Youth football Indoor flag league a success
The football games held each Sunday at the Boys & Girls Club of Greenwich feature a lot of flags, but they’re not penalty flags that often slow down the action.
These flags are a welcome sight for those who enjoy a version of the sport that’s on the rise.
Indoor Flag Football, Boys & Girls Club-based league, will conclude its first season on Sunday with its four division championship games.
The co-ed league includes divisions for kids ages 6-13 teams and is comprised of 18 teams, overall. Playoffs for Indoor Flag Football began this past Sunday and judging by the smiles on the player’s faces and enthusiasm they displayed on the field, the league has scored big in the hearts of the participants.
“It’s really fun, because it’s different than regular football,” 11-year-old Sydney Cohn said prior to playing in her postseason game this past Sunday. “It’s fun to play indoors and you don’t have to tackle people. I always look forward to playing.”
Jacari Hughes, a 9-year-old, is playing in one of the division championship games this Sunday at the Boys & Girls Club.
“We get to have a lot of fun in this league, you get to play with a lot of your friends,” Hughes said. “You don’t get hurt like you do sometimes in tackle football and it’s very exciting.”
Indoor Flag Football was co-founded by Greenwich natives Mike Lefflbine and Camryn Ferrara. Lefflbine and Ferrara played football in Greenwich as youngsters, then proceeded to compete on the Greenwich High School football team, which they each captained during the 2009 season.
The 2010 Greenwich High graduates, went on to play football at the collegiate level. Lefflbine was a standout quarterback at Saint Lawrence University and Ferrara also competed on the team.
“The idea for a league had been in the works for a couple of years and this is the first season we implemented the league,” Lefflbine said. “Flag football is such a great sport. The kids love it, the parents love it. It gives kids an opportunity, who don’t want to play tackle football, to play football. We’ve been coaching flag football for a number of years and we wanted to give the kids an opportunity to play in the winter time.”
The Boys & Girls Club has made its field house available for the league, which plays its games on a turf field.
Ferrara serves as athletic coordinator at the Boys & Girls Club.
“We want kids to keep playing football, we don’t want an offseason for kids,” Ferrara said. “We talked to people in the community about the league and without their support, this wouldn’t have happened. The GYFL coaches, flag football coaches in town helped make it happen.”
The league includes divisions for children ages 6-7, 8-9, 10-11 and 12-13. Approximately 150 kids signed up for the indoor league’s inaugural season.
“Being a Greenwich native and growing up playing flag football, it feels amazing to see the league take off like this,” Ferrara said. “We encourage multi-sports athletes. It’s just another outlet. We want kids to come and have fun with their friends.”
In the Indoor Flag Football league, six players from each team are on the field at once and the game consists of two, 18-minute, halves. Teams have five downs to score a touchdown and after five seconds, the quarterback can be rushed by a defender.
“As long as it’s fast-paced and fun, the kids will like it,” Lefflbine said. “It’s great seeing the potential these kids have in football and we’re hoping to double the teams to 36 next year.”
Said 11-year-old Eva Perez: “I am really enjoying it a lot. We have good crowds at the games and a lot of fans and parents are being supportive. It’s a lot of fun playing indoors too.”
For more information about the league, visit www.indoorflagleague.org