ARAPAHOE COUNTY, Colo. — Girls flag football is preparing to launch its second season of a two-year Colorado High School Athletics Association (CHSAA) pilot program.
Year one was a rousing success, thanks in large part to funding and coordination from the Denver Broncos that culminated in a state championship tournament at the Pat Bowlen Fieldhouse.
Now, colleges are taking notice.
“It’s opening up in colleges too,” said Meghan Rietveld, Eaglecrest High School head flag football coach. “We’ve already gotten contacts from schools that are starting programs and offering scholarships. All the girls are seeing where it could take them and they’re all really excited about it.”
Colorado is merely the latest in a growing line of states hopping on the flag football bandwagon.
“In the state of Georgia, girls flag football is huge,” Rietveld said. "They have national tournaments; they have all these state competitions that we’re looking to model.”
Rietveld said she believes interest in flag football is already high enough in Colorado to support a fully sanctioned high school sport within CHSAA’s structure, signaling a flag of change may already be waving among America’s young people away from traditional football.
“[Georgia’s] league is so intense and so organized,” Rietveld said. “They have their entire games broadcasted. It was cool — we could watch that and learn from them too.”