Girls flag football has been around for years but for the first time ever in the state of California, it’s now an official state-sponsored Varsity sport. Local high schools are already jumping at the opportunity to create something new and special, especially at Palm Desert High School.
The Lady Aztecs already have a one in the win column for their inaugural season.
It’s the first of its kind and it’s led by Coach Danielle Oswood.
“Looking around the U.S. Florida has been doing it for 12-14 years in other states. 114 schools in the Southern Section are playing and when we talked about it last year, 40 girls came out,” says Coach Dani. “And we said we have to make this happen for them.”
Coach Dani was excited the moment the idea was floated but so was just about everyone around her.
“We started talking with our administration, our Boosters club — and everybody was gung ho for it.”
Right now, 17 girls make up the roster behind Coach Dani. But they all come from different sports and backgrounds.
Coach Dani says, “We have soccer players, softball players, basketball players, water polo players, golfers, they’ve done other sports, but they all want to come together and do this one.”
And these Lady Aztecs are proud to rock the Aztec red and gold for a different sport.
Yeah, catching a football is a lot different than in softball. So it’s a whole different dynamic,” says Madeline Scott. “It’s a lot of fun. I think the girls are bonding pretty quick and we’ve all put a lot of time and effort into it already.”
Scott adds, “Coach Oswood has put a lot of time and effort in it. I’m really excited because a lot of the girls haven’t played anything like this before myself included. So it’s exciting to be part of something like that.”
And the excitement is echoed across the roster with many who wanted to try something new and found a new passion, like Senior Natalie Rey.
“It’s actually super exciting. I went into this year just going in for fun,” says Rey. “We have a really young team this year. So we have two seniors, one junior, the rest are sophomores and freshmen. So I already have a lot of like my little mini me and like little ones and I love it.”
She plays multiple positions to help out the squad and loves being part of something brand new.
“I can’t wait for girls to start getting a passion into it again because it’s honestly a really fun game and it’s just the beginning, we might even potentially get two teams next year. It’s just been fantastic.”
But, this team is blazing a trail for future generations to come especially a big step towards supporting men’s and women’s sports equally.
Coach Oswood says, “I think it’s really important… I’ve seen with them, the support that we have on campus from people coming up to me and saying ‘great job, we see what you’re doing out there.’ The whole community has embraced this and I’m just proud of all of them. I know with my athletic director, we kind of kick this off and we’re just happy that it’s working.”