Let the girls flag football games begin.
The Seattle Seahawks have kicked in $57,000 in grant funding headed to 15 high schools — including Mercer Island High School (MIHS) — in six regional school districts to field teams during the next school year. Other school districts benefiting from the grants include Federal Way, Highline, Kent, North River and Oakville.
Lindsey Blaine, MIHS athletic coordinator, noted about the forthcoming Islander program: “We sent out a survey earlier this year and received a lot of interest. Our athletes, parents and community are very excited to bring this sport to MIHS and add another opportunity for girls to participate in sport. We can’t wait to get started.”
The grants are the next step in the Seahawks’ commitment to grow the sport in Washington, which will send 33 school club teams onto the field in 2023, according to a press release. In 2022, the NFL organization pledged to allocate $250,000 in funding over the next five years to institute programs statewide. Previously, the Seahawks collaborated with the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association and Nike to support the launch of leagues within Tacoma and Seattle public schools.
In addition to the latest grants, each school will receive official NFL Flag Football equipment kits and home and away uniforms, courtesy of USA Football and Nike, respectively. The kits feature footballs, pylons, flag belts, agility hurdles, midfield cones, scrimmage pennies and more.
“We are so proud to support the continued growth of girls flag football programs across our state, with a long-term goal of having girls flag adopted as an official sanctioned sport in the state of Washington,” said Paul Johns, Seattle Seahawks director of Youth & High School Football Programs, in the press release. “Providing equitable opportunities for youth in our region to play sports is so important, and we are excited to see the interest and adoption of girls flag football continue to grow year after year.”