CIF Southern Section votes to add girls flag football; next step is state approval

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California is one step closer to including girls flag football as a high school sport.

The CIF Southern Section passed a proposal Thursday morning to make girls flag football a CIF-sanctioned sport as soon as fall 2023.

The section’s league representatives passed the motion with a vote of 61 to 26 (with two abstaining).

The next step is for the proposal to be considered by state officials, who have to give the final approval for girls flag football to become an official sport throughout California.

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All 10 sections in the state will be present for a first read of the proposal at the CIF Federated Council meeting on Oct. 7. The final vote by the CIF Council is expected to be held in February.

Several local athletic directors are keen on having girls flag football available to their student-athletes.

“I’ve had girls asking me about it recently,” Grant High athletic director Jon Manocchio said. “I think there would definitely be interest in it.”

All of the details have not been ironed out. But the plan, as of now, is for flag football to played in the fall and for it to be in a 7-on-7 format. There will be hurdles to cross, like sharing field time and athletes with other sports and finding officials for the games.

However, the logistics of starting a team aren’t daunting. It might require as few as 20 players to field a team. The equipment would include jerseys, flags, footballs and maybe padded headwear for protection. That financial investment would be low compared to many other sports, like football, lacrosse, baseball and softball, that require expensive equipment.

Longtime football coach Ed Croson, who won multiple City Section titles at Birmingham Charter before many successful seasons at Chaminade, was asked if he’d come out of retirement to coach girls flag football.

Coaching a team, probably not. But he said he’d like to be involved.

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“I would think about mentoring people that wanted to coach it,” he said. “Injury prevention, technique — stuff like that. I’d be interested in league organization, too.”

From the sound of it, it seems like there could be a league commissioner ready to go, if (and when) girls flag football makes its debut next fall.

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