Friday, 01 March 2024 10:38

Saratoga High School Launching Girls’ Flag Football Team in Partnership with New York Giants

Photo of a girls’ flag football game via the New York State Public High School Athletic Association website. Photo of a girls’ flag football game via the New York State Public High School Athletic Association website.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — While Josh Allen and Tommy Devito are licking their wounds during the NFL offseason, a new football league will debut in New York State.

Saratoga Springs High School is participating in a girls’ flag football program that will begin this spring and include 12 other teams from the Suburban Council. “Last year, Troy High School was the only team in the area that had a formal girls’ flag football team,” said Saratoga Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Patton. “What started just a few years ago with a conversation, now has led to a full-fledged opportunity for girls to participate in flag football.”

The league’s ten-game season will feature five home and five away games. The season will end with a league championship similar to a sectional championship. The winner of the league title will then have an opportunity to capture a state championship. The state title game, hosted by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA), will be on June 2 at SUNY Cortland.

As of press time, regular season schedules and coaching positions for the Saratoga team were still being determined. At the end of last year, 65 Saratoga girls had already signed up to participate.

“There’s not a lot of cost to getting this started,” Dr. Patton said, “but the nice thing is that it has all been provided by the [New York] Giants or through USA Football.” The Giants donated $30,000 to help launch the league. The funds will be split between participating schools. USA Football is also donating equipment such as flags and balls. 

“I think there’s a lot of interest and momentum moving forward with the girls’ flag football program,” Dr. Patton said, “not only at the local level, but state and national level and Olympic level.”

In October 2023, USA Football announced that flag football will make its debut in the 2028 Olympic games in Los Angeles. Scott Hallenbeck, CEO of USA Football, said in a statement that flag football’s inclusion in the Olympics was “an acknowledgment of the sport's tremendous international growth and appeal as a fast, exciting and competitive sport.” 

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