East Rutherford, N.J.— In celebration of National Girls and Women in Sports Day, the New York Giants today announced a $60,000 donation to the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSPHSAA) to support the inaugural girls flag football leagues in Section 1 and Section 4 that will start this spring.
The funds will be split evenly between each section and will help cover the costs associated with starting the sport. In addition to the contribution, the Giants plan on finding many ways to connect with the participating athletes and coaches throughout the year, including a clinic, and other engagements during the season. The high schools that will be participating in the inaugural season are:
- Somers High School
- Scarsdale High School
- Lakeland High School
- Walter Panas High School
- Hastings High School
- Peekskill High School
- Greenburg-North Castle
- Brewster High School
- Binghamton High School
- Ithaca High School
- Chenango Valley High School
- Norwich High School
Nike, a corporate partner of the Giants and NFL, will continue their commitment to growing girls flag football with a $100,000 product grant for uniforms to NYSPHSAA that will be split evenly among the six sections that are launching girls high school flag football programs this spring.
During the 2020 season, the New York Giants teamed up with their 2015 High School Coach of the Year, Steve Antonucci of Middletown South, to support the launch the Shore Conference Girls Flag Football League in New Jersey. The 8-team league started with a kickoff event in April and continued throughout the spring with Shore Regional High School winning the inaugural championship. The Giants honored Coach Mark Costantino of Shore Regional as Coach of the Week for week 1 of the 2021 season, and were also able to honor athletes Catherine Grant of Mater Dei Prep and Brianna Cataffo of Pinelands Regional High School as nominees for the Heart of a Giant Award in partnership with USA Football and Hospital for Special Surgery.
"As we approach our second season of the Shore Conference Girls Flag Football League, I am proud to announce that our league has expanded and will continue to grow over time," said Antonucci. "Our inaugural season was a huge success, ending with Shore Regional winning the first Championship. The season was an amazing experience for the players, coaches and our community. We can't thank the New York Giants and Nike enough for all their hard work and dedication to help get our league off the ground! The buzz around the Shore Conference for season two is filled with great optimism and expectation!"
The following 10 Shore Conference schools are confirmed to participate in 2022, with more schools potentially joining:
- Middletown South High School
- Middletown North High School
- Mater Dei Prep High School
- Holmdel High School
- Matawan Regional High School
- Shore Regional High School
- Pinelands Regional High School
- Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School
- Henry Hudson Regional High School
- Long Branch High School
The success in the Shore Conference inspired the New York Giants to follow a similar model of support to expand the game of girls flag football throughout New York State. In an effort to efficiently grow the game, the New York Giants, New York Jets and Buffalo Bills have been working jointly with the NYSPHSAA and sections across the state to support and assist the start-up of high school girls flag football teams. The goal is to demonstrate the excitement and interest in girls flag football participation, and to hopefully see it become a sanctioned varsity sport in New York State in the coming years.
"The New York State Public High School Athletic Association is excited to partner with the New York Jets, New York Giants and Buffalo Bills to provide beneficial participation opportunities for high school student-athletes," said Dr. Robert Zayas, executive director of NYSPHSAA. "The NFL's commitment to promoting flag football is truly appreciated and will be critical to the success of the future programs. I would also like to recognize and thank Nike for their contribution and assistance to this valuable initiative."
"We are thrilled to see the growth of girls flag football in our region, and to support and celebrate the athletes and coaches as they make history by competing in their inaugural season," said Ethan Medley, Giants Director of Community Relations and Youth Football. "We were excited to be a part of the successful first season with the Shore Conference last year, and are proud to work with the Jets, Bills, NYSPHSAA and Nike to help launch girls high school flag football in six different sections of New York State this spring. We know that the game of football will provide many meaningful relationships, opportunity for physical activity and competition, and many amazing lifelong memories. We can't wait to cheer them on!"