In the continuous effort to create opportunity for girls and women in football, the Rams and USA Football partnered to host a National Team flag football talent identification camp. Featuring the top West Coast girls entering sixth through 12th grade, four athletes out of just under 300 were given invitations to the 2024 U.S. National Team Trials.
Rams staff and USA National Team coaches and scouts led drills for every athlete in attendance to show off their skills. The camp included a panel for parents and athletes to learn about the U.S. National Team selection process and requirements, and the overall growth of girls' flag football across the nation. The panelists emphasized how they never thought this event would have been possible, but now there is a space in flag football where women belong.
The theme of the day was excitement about the expanding access and popularity that girls flag football is gaining. Milan Heisorf, 17U U.S. National Team Member, who recently won gold in Charlotte, North Carolina came out to inspire the younger generation with her on field support and insight as a panelist.
"Whenever I was going through my process of getting to this point, I didn't have this, so it's cool to see that I can be there for other people and to have some kind of model. We want to see ourselves in people that have been there before so that we can go there," said Heisorf.
Following the panel, the girls participated in athletic testing and field work and each session concluded with the announcement of the Most Valuable Player (MVP). Makayla Martinez, Chandler High School (AZ) class of 2027 reacted to winning MVP of the youngest group in attendance. "I'm very grateful because I've been wanting to be scouted for a long time. I've been playing since I was younger. I started doing soccer because I thought flag was never going to make it far, I kind of gave up. But I joined an all-girls team and it's a great opportunity to be able to play." She was happy that so many girls were able to come out and experience the camp.
In the continuous effort to create opportunity for girls and women in football, the Los Angeles Rams and USA Football partnered to host a National Team flag football talent identification camp.
Mike Cummings, Performance Director for Jawku, was in attendance to help track performance metrics. "We collaborated with USA Football and the LA Rams to come out here and give a wonderful measurement experience. Jawku was super proud to be here [and] being able to educate was a really cool opportunity for us."
Girls flag football was recently sanctioned as a high school sport in California. Although there is more work to do across the country, this camp followed perfect suit to this announcement. "The goal is to grow the game of flag football, and get girls more interested in playing the game," said Elliott Giles, U17 National Girls Flag Football Team coach. "I'm grateful and honored to be here to participate in this event to get these girls an opportunity to play flag, showcase their skills and, really show what they're about."
The girls were surprised to have the support of an NFL team. Maia Helmar, Newport Harbor High School '25 wide receiver and linebacker, said, "It's crazy because I've grown up watching football all my life and to be a part of the start of something is incredible." Helmar was one of two athletes that won MVP in their age group.
Heisorf said that the Rams support meant everything. "It's really cool to see them invest in women's sports, invest in youth sports for young girls to be involved, and to help grow this game that we all love." Giles added that the goal is for all 32 NFL teams to outwardly support girls flag football, but this event helped build excitement and exposure.
The growth of all women's sports was supported through the camp. "You see the Women's World Cup going on right now and you see how big of a global standpoint it is, and how the game is [growing] on the women's side for soccer. We want to try and make that happen for flag football, too," said Heisorf. She was hopeful that the girls that attended felt supported to fulfill their dreams.
The trials will take place this coming spring in Charlotte at the United States Performance Center. Athletes that participate will have the chance to represent their country on the international stage as part of USA Football's 15U, 17U, or Women's Flag National Teams.
To learn more about the Rams' community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.