"Just catching the ball and running."
"The team environment."
"Trying something new."
Those are the words high school girls shared when asked why they love flag football. On Wednesday at the Eagles Girls Flag Football Championship presented by NovaCare, two teams were crowned champions as Abington from Pennsylvania and Mastery Charter Camden from New Jersey finished the top dogs in Year 2 of the Eagles Girls Flag Football League presented by Planet Fitness, The Bellwether District, and Gatorade.
The exciting season culminated at the NovaCare Complex where fans, Eagles players, Eagles Cheerleaders and Drumline, and SWOOP were in attendance to watch the action. Each team's success on the field represents the sport's recent exponential growth and its increasingly bright future.
On Wednesday at the Eagles Girls Flag Football Championship presented by NovaCare, two teams were crowned champions. Abington High School from Pennsylvania and Mastery Charter Camden from New Jersey finished the top dogs in Year 2 of the Eagles Girls Flag Football League presented by Planet Fitness, The Bellwether District, and Gatorade.Check out the best photos from the event!
The goal of the Eagles Girls Flag Football League was to promote and increase female sports participation across the city, while taking strides toward expansion.
Participation more than doubled as 38 teams from Pennsylvania and 14 from New Jersey competed, each playing eight games before the finale.
Between games at Wednesday's tournament, current Eagles players met with teams, offering encouragement and support to the strong contingent of female athletes who share their love for the sport.
Newly drafted Eagles rookies Sydney Brown, Tanner McKee, and Kelee Ringo aren't too far removed from high school ball themselves. The trio offered their best advice before teams ran onto the gridiron.
"Continue to have confidence in yourselves and trust each other. You guys made it this far," said Ringo when addressing Gwynedd Mercy Academy's squad.
The sport is booming, and as it grows so does the competition within it. Last year's reigning PA Champions, Landsdale Catholic, were not contenders this year. To win it all, Abington High School staved off a persistent second-half rally to defeat North Penn 26-19. 2023 marked the first year a champion was crowned in the state of New Jersey.
As the play continuously elevates, so does awareness. The Eagles have strategically partnered with like-minded organizations and institutions that not only believe in the power of sport and everything it offers, but also increasing access to youth sports for girls and outfitting them with the proper equipment to make them feel confident, comfortable, and successful.
In February, the Eagles announced a long-term, strategic partnership with Operation Warm to design, manufacture, and distribute 30,000 sports bras to young female athletes throughout the tri-state area. The Eagles are the first NFL team to support female youth athletes in this way.
Operation Warm, along with Leveling the Playing Field, the Philadelphia School District, the Philadelphia Public League, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, NFL Foundation, USA Football, and Nike, have helped provide the Eagles with the resources to carry out its vision for Girls Flag Football.
From the leadership of Jeffrey Lurie, Don Smolenski, and Howie Roseman toward the personal and professional development of women, to the Eagles Youth Football staff led by Youth Football and Community Relations Manager Dan Levy, and players who make known their support, growing the game is a top priority for the Eagles across the organization.
Its mission is coming to fruition. To become a state-sanctioned sport there must be 100 participating high school teams, and the number of teams set to play next season is steadily increasing.
With the sport's future in mind, players who competed on Wednesday offered words of wisdom for girls who might be considering signing up to play:
"Be confident in yourself."
"It's worth it to step outside of your comfort zone."
"Have fun, be yourself. It's OK if you don't know the sport, you'll learn!"
"Just do it. Why not?"