Lambeth girls just wanna have NFL fun

Schoolgirls from across Lambeth descended on the home of AFC Wimbledon last week to take part in an immersive NFL Flag Football experience.

Recently announced as a sport for the Los Angeles 2028 Olympic Games, Flag Football is a short, fast, non-contact and gender-equal format of American football, where tackles are made by pulling off flags which all players wear on their hips.

And last Thursday, the Cherry Red Records Stadium saw 260 girls aged 12-14 from across schools in Lambeth and Ealing attend an event to announce the expansion of the New York Jets and Chicago Bears UK NFL Girls Flag Football League, which started last year.

NFL coaches, including those from the Lambeth-based BIGKID Foundation, delivered a variety of drills and activities on the pitch, with workshops, media activities and fun games held inside.

South London was represented at the event by Woodmansterne and Bishop Thomas Grant schools from Streatham, Tulse Hill’s Elmgreen and City Heights, plus Harris Academy (Clapham), St Mary Magdalene (Peckham), La Retraite RC (Clapham Park) and Platanos (Stockwell).

“I’m here to try something new and learn a new skill out of it,” said Eleanor, 14, from Bishop Thomas Grant School in Streatham. “I didn’t know very much about Flag Football, but it’s been great, a great opportunity. It is not something I would have done otherwise.”

Competitors in action as The New York Jets And Chicago Bears Expand Girls Flag league (Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images for the New York Jets and Chicago Bears)

“I’ve been playing flag football for a year and it’s really fun. You socialise with others – it’s a very active and enjoyable sport,” added Majeedah, 13, from Elmgreen School in Tulse Hill.

“I feel very happy that I was selected among all the other students in my year because I feel like we can do really well together. I would tell anyone to come and play because it’s a very enjoyable experience and you can get a lot out of it. It’s very sociable, it’s fun.”

The second edition of the New York Jets and Chicago Bears UK NFL Girls Flag Football League will get underway at Kennington Park on April 15 with 260 girls expected to participate, up from the 120 last season.

Also in attendance at the event in Wimbledon were current NFL players, Chicago Bears’ Tremaine Edmunds and New York Jets’ Quincy Williams, plus Great Britain Women’s Flag team members Ellie Thorpe, Kellie Barrett and Kate Bruinvels.

“We have Flag Football in schools and over 26 regions in the UK with over 30,000 kids playing,” said Afia Law, NFL International Flag Football Development Manager. “It’s just incredible to see there’s a whole football field dedicated to girls playing and getting to try this sport.”

Pictured top: Going through their paces at Wimbledon’s stadium (Picture: Alex Davidson/Getty Images for the New York Jets and Chicago Bears)


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