By Ashley Ferraro
Parkland Flag Football recently concluded another historic season with its beloved Friday night Super Bowl extravaganza. This event allowed the top teams to participate in one final face-off and awarded four Drew Wiener Memorial Scholarships, honoring the late coach.
“It’s always important to us to keep Drew’s memory alive,” said Parkland Flag Football President Todd Link. “So, it’s always an honor to award the scholarships to those kids.” The organization awarded four scholarships of $1,000 each to deserving high school seniors to wrap up a phenomenal season. Now, Parkland Flag Football is already looking ahead to its 2024 leagues and expecting an even bigger turnout than ever before.
The 2023 season witnessed an impressive participation of over 1,200 kids across various age groups, making it the largest league to date. Todd highlights the dedication and perseverance of the board members who worked tirelessly to ensure a successful season despite the typical weather-related obstacles experienced in the late summer months. “Every board member deserves to be recognized,” he said.
One notable addition to this season was the introduction of inter-conference play in response to the league’s significant growth. Todd explained that splitting larger age groups into conferences allowed for a more manageable and competitive experience. The league even went a step further by awarding championship rings, adding an extra layer of excitement to the competition.
Another significant development in the organization’s recent history is the remarkable growth of the girls’ divisions within Parkland Flag Football. Year after year, the organization sees record-breaking participation of young girls. Todd, who has a twelve-year-old daughter that started playing when she was six (and when there were only four girls’ teams), notes a remarkable turnout of just over 400 girls in this year’s league. “That’s the most amazing thing to me,” he added.
Earlier this year, the Atlantic East Conference announced plans to be the first NCAA Conference to offer varsity flag football for women, with an anticipated start date of Spring 2025. Similarly, the 2028 Olympic Games in Los Angeles will include flag football for both men and women for the first time, signaling a bright future for flag football players and fans alike.
While Parkland Flag Football is preparing for its regular 2024 season, it will also be introducing an NFL FLAG league starting on January 12 and running through March 8. The new league will feature a five-on-five format, involve no evaluations or drafts, and is a great way for players to stay involved between regular seasons.
The brand new NFL FLAG league is being colloquially called “Friday Night Lights” since games will take place exclusively on Friday nights, ensuring they don’t interfere with other rec sports seasons happening at the same time, such as basketball and soccer. Spaces are limited, so interested participants should register as soon as possible.
To learn more or register for the upcoming season, visit www.parklandflag.com.