Home » Jets and Bears Expand Girls NFL Flag League Ahead of International Women’s Day

Jets and Bears Expand Girls NFL Flag League Ahead of International Women’s Day

Ahead of International Women’s Day, the New York Jets and the Chicago Bears have announced the expansion of the Jets and Bears NFL Girls Flag league, the first UK all-girls competition of its kind. 

Over 200 girls from 21 participating schools kicked off the league with a unique NFL Flag football experience at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Southwest London, home to AFC Wimbledon. The league returns following a successful inaugural season in 2023 based in the London borough of Ealing, with participation numbers more than doubling from 120 to 260 and now including multiple London boroughs.

The girls were joined at the launch by current New York Jets Team MVP Quincy Williams and Chicago Bears Defensive Captain Tremaine Edmunds. Also in attendance were current Great Britain Women’s Flag stars Ellie Thorpe, Kellie Barrett and Kate Bruinvels – hoping to inspire the next generation of flag football stars ahead of the sport’s Olympic debut at LA28.

Former NFL player and current UK broadcaster Jason Bell, a father to a young daughter himself, joined the players on the day to witness the unique experience offered to the girls.   

Flag football is the non-contact format of American football that empowers young athletes, both boys and girls, around the world. The game is fun, exciting, and accessible for all, with women and girls driving some of the fastest growth in the sport.

The Jets and Bears aim to empower girls through NFL Flag, a game that offers a supportive team environment and a great social atmosphere. Together, the girls plan and execute winning plays, building life-long psychological skills in strategy, communication, and resilience, and can promote healthy mental wellbeing for the future.   

At the launch event, the girls received their official team kit from Nike who are the league presenting partner and had an NFL Flag taster session led by NFL coaches as well as a host of other fun skill-based activities, including Cornhole, Shuffleboard, 360 Photo Booth, and a bespoke Media workshop. 

Starting from the 15th of April, the second year will see over 260 girls from 21 schools compete in two conferences across the London boroughs of Ealing and Lambeth. The Jets and Bears will each run a conference, with the winners going head-to-head in a Championship Event on May 20th. 

The eventual winners of the league will follow in the footsteps of last year’s champions, Ealing Fields, and receive an invite to attend the 2024 London Games as special guests. 

New York Jets stated: *”We are delighted to strengthen our commitment to the UK youth this year and expand the Girls Flag league. As a franchise, we are committed to growing female participation in sports at every opportunity. NFL Flag provides a sustainable way to achieve this while teaching young girls life lessons that will have an impact far beyond the football field. We have seen Jets fandom in the UK grow over the past few years, and we hope that these girls can drive a new wave of female fans in the years to come.” * 

Chicago Bears stated: “Girls’ flag football continues to grow locally and internationally. Last month, we witnessed the sport become sanctioned in Chicago (US) and the state of Illinois. The game will also be introduced to the Olympic Games in 2028. As flag football progresses, the Chicago Bears will remain committed to championing the sport’s growth. We are thrilled to be back in the UK for a second year with the Jets. To see the enthusiasm and engagement for American Football is incredible, and we are excited for what the second year of the league will bring, especially ahead of the Bears playing a game in London in October.

NFL International Flag Football Development Manager, Afia Law, added: *”It’s fantastic to see participation in NFL Flag throughout the UK continuing to grow at pace. Initiatives such as the Jets and Bears NFL Girls Flag league are fundamental to the sport’s development here and to driving female participation. The experiences and friendships young people make today in flag football have the potential to last a lifetime, and we hope their stories can go on to inspire more and more young girls to find their place in the sport.”  *

To learn more about the Jets and Bears NFL Girls Flag League, please visit www.chicagobears.com and https://nyjetsinuk.com/girls-flag. To know more about NFL Flag in the UK, please visit https://www.nfl.com/uk/nfl-flag.