The Hightstown-East Windsor Youth Sports League (HEWYBL), Central New Jersey’s premier NFL Flag Football League, has announced the formation of an all-girl’s flag football league.
The league will launch in the fall for girls ages 4-18.
The season will open on Sept. 8 and run through mid-November. It will consist of 10 regular season games, plus playoff games.
Games will be held at Disbrow Hills Park in East Windsor.
HEWYBL has run a co-ed recreational NFL Flag league since 1998. The program has grown to nearly 800 annual participants.
Players do not have to reside in a specific town to participate, but typically come from Allentown, Cranbury, East Windsor, Hamilton, Hightstown, Millstone, Robbinsville, West Windsor and other surrounding towns.
“We surveyed parents and players in the area and believe there is a desire for a girls league,” Eric Updegraff, HEWYBL’s flag football commissioner, said in a prepared statement. “Not all girls want to play in a co-ed environment and we hope this will attract involvement among girls to this great game. Kids just have a blast playing and the more kids we can get out there, the better.”
More than 1.5 million youth participate in flag football nationwide, and female flag football participation has grown significantly over the last several years, according to the statement. Currently, Alabama, Georgia and Florida offer flag football as a high school sport; many others are close behind, according to the statement.
In New Jersey, the New York Jets and Nike have partnered with the North Jersey Super Football Conference, while the New York Giants and Nike have partnered with the Shore Conference to launch pilot programs for girl’s high school flag football, according to the statement. Play in both leagues began this spring.
At the collegiate level, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has partnered with the NFL and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX) to bring collegiate women’s flag football to its member institutions, according to the statement. The first-ever NAIA Women’s Flag Football Finals were hosted at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in May, capping off its inaugural season.
In addition, the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), in partnership with the NFL and RCX, has announced women’s flag football as an emerging sport with plans to start playing in 2022, according to the statement. Thirty NJCAA programs have already committed to adding women’s flag football, and more than 60 are expected in the second year.
“Opportunities to play in high school and college are clearly on the horizon,” Updegraff said in the statement. “Our league will help create a pipeline to schools that will eventually offering flag football.:
HEWYBL is a 501c3 Corporation run by volunteers that began in 1968 and continues to create opportunities for the children throughout Central New Jerseys to participate in many types of youth sports. Currently, HEWYBL offers four recreational sports programs: flag football, basketball, wrestling and baseball.
Registration for the new all-girls or the established co-ed flag football leagues will run through Aug. 10.
Full details on the season, as well as registration information, can be found at www.HEWYBL.com.