Minnesota Girls Flag Football takes off with help from Vikings

The Pilot League is part of the NFL team’s vision to make girls’ flag football a high school-sanctioned sport in Minnesota.

EAGAN, Minnesota – The Minnesota Vikings have partnered with the Minneapolis Public Schools to form a flag girls’ football team. The NFL team has pledged $75,000 to make this possible.

The partnership hopes this will be the first step in making girls’ flag football a high school-sanctioned sport in Minnesota.

“It just gives them an opportunity to learn the game of football,” said Madison Cortese, Vikings youth football manager. “Our aim for this season is really to show that football is an inclusive game and give them the opportunity to learn the game.”

The program took nearly two years to develop, with some delays due to COVID. The pilot season, which involved around 30 girls from various MPS middle schools, ends this Saturday. Vikings football players meet with the girls as “celebrity guest coaches”.

Torrance Hill, associate director of athletics and middle school physical education at Minneapolis Public Schools, said the girls had a blast.

“The girls are having a lot of fun,” Hill said. “They are very competitive. When they started, the more they played, the more confident they became and the better they got.”

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He said their goal is to more than double their attendance over the next year. Not only does it offer the girls a chance to learn the ins and outs of the game, he says their enthusiasm is contagious.

“It’s very interesting to see 12 and 13 year olds pounding their chests and giving high fives and stuff like that,” he said. “It’s very exciting.”

Cortese said they are currently still working to spread the word to other communities and schools that may be interested while they work to expand their reach.

“We encourage all communities to come forward if they are interested in girls flying the flag in either their middle school or their high school,” Cortese said. “The Vikings are here to support us and we want to support the growth of this sport across the state.”

The team also hosts a free Girls Football Academy each summer at the Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center. The program for girls aged 6 to 18 lasts four weeks every Monday in June.

To register, visit this page.

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