HOPKINS, Minn. — Why does football have to be just for boys? It doesn’t.
“I used to play football with my brother sometimes,” said Hopkins 8th grade student Promise Hubbert. “I wanted to play on a team but they had no girls teams.”
A new 6th-to 9th-grade girls flag football league, with funding from the Vikings has taken off.
“It’s been just an awesome opportunity for them and they’ve seized every moment of it,” said the team’s coach Irie Collins.
The sport is brand new for Hopkins middle schoolers. Some are on the team, simply because they found a flyer.
“I was like ‘oh,’ I had never heard of a girls flag football team before,” said Ruby Westholter. “I had talked about it with my parents and then the day before practice they were like, ‘oh hey yeah, by the way, you’re in flag football. Practice is tomorrow.’ And I was like, ‘aright, I have to get ready for this then.'”
The success of this year’s programs has sparked a goal for a senior high school league.
“What’s really been cool is we had 13 girls, about, sign up at the beginning of the year, and now as we’re walking the school getting ready for practice, I’ve got all these girls running up and saying ‘can I play next year?’ And that’s just awesome to hear,” said Collins. “So we know our program is gonna grow.”
For many schools in Minnesota, this was the first time girls got a chance to play.
“I think it would have good if other girls could play because I know a lot of people in the high school want to play but they just didn’t have a team – until this year,” said Hubbert.
Next season’s sign-up date is being circled by a growing number.
“I really would like to continue this sport,” said Westholter. “I think that other girls, if you go to my school or if you don’t, I think this is a really awesome opportunity to try this sport.”