The more recreational opportunities we can provide for young women, the stronger our communities will be.”
Each school will be provided with custom uniforms from Nike, as well as a Port-a-field provided by USA Football. Schools will also receive two NFL Flag kits, complete with footballs, flags and instructional materials for practice drills, and a $3,000 stipend from the Eagles for costs associated with implementation of a team.
“For our female student-athletes to compete in an emerging sport and enjoy the countless benefits of organized athletic competition is very exciting,” said Stephen Haug, Executive Director of Athletics, Archdiocese of Philadelphia Schools. “This is a tremendous endeavor for the AOP schools that have seized the opportunity to partner with the Philadelphia Eagles in what will undoubtedly be a first-class operation in this inaugural season. I look forward to even more AOP schools joining the excitement and competition in the near future.”