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Girls flag program kicks off

The Steelers officially kicked off a girls flag football pilot program on Sunday.

The program, which is for high school girls in grades 9-12, aims to encourage high schools to sanction girls flag football. Sunday's schedule of games was the first of five "game days" this spring, with participating schools Ambridge, Ellis School, Moon, North Allegheny, Shaler and West Allegheny competing against one another.

You can check out coverage of Sunday's games on the Steelers official youth football handle: @SteelersYouthFB on Twitter and Instagram. You can also follow along with #FemalesInFlag.

The spring schedule culminates with a Championship Tournament at Heinz Field on Sunday, May 22. The Steelers provided flag belts, footballs, and other support to help launch the program, with uniforms provided by Nike. Pittsburgh Flag Football League also provided support.

The Steelers kicked off a girls flag football pilot program on Sunday afternoon at Ambridge High School

"We are excited to provide this opportunity for high schools in Western Pennsylvania," said Steelers President Art Rooney II in a statement earlier this year. "Flag Football is an exciting game, and already very popular in community programs, so it is great to provide high school girls with an opportunity to keep playing and represent their high school."

The flag pilot program is the most recent effort to promote girls flag football this year. In February, the Steelers provided travel for the local girls' team from Pittsburgh Flag Football League to compete in the National Championship Tournament at Pro Bowl. Later that month, the Steelers hosted a Girls Flag Football Jamboree at the UPMC Rooney Sports Complex.

Since 2016, there has been a concerted effort from the NFL, its 32 Clubs and football partners to increase high school girls flag football participation across the country. Through these collaborative efforts, over 200,000 female participants between the ages of 6-17 played flag football in 2021. At the high school level, 14 NFL Clubs have committed to executing pilot programs in collaboration with their state athletic association, while seven states (Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, New York and Nevada) have officially sanctioned girls' flag as a varsity sport. For the first time in history, the NAIA partnered with the NFL to introduce women's flag football as a collegiate sport for their member institutions.

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