In celebration of Women's History Month, the Los Angeles Rams hosted nine girls' flag football clinics for local elementary, middle and high school students. During the clinics, attendees participated in football-related drills and competitions led by women from the Los Angeles Legends Sports Organization. Additionally, Rams staff members and women in sports across the Los Angeles region participated in panel discussions focused on their experiences playing sports and how the skills they gained as athletes translate to working in professional sports.
These camps aimed to raise awareness of girls' flag football and empower the next generation of women athletes by showing them the pathways available on and off the field. The Rams hosted clinics at Estrella Elementary School, Hughes Middle School, Serra High School, Nimitz Middle School, Crenshaw High School, Long Beach Polytechnic High School and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles - Challengers Clubhouse.
"Girls can do anything. We want to empower them and let them know that football is an avenue that they are also capable of competing in. We want to show them the pathways that are available to them on and off the field," said Noel Grigsby, Rams Associate Manager of Social Justice and Football Development. "We, the Los Angeles Rams, want to lead the charge when it comes to promoting girls' flag football at all levels, but also as we look to LA 28 and making it an Olympic sport. It starts here. This is step one, but we're not finished. We're going to keep working until we get there."
The Los Angeles Legends Sports Organization, founded by Los Angeles native Monique Adams, is a premier women's tackle flag football team. Monique spoke about the collegiate opportunities flag football provides and the representation of women in a male dominated sport.
"Being able to be a part of this, seeing these young women, and have women representation means everything to me," said Adams. "The opportunities are really growing. We want these girls to see that there are opportunities for them to advance their skills and education through flag football. Having the opportunities grow, the CIF approving the sport and making it required in schools for young ladies, is going to be a game changer."
In honor of Women's History Month, the Los Angeles Rams partnered with Nike to host a girls flag football clinic & career panel at Long Beach Poly High School; attendees were able to improve their football skills and listen to a career panel about working in sports.
Nike sponsored the four high school clinics and provided participants with Nike "We Are FootbALL" t-shirts, shorts and duffle bags. The participants also received arm sleeves, wristbands, headbands and gloves from the Rams and Gatorade provided hydration products, squeeze bottles, cinch bags, and towels. In addition, USA Football provided the elementary and middle school clinic participants with "We Are FootbALL" t-shirts, eye black, and flags.
"It truly means a lot to me because this is new, and everyone is adjusting to it," said Kyla Gomez, a student participant. "I find flag football to be very fun and very exciting. I can't wait to see what happens in the future. I would love to play flag football professionally or on a national team. I really enjoy the teamwork and the creativity of the game. The girls getting together, and boding means a lot to me."
In addition to the Women's History Month clinics, the Rams and USA Football provided the Girls Flag Football Resource Package with information about rules, grants, equipment and practice plans to high school flag programs throughout Southern California. The Rams and USA Football also provided equipment kits to 100 local high schools to assist with practices and games.
"It's important for parents to see their daughters here working hard and competing. This is friendly competition, but girls deserve a chance to compete, win and work hard," said Skai Thompson, Director of Health and Wellness at Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Los Angeles - Challengers Clubhouse. "We have 120 girls here. This is the biggest girls' event that we have had and it's awesome to see so many girls come out. We've had girls come from our Venice, Bell Gardens and Watts/Willowbrook Clubs and the from Watts Rams. We have so many girls from different cities, and we're just excited. This event gives exposure so girls can see other girls coaching and being referees. We want to create a girls' flag football league year-round, so the girls have a chance to play too. We are incorporating social and emotional learning into sports and teaching them real life skills. Today's event is so powerful for girls to empower and support other girls. We're thankful that the Rams chose us for this event."
In January 2022, the Rams and Chargers launched the Los Angeles Girls Flag Football League of Champions. Last season, the Rams and Chargers grew the league from eight teams to 16 teams with the support of Nike, USA Football and Gatorade. The Rams and Chargers provided players with uniforms in partnership with Nike, stipends for coaches, coaching manuals, officials, athletic trainers, as well as equipment and transportation for the five-week season. The goal of the League of Champions was to create more opportunities for young women to engage in football.
On Friday, February 3, the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) sanctioned girls' flag football in high schools across California. This achievement allows young women across California to continue to pursue their passion, elevate football to next level, and become future leaders in sports and in the community. The Rams Women's History Month efforts aim to celebrate the growth of football, the players of today, and the generations of tomorrow who will benefit from increased access to team sports.
To learn more about the Rams' community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.