May 21, 2024

Inside the NFL's transatlantic gesture to the UK on International Women's Day – and why it matters

The Chicago Bears and New York Jets held an all-girls soccer event at AFC Wimbledon's Cherry Red Records Arena to celebrate International Women's Day and further grow the sport.

Tremaine Edmunds and Quincy Williams join GB stars and NFL coaches at football event at Wimbledon(Getty Images)

The Chicago Bears and New York Jets celebrated International Women's Day by launching the second annual NFL Girls Flag Football League – the UK's first girls' flag football competition.

On Thursday, the day before International Women's Day, Chicago and New York sent defensive stars Tremaine Edmunds and Quincy Williams to help launch the second year of the event – attended by more than 200 girls from 21 different schools – at the Cherry Red Records Asian Wimbledon Championships. platform.

The event featured an NFL flag session conducted by NFL coaches, as well as a workshop and activities such as cornhole and shuffleboard, and an opportunity for participants to receive team jerseys sponsored by Nike. The Flag League will officially launch on April 15, with the number of girls participating rising from 120 in its inaugural season to 260 across multiple London boroughs.

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Last year, Great Britain's women achieved glory at the European Championships, further proving how the sport continues to develop and grow beyond the United States. Kelly Barrett is a pioneer in this regard, using her own journey, experience and expertise to highlight the importance of flag football – and how it can become a mainstay in this country's crowded sporting landscape.

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“When you think of American football, you automatically think of the AFL, so the fact that we have the AFL teams here, giving back to the international community and getting the girls involved is huge,” Barrett exclusively told Mirror Sport. “You can't ask for much more than that. This is very important for our sport.

“I started in elementary school, so this hits home a little bit. I've never had an event like this, and if I had, I would have gone through it. “This is unbelievable.”

Barrett, who first took up the sport in physical education class, didn't have NFL clubs like the Jets or Bears taking the next generation of women under their wing. Instead, she joined the Coventry Jets before eventually teaming up with her mum, dad and sister to found the Coventry Cougars in 2009 – and they've been going strong ever since.

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