(FOX 9) - The Minnesota Vikings have announced they will pledge $75,000 in partnership with Minneapolis Public Schools to launch a new Girls Flag Football League.
The league will feature teams from middle schools in the Minneapolis area, the inaugural three-week season will kick off on Saturday, May 7, with games at Roosevelt and South high schools.
"We are thrilled to launch our first girls flag football league in Minneapolis," Minnesota Vikings owner and president Mark Wilf said in a statement. "We strongly believe football is for everyone, and through this partnership we are taking the first step toward our vision of growing girls flag football into a high school sanctioned sport in Minnesota."
The MPS teams, comprised of approximately 10 girls each, received custom uniforms and equipment specifically donated by Nike and the Vikings as part of the NFL and Nike’s multi-year grant initiative to grow girls flag football across the country. The Vikings’ financial contribution will be used in 2022 and future years for travel, coaching stipends and other necessities for ensuring the Minneapolis program’s long-term success.
With the launch of the program, the Vikings join several NFL teams that have partnered to establish female flag football leagues in their local areas. The team hopes to expand the initiative to schools across the state in future years, and believes that providing increased financial support may help remove operational barriers so more schools can introduce programs, a statement said.
The future expansion of girls high school football to a Minnesota State high School League (MSHSL) varsity sport in Minnesota is a long-term goal.
"We are extremely grateful and excited about our partnership with the Minnesota Vikings," MPS District Director of Athletics Antony Fisher said. "Together we will continue to ensure that our female middle school student-athletes have a great athletic experience with the addition of flag football to our current athletic offering."
The Vikings also announced it will again host the Girls Football Academy. Beginning every Monday in June, girls ages 6-18 can participate in a four-week program designed to deepen the participants' football knowledge through a variety of drills, games and guest speakers.