Written by Jackie Kostek
CHICAGO (CBS) — This weekend, Illinois will become the fifth state with girls’ flag football as a high school club sport.
CBS 2’s Jackie Kostek checked in with a first for the ladies at Steinmetz College Prep in Belmont Cragin.
For a long time, football has been a sport that girls could watch, but not necessarily play. But that is changing, as the Bears have teamed up with Chicago Public Schools, Nike, and NFL Flag Football to bring a new league right here to Chicago – with 22 teams and four divisions.
“I’ve been really interested in sports that aren’t usually for girls,” said quarterback Daniela Navas.
Navas took her interest in sports not usually for girls and turned it into action, now taking snaps as QB1 for Steinmetz College Prep, 3030 N. Mobile Ave.
“Nobody lets anyone down,” Navas said. “If someone makes a mistake and the other one knows how to fix it, we tell each other that.”
Head Coach Brad Dowling played football at the collegiate level and has coached the boys’ high school team. He said there’s really only one big difference between flag football and football.
“I tell them, know they aren’t going to get crushed. They’re not going to get tackled. I mean, it is flag football,” Dowling said. “The athletic part of it – the catching, the throwing, the running – that’s all the same.”
Also the same is the feeling that comes when you break away for a touchdown.
“All of my adrenaline that’s built up, it just comes all out,” said running back Nakyla Martin.
Six states now offer girls’ flag football as a varsity sport, and Illinois may not be too far behind.