KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) — Friday night, Staley High School hosted a historic athletic event. The Girls Flag Football Jamboree featured a series of exhibition games for the first high school Girls Flag Football league in the state of Missouri.
“You all just did something phenomenal today that nobody has done in the state of Missouri,” shouted University of St. Mary’s Women’s Flag Football Coach Angellica Grayson as she gathered the girls after the game. “So many little girls are looking up to you today for the things that you just did on that field.”
She stood on the sidelines during the games, in which all four of the district’s high schools competed. She was eyeing recruits for her college team. Up until now, she’s been recruiting high schoolers primarily on the East Coast, where the sport took off years ago. She’s excited by the prospect of finding local talent.
“There is high school flag in other states. They have it sanctioned as a high school sport. As soon as we get that here, I kid you not, there’s going to be other recruiters from other states coming here to recruit these girls here…for scholarships,” Grayson explained. “I get chills just thinking about it because I’ve been in football a long time.”
The program at North Kansas City Schools isn’t sanctioned yet, but that doesn’t prevent Grayson from offering scholarships to the players she watched on the field.
All four North Kansas City School District high schools easily filled their roster limit of 20 players per team.
“This was amazing. I’m so grateful to be able to play in this. Like everybody has been saying we’re making history right now. Man, it’s such a blessing to be able to play in this,” said North Kansas City High School junior Ariana Perez, glistening with sweat after the game and smiling ear to ear.
Many of the girls are athletes in other sports. Some were brand new to the sport, training through the summer to show off their skills on Friday.
Perez’s plays for her high school’s Girls Soccer team. She took a long pause when asked which she preferred.
“Right now I love flag football. It’s probably my top sport right now…because I never got to do this before,” she answered.
“It’s the most exciting thing that’s ever went on in my life, and I have some pretty exciting things going on,” said Oak Park High School senior MJ Johnson.
Johnson also plays basketball for her school. She played football for fun ever since she was a kid, but this is her first opportunity to play football officially. Grayson approached her after the game to exchange contact information.
“That’s what I’m not here for. You know, I’m a senior. I’ve been wanting to do this for a long time. And if I can go and play the rest of my life, that’s what I’m going to do,” said Johnson. “I’m excited about it.”
Because many of the girls play other fall sports, the Girls Flag Football season this year is just six weeks long.
The NKC Schools Girls Flag Football league is a partnership with the Chiefs and Nike, who provided support to provide equipment and uniforms.
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