DE PERE, Wis. (WFRV) – Steven Childers created a seven-on-seven co-ed flag football league back in 2017. With just four teams involved, Childers worked to expand and did so at the beginning of this year.
He created the Fox River Classic Flag Football League, otherwise known as FRC. Since its inception, there have been over 45 teams, totaling more than 800 participants. But it was clear that most players were boys.
When considering that factor, along with the recent push for flag football to become a recognized sport at the high school level, Childers jumped on the opportunity to further serve the families in the greater Green Bay area.
“Some of the organizations around the state [are] trying to push the WIAA to make this a sanctioned sport within the high schools across the state of Wisconsin,” said Childers. “So I thought, ‘what a better time to do it but now.'”
Although the league doesn’t start until early September, FRC has already formed four teams, and over the last two weeks, the emails have continued to roll in.
“I thought I was excited by this, but the parents and the kids… it’s just overwhelming,” said Childers. “To see the amount of excitement that’s grown around it is just incredible.”
Fox River Classic’s founder isn’t the only party that realizes the amazing growth and the underlying importance of this girls league.
“My sister and I have both said we wish this was around when we were younger,” said Ashley Kraft, a mother of two FRC players (one boy and one girl). “Because being able to play football and knowing it’s not just for the boys, but can be for girls too, is awesome.”
Between parents and their kids, the excitement is palpable, which can be said for training sessions, practices, or just everyday get-togethers. It’s a way to promote a sport that’s skyrocketing in participation while also adding the layer of hyper-involvement among girls in the game of football.
In fact, both the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings have partnered with schools in their respective areas to promote girl’s flag football through events and competitions. So, FRC is far from alone in regards to creating girl’s leagues, but the fact that there is no one in the Green Bay area is exciting for the players.
“I’m really excited because I’ve always played Sports Emporium, but I’ve always been the only girl on my team,” said Braeleigh Kraft, a ten-year-old FRC player. “So it’ll be nice to have other girls on my team.”
“It feels really fun,” said Kira Chapin, an eight-year-old FRC player. “I feel like I’d be pretty good at football.”
“Just having a team that you get to meet with,” said Marley Sheehan, a 12-year-old FRC player. “Instead of having all these different rules, like with the boy’s team and not even getting to play, [we] have an all-girls team, so it’s not as awkward to play with compared to a group of boys.”
In less than a month, these girls embark on a new beginning for themselves and FRC, an all-girls league with the mission statement of getting better and growing a community within the sport.