HOPKINS, Minnesota — Why should football only be for boys? It doesn’t.
“I used to play football sometimes with my brother,” says Promise Hubbert, an 8th grade student at Hopkins. “I wanted to play on a team, but they didn’t have girls’ teams.”
A new football league for girls from 6th to 9th grade, with funding from the Vikings, has taken off.
“It’s just been a great opportunity for them and they’ve seized every moment,” said team coach Irie Collins.
The sport is brand new to Hopkins high school students. Some are on the team simply because they found a flyer.
“I was like ‘oh, I’d never heard of a girls’ flag football team,’ said Ruby Westholter. ‘I had talked to my parents about it and the day before practice they were like ‘oh yeah, by the way, you in flag football. Practice is tomorrow.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, I have to prepare for this then.'”
The success of this year’s programs has led to a goal for a senior high school league.
“What’s really cool is we had about 13 girls who signed up at the beginning of the year, and now as we walk around the school getting ready for practice, I have all these girls running up to me and say ‘can I play next year?’ And that’s just great to hear,” Collins said. “So we know our program is going to grow.”
For many Minnesota schools, this was the first time girls had the opportunity to play.
“I think it would be good if other girls could play because I know a lot of people want to play in high school, but they just didn’t have a team — until this year,” said Hubbert.
The registration date of next season is being circled by a growing number.
“I would really like to continue this sport,” said Westholter. “I think other girls, if you go to my school or not, I think this is a great opportunity to try this sport.”