(NewsNation) — Girls playing football isn’t common, but high school flag football is quickly rising in popularity across the country, according to the National Federation of State High School Associations.
Colorado doesn’t have state-sanctioned girls flag football, but that could soon change thanks in part to the Denver Broncos, who are hoping to expand access to the sport through a new girl’s high school flag football league.
Earlier this month, Chatfield High School took home Colorado’s first-ever girls high school flag football championship after winning a pilot-program co-sponsored by the Broncos.
Coach Alexis Rosholt, who led the Chatfield High Chargers to victory, said programs like this are important because it gives the team an opportunity to play sports and get connected within their school.
“Our team was actually fairly young, we didn’t have too many seniors involved. So, I think it’s super cool for the younger girls coming up,” she explained. “It just gives them another opportunity to play sports and show that they can do whatever they want.”
The Broncos program is a three-year pilot, as they work to expand it into a full-time varsity sport statewide. Rosholt said she thinks that could happen sooner than three years.
“I could tell you it could happen next year; the growth was huge. There’s a lot of schools in the area that weren’t able to get teams right away. I think as they saw how fun the girls were having on the weekends and things there’s a lot of schools in the area that want to become involved with it,” Rosholt said.
Twenty-seven Colorado schools were involved this year, and Rosholt expects that number will double next year.
Currently, seven states have sanctioned girls flag football programs: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and New York. Starting next year schools in southern California will be able to participate in state-sanctioned girls flag football competition.