In celebration of the 38th annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the Philadelphia Eagles are excited to announce the expansion of its girls' flag football initiative, providing even more opportunities for girls to participate in sports.
Launched in the Spring of 2022, the Eagles Girls Flag League supported by Gatorade, The Bellwether District and Planet Fitness, began with 16 schools from the Philadelphia Public and Catholic Leagues, with the goal to make girls flag football an officially sanctioned sport in the state of Pennsylvania. Now entering its third season, the league has grown to 92 teams across Philadelphia and South Jersey. This year alone the Philadelphia league will expand from 38 teams to 65 and the South Jersey league will expand from 14 teams to 27. In total, there will be 2,300 participants spread out across six leagues in Philadelphia and South Jersey.
"On a day where we celebrate the accomplishments and participation of girls and women in sport, we are proud to share how far our Eagles Girls Flag Football League has grown in just two years," said Don Smolenski, Philadelphia Eagles President. "We are grateful to our school and community partners for their support in providing female athletes the opportunity to experience the on-field and off-field lessons in the game of football."
Every team will receive an NFL Flag kit, a port-a-field, 25 custom Nike uniforms, a $3,000 stipend, and two FLY:FWD sports bras for each participant. Over the course of this upcoming Spring, the Eagles will be hosting learn-to-play, coaching, and officiating clinics, a girls flag sports performance combine, a girls flag jamboree, and the girls flag championships, all of which league participants will have a chance to take part in.
In August 2023, the PIAA designated girls flag football as an emerging sport in the state of Pennsylvania. This designation serves as the next step in the process to making girls flag football an officially sanctioned sport in Pennsylvania.
As part of the team's ongoing commitment to increase access to girls' youth sports, the Philadelphia Eagles will also be distributing an additional 30,000 FLY:FWD sports bras to girls in need across the Philadelphia area. After announcing a partnership with Operation Warm in February 2023, the Eagles teamed up with the organization to pioneer the FLY:FWD sports bra – an essential piece of equipment conceptualized, engineered, and manufactured specifically for young girls and women competing in sport. The team's first batch of 30,000 sports bras were distributed last year to every girl in the Philadelphia School District.
"By providing young girls with essential gear like FLY:FWD sports bras, we're not just preparing them for sports; we're empowering them to embrace their athleticism with confidence and comfort," said Grace Sica, Operation Warm's Executive Director. "This initiative has already made a significant impact, with an impressive 87% of recipients expressing that receiving these sports bras would enhance their comfort levels during sports and physical activities. This statistic underscores the importance of providing access to essential sports equipment tailored to the needs of female athletes, and we are proud to be part of this meaningful initiative."
The Eagles partnership with Operation Warm was an extension of the team's unprecedented $100,000 equipment donation during its inaugural season. Recognizing the lack of access to female-specific sports equipment, the Eagles purchased $100,000 worth of sports bras in January 2022. Nearly 6,000 were donated to Leveling the Playing Field, which provided at least one sports bra to every female athlete in need in the School District of Philadelphia. The Eagles were the first NFL team to support female youth athletes through the donation of sports bras.