Nike teams with NFL for girls flag football initiative

Elci+Cortes+%E2%80%9922+and+Delaney+Mulqueen+%E2%80%9922+demonstrate+what+a+girls+flag+football+team+might+look+like+on+Mayer+Family+Field+in+the+near+distant+future+

Sophia Carrasquilla ’22

Elci Cortes ’22 and Delaney Mulqueen ’22 demonstrate what a girls flag football team might look like on Mayer Family Field in the near distant future

Andrea Abraham ’24, Staff Reporter

Primarily from football, there are about 1 million more male high school athletes than female high school athletes, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations. 

To fix this uneven ratio, Nike and the NFL are donating $5 million devoted to expanding girls flag football in high school athletics. 

Head athletic trainer Erin Stovall said, “An important first step is huge organizations taking genuine action to offer the same opportunity they would for male athletes. As far as I’m aware, no WCAL school has a women’s flag football team.”

Since the beginning of football, it was established as a male sport. So many young girls grow up with football being ingrained in their minds as a male sport. 

Stovall said of her experience, “For as long as I can remember, the world of sports has been dominated by male athletes. Even extremely successful female athletes and women’s teams never had the same level of notoriety men were/are given.”

For as long as I can remember, the world of sports has been dominated by male athletes. Even extremely successful female athletes and women’s teams never had the same level of notoriety men were/are given.”

— Erin Stovall, Athletic Trainer

     The first woman to tackle this barrier was Patricia Palinkas in 1970, according to taklesmartsports.com. She was the only woman to play American football professionally in a league as a holder for her husband Stephen Palinkas for the minor league Orlando Panthers in the Atlantic Coast Football League

These days, women playing football is more common, especially with women gaining interest in the sport. 

Odalis Alvarez ’23 said, “If Riordan had a girls flag football I would definitely join because I don’t believe that football can only be for boys or be labeled as that.”

San Francisco high schools like Abraham Lincoln High School, ICA Cristo Rey, and Lowell High School have girls flag football teams who compete at the Varsity level during the spring. Last year, Lowell won the championship in a field of about 10 different schools. 

  So, is there any chance that Riordan will some day have having a girls flag football team? Athletic Director Bob Greene said, “I would think with enough interest, a girls flag football team could be a possibility.” 

Having a girls flag football team at Riordan would “set Riordan apart from other schools” as Alvarez said.

 Stovall added, “Women have the ability to play with just as much tenacity and grit as their counterparts can, so their representation is just as, if not more important than males. The first hurdle for a Riordan flag football team is generating interest. We have had many firsts this year with female sports and if you ask me, that would be a pretty amazing next step.”