The Millstone Times July 2021

KIDS HEWYBL Launches All-Girls Youth Flag Football League The Hightstown-East Windsor Youth Sports League (HEWYBL), Central New Jersey’s premier NFL Flag Football League has announced the formation of an all-girl’s flag football league. The league will launch in Fall 2021 and is open to girls aged 4-18. Registration for the league will run through August 10. The season will open on September 8 and run through mid-November. It will consist of 10 regular season games, plus playoff games. Full details on the season, as well as registration information, can be found at Games will be held at Disbrow Hills Park in East Windsor. HEWYBL has run a co-ed recreational NFL Flag league since 1998. The program has grown to nearly 800 annual participants. Players do not have to reside in a specific town to participate. “We surveyed parents and players in the area and believe there is a desire for a girls league,” said Eric Updegraff, HEWYBL’s flag football commissioner. “Not all girls want to play in a co-ed environment, and we hope this will attract involvement among girls to this great game. Kids just have a blast playing and the more kids we can get out there, the better.” More than 1.5 million youth participate in flag football nationwide, and female flag football participation has grown significantly over the last several years. Currently, Alabama, Georgia and Florida offer flag football as a high school sport. Many others are close behind. In New Jersey, the New York Jets and Nike have partnered with the North Jersey Super Football Conference, while the New York Giants and Nike have partnered with the Shore Conference to launch pilot programs for girl’s high school flag football. Play in both leagues began this spring. At the collegiate level, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) has partnered with the NFL and Reigning Champs Experiences (RCX) to bring collegiate women’s flag football to its member institutions. The first-ever NAIA Women’s Flag Football Finals were hosted at Mer- cedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta in May, capping off its inaugural season. In addition, the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA), in partnership with the NFL and RCX, has announced women’s flag football as an emerging sport with plans to start playing in 2022. Thirty NJCAA programs have already committed to adding women’s flag football, and more than 60 are expected in the second year. “Opportunities to play in high school and college are clearly on the horizon,” said Updegraff. “Our league will help create a pipeline to schools that will eventually offering flag football. HEWYBL is a 501c3 Corporation run by volunteers who choose to make a difference in the lives of their children and those around them. The or- ganization began in 1968 and continues to create opportunities for the children throughout Central New Jerseys to participate in many types of youth sports. Currently HEWYBL offers four recreational sports programs: flag football, basketball, wrestling and baseball. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF PLAYING FLAG FOOTBALL? 1. No Contact: Flag football is a non-contact sport, meaning there’s no tackling, diving, blocking, screening or fumbles allowed. Therefore, players aren’t required to wear any heavy equipment, such as helmets and shoulder pads. This creates an approachable atmosphere where kids can learn how to play and develop their skills without the aspect of physical contact. 2. Accessibility: Flag football is an incredibly inclusive sport and opens the doors to many players, including female athletes. 3. Learn the fundamentals: There’s a common myth that flag football doesn’t prepare kids for tackle football for those who want to eventually transfer to tackle — and that simply isn’t true. The basic fundamentals taught in flag football directly transfer to tackle, including catching, throwing, for- mations, routes, and defensive skills. For example, the way defensive players are required to square up their body and align their head and knees is the exact positioning needed to physically tackle an opponent. 4. Easy commitment: With most leagues only meeting once per week, many families happily squeeze flag football into their packed schedules. Typi- cally, teams practice once a week for an hour, and games typically take an hour. 5. It’s fun! Plain and simple, flag football is loads of fun. With fewer players on the field, there’s more engagement and a faster speed of play. Games are quick, competitive and every drive count. It’s the version of football you loved playing in your backyard — why ever stop? Season details can be viewed at To register, go to and select REGISTER at the upper right-hand corner. If you have any questions about HEWYBL Flag Football or the upcoming season, please contact

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