Flag football becoming the new norm for many reasons
A new high school flag football league is set to launch at the National Sports Center this September. The league aims to provide a safe environment for athletes looking to test their talents on the turf in the absence of a high school football season. Friday night lights will continue with a slate of 7-on-7 competitions for three high school divisions: boys’ varsity, boys’ JV and a highly anticipated coed division.
Events are scheduled to be held on the National Sports Center’s outdoor turf fields for the outdoor session and in the NSC Sports Hall for the indoor session.
The plan is to have three 40-minute games per night. Social distancing, small groups and all COVID-19 safety guidelines will be in place during all sessions. NSC staff encourages players to wear soft shell helmets in competition to prevent incidental contact.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, flag football was the most commonly played game by kids ages 6-12.
In 2018, 989,000 kids in that age group played flag football compared to 839,000 who played tackle, according to Sports & Fitness Industry Association data analyzed by the Aspen Institute. Because of this, flag football has become a popular alternative to tackle football for many youth and high school programs. The Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) made the unanimous decision to postpone the high school football season until at least March 2021.
The NSC coed division offers a unique opportunity for girls in the football industry. Approximately 18% of youth flag football players nationwide are girls. Girls flag football is on the rise in the nation, and many universities look to begin organizing a women’s flag football scholarship at the collegiate level by 2021—backed by the National Football league.
Now, Minnesota football recruits are clinging to flag football programs and using the no-contact sport to keep players’ minds sharp. Youth flag football continues to be fairly inexpensive for participants and could cost a family less than $150 per child. The long-term health benefits of flag football are conclusive, and by providing less physical contact, the National Sports Center flag football league is trying to mitigate risk and reduce harm as much as possible.
The NSC Youth Flag Football League registration fee is $60 per player or $600 per team (with 10 players).