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No Longer a Pipe Dream, Jets Continue to Play Critical Role in Growth of Girls Flag Football

Thursday’s Jets-Nike Media Day a Celebration of Decade-Long Journey to Make Girls Flag an Official State Championship Sport in NY & NJ


The New York Jets and Nike hosted the first Girls High School Flag football Media Day on Thursday at MetLife Stadium. Over 60 high schools representing eight athletic conferences throughout New York and New Jersey gathered to celebrate the start of the spring season, the first in which girls flag will be an official state championship sport in the two states.

"I'll be honest with you, in the positive limelight, we never thought this could actually happen," Mike Tepper, head coach of Minisink Valley (NY) High School, said. "We've always dreamed of a day like this when we started our youth leagues and organization, Old Skwel back 12 years ago, but it was like a pipe dream."

Morristown (NJ) head coach Lou Vanorskie added: "I never thought this would be possible. It was talked about but, you know, talk is talk. But the Jets really went and provided us an opportunity to grow the league and they have really done a good job making this come to fruition."

The "pipe dream" of making girls flag football a prominent sport in the tristate area began in 2011 with support from the Jets. In partnership with the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), they became the first NFL club to help launch a varsity girls flag football league in New York City. And in 2021, the Jets did the same in New Jersey.

"I put the Jets logo on all my stuff and on all the flyers," said Vanorskie, head coach of one of the original eight teams from New Jersey's first league. "Four years ago, when it all started, they originally came to our practices, and they videoed the girls. They did the little web episodes and I push that link and promote that the Jets are behind us on this thing as much as possible. It's only going to help and it's only going to help grow the sport."

The Jets hosted the first annual Girls High School Flag Football media day at MetLife Stadium, presented by Nike with support from Gatorade and Visa. More than 60 high schools representing eight athletic conferences throughout New York and New Jersey attended the event. Two players and their head coach participated in interviews and attended a talk with Nausicaa Dell'Orto, captain of the Italian National Flag Football Team.

With the success of the PSAL since 2011, the Green & White's long-term goals set in 2021 centered around the sport being adopted by New York and New Jersey as a championship sport which have been achieved leading into the 2024.

"When the NFL and the Jets believe in the girls, it brings them confidence and other people start noticing them," Tepper said. "The Jets have a big name, so by them supporting the girls and doing everything with the girls, it's bringing so much attention and growth to the sports. I love it."

At this week's event, two players and a coach from each school participated in Q & A hosted by SNY anchor/reporter Jeané Coakley. Additionally, the coaches and players were made available for one-on-one media interviews as well as custom photos and 360° videos.

To cap off the session, Nausicaa Dell'Orto, the founder of Italy's first ever all-female American football team and current captain of the Italian National Flag Football Team, gave a keynote address and shared her own experiences growing football's popularity with women and girls overseas.

"A day like today is just so exciting for all these young ladies to participate in," North Arlington (NJ) coach Anthony Marck said. "It was a chance to show the world that we should have been doing this for so much longer than we have been and that our numbers are growing as I'm sure most programs are."

This year the Green & White will support close to 200 girls flag football programs and over 3,000 participants domestically. And the Jets plan to continue being one of the country's top advocates of the sport.

"The Jets are honored to have played a role in growing the game of girls flag football," Jets VP of Community Relations Jesse Linder said. "It has been an organization-wide effort to make the leagues a reality for so many girls. We can't wait to see what the future holds when the girls we supported are competing in the Olympics in Los Angeles in 2028."

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