On Saturday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation hosted a flag football clinic for girls ages 9-14 on Glazer Family Field at the Jackson Heights NFL YET Center in Tampa. The clinic came in advance of the Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football League that will launch at the end of February and run through late April.
Dozens of girls were on hand running drills with youth development coaches that range from high school football coaches to former NFL players. After drills were over, the girls began scrimmage games to get a preview of what they can expect in the league come next month.
A group of girls came from a local recreational center, brought to the clinic by their sports program coordinator, Deborah Fuller, who has been with the parks for over 35 years.
"We were at the Martin Luther King complex and most of the girls have been around the park for over two years," Fuller said of the group of girls she brought with her. "Most of them played basketball, I'm trying to get them in all sports. They've really enjoyed it. The first thing, they were so excited. Some of them want to play [flag football] in high school."
Girls high school flag football is one of the fastest growing sports in Florida. However, there is a glaring need for youth programs aimed towards girls in order to help them develop the fundamentals prior to high school. Up until now, there hasn't been such a league in the Tampa Bay area, but it's a need that was recognized by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Foundation and the driving force behind bridging the gap between boys and girls sports.
"They want to learn different sports, football, and there aren't really any girls sports that teach the fundamentals; that start small," Fuller said. "We don't have that. We wait until they get in high school and then they don't really know how to catch the ball or run, so this a great opportunity to start now."
What the Buccaneers Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football league really provides, is the opportunity for girls to play in a league of their own.
If your child or someone you know is interested in joining the Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football League, contact your local recreation center to register for a team.
Season Dates: February 25, 2019 to April 22, 2019
Registration deadline: February 9, 2019
*No Games March 23-30, 2019
Age Groups: 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14 years old
View pictures from the Jr. Bucs Girls Flag Football Clinic!