Introducing the girls flag football team

A girls flag football team formed in February of 2020


Julia Annunziato

“I want to be a quarterback or wide receiver for the NFL.” For girls, this idea seems far from reality. However, girls now have a chance to play the sport they love thanks to our first-ever girl’s flag football team.

After 10 years of boasting 3,000 plus students some years, a girl’s flag football team was established. No longer needing to wait for the annual powderpuff game just to play a couple of matches, female athletes can practice and compete against other high schools.

Coaching the sport is economics teacher Joseph Ruggiero, who is excited to help get their first season up and running smoothly. While some shy away from the idea of being the first coach for a new sports team, Ruggiero welcomed the idea with open arms.

“It’s an honor and a big deal to me,” Ruggiero said. “I get to establish what the culture is going to be and what type of girls we want in this program. It’s a rare opportunity to be at the true start of something, and I’m just really appreciative of the opportunity. I appreciated it when Coach Weaver offered it to me. People that know me, know I love my students and I want what’s good for them, which is why I do what I do. I take it seriously and let us have fun, but still, take it seriously.”

Since the schools opening in 2010, there is resounding want and need for a flag football team. After the students, parents, and teachers’ voices were heard, the formation of the team occurred in February of 2020.

“Watching them at the tryouts yesterday, I know I use the word for myself, but I think for them as well, there’s appreciation,” Ruggiero said. “I think that’s just a good word to sum up the opportunity for everyone to do this season. We appreciate this being here and being able to start and grow it, and in time, get it to where we want it to be.”

While tryouts are closed for this school year, the girls still listen to the tips and tricks of the trade for not just this upcoming first season, but for years to come.

“This is a sport that’s about speed, so running is key,” Ruggiero said. “Get somebody out there to throw a ball with you and just practice those basic types of things. Practice your footwork because a lot of the game is speed and agility.”

While there is no telling how well the girls will do during their first season and at their first game, they are working hard and learning to trust the process.

“I’m proud of the girls that are out there, I really am,” Ruggiero said. “I saw a lot of hard work and heart yesterday. I hope the girls see this as an opportunity to be a part of something, not just something new, but something great here. I’m just excited to see them go out there and show how cool they are. I’m a girl dad, so I’m just all about them going out there and showing how awesome they are.” ­