Nike and the National Football League (NFL) has announced a new grant initiative, that will commit a total of US$5 million in product to growing flag football in high school athletics.
The multi-year initiative will see a one-time donation of US$100,000 in product provided to athletic associations that offer girls flag football as a high school sport, or who can demonstrate progress by way of a pilot programme beginning in 2021.
The first to receive the grant will be the state of Florida, who has promoted girls flag football for over 10 years and is the home state of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The products will include flag football uniforms, socks and accessories such as sports bras, all of which are set to be distributed to participating state's governing interscholastic or athletic association at their discretion.
Presently, only six states sanction high school flag football for girls - Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada and New York - but it is hoped that with financial support, operational barriers will be removed so that more states can introduce girls flag football programmes.
“The expansion of girls flag football is essential to the growth of the game and preservation of the values it has contributed to society for decades,” says Troy Vincent, NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations.
“Girls flag demonstrates that football is for all, and the greater the participation, the stronger the game, and the more young women can build the transferrable skills football provides for achieving success in life.”
In addition to the grant initiative, Nike is evolving its 11-online football training series to include a learning track specifically for flag football athletes. It will feature how-to drills with training instruction, including team building and leadership development. Furthermore, Nike's Stronger than One series will launch a film focused on highlighting women and young girls who are blazing paths forward in football.
Author: Jake Wilkin