A team is greater than the sum of its parts.
And a big part of becoming a team for 24 girls starts on Jan. 14.
That’s when the U.S. 15U and 17U Girls Flag National Teams compete in a double-header of friendlies against Flag Football Life Select Teams in Tampa, Fla. The center-stage exhibition on the eve of the 2021 Flag Football Life National Championship marks the first time that the U.S. teams will play together in advance of facing top foreign national teams in June.
The 15U teams will square-off at 6:30 p.m. ET, followed by the 17Us at 7:30 p.m. ET. Fans can catch live streams of both games through Flag Football Life’s Facebook page.
“We won't have many opportunities to practice or play together, so this will be huge,” said U.S. Girls 15U Head Coach Elliott Giles, the founder and coach of the perennial girls flag power Youngstown (Ohio) Youth Flag Football Association. “This will also be the first time that these girls have played together as well, so the team bonding and camaraderie is just as important.”
U.S. Girls 17U Head Coach Liz Sowers feels the same way. “The thing that I have learned the most from both being a player at the top level, and a coach, is that you can have the best athletes on the field, but at the end of the day if you haven't actually played together, it's a true battle,” she said. Sowers, a three-time U.S. Women’s National Team gold medalist athlete, also is the head coach of the NAIA National Champion Ottawa (Kan.) University women’s flag team.
History is not lost on these U.S. teams as both represent the first time that girls flag is part of the U.S. National Team program. Each roster is emblematic of girls flag’s blazing ascent in participation and popularity.
“Girls flag football is exploding nationwide,” said Flag Football Life Owner Mike Reimel. Reimel has led youth flag tournaments for more than 10 years, giving him a front-row seat to girls flocking to football. “More high schools are picking it up, more events are being created, colleges are giving scholarships out – it’s an exciting time.”
USA Football and Flag Football Life recently kicked off an exciting partnership, making Flag Football Life a preferred athlete scouting partner for U.S. Girls and Boys Flag National Teams. In addition to Friday night’s games, the U.S. National Team program will scout action throughout the weekend in Tampa for future girls and boys flag national teams.
“We are very excited about the opportunity to partner with Flag Football Life, not only in providing an opportunity for our girls flag national teams to compete, but to showcase the exceptional quality of competition this game can provide,” said Eric Mayes, USA Football’s Managing Director of High Performance and National Teams. “As flag football aspires to greater heights, opportunities like this lay a foundation built to last.”