BY GENE NARDI
The National Flag Football League has established itself in Florida and is in its third season at host venue Palm Beach Central High School in Wellington. The league is a nationally recognized organization with groups all over the country.
The Wellington venue provides co-ed divisions from ages 5 to 11. Fourteen teams occupy the area league with NFL-themed teams. The league draws players from as far as Jupiter to Lake Worth.
“We have about 140 players on 14 different teams in this year’s league,” said Anthony Bolden, one of the two league directors on site. “This year the numbers are up from last year. We have a lot more players.”
Teams gathered at the Palm Beach Central High School football field to finish out their last game on an overcast but hot day. Kona Ice of Palm Beach was also on scene and supports the league each week.
“We’re very involved in the community sports here in the area,” CEO Kam Kham said. “We also support the high school events as well and have been for some time now.”
Specific rules are enforced within the league. All players are required to play, and there’s only one practice an hour before each game. Each side fields five players on each side of the ball in live play. The season is played in eight weeks with no playoffs or standings, but they do host tournaments each year.
“We just had a tournament with eight fields at the Oxbridge Academy with teams from South Beach, Hollywood and Jupiter,” Assistant League Director Chris Matthews said.
“The league is relatively new for Florida,” Bolden said. “We’re in the process of expanding it throughout Florida.”
Kids can compete in an eight-game season that runs from April through early June. The season is mapped out early to avoid the summer heat, and provide an activity for the kids as the school year comes to a close.
“We’ve also selected the Jupiter area as another site for an additional Palm Beach County league venue,” Bolden said.
“Lake Worth, Boynton Beach and Boca Raton are other Palm Beach County venues,” Matthews added.
The league wrapped up its season last Sunday, and will begin coordinating resources to organize additional venues and seasons for local areas as the league continues to grow.
For more information, visit www.flflagfootball.com.
ABOVE: Packers running back Jaime Simmons takes off for a touchdown during a game in the Shula Division.