URBANA, Md. - The Baltimore Ravens and Under Armour are teaming up to provide funding for the development of high school girls flag football programs by Fall 2022.
Girls’ flag football has gained popularity in recent years, with similar initiatives happening in school districts in Illinois, Alabama, Florida, and Nevada.
The Lady Ravens are the only girls flag football team in Maryland. Fox 5 was there the first time they practiced at Urbana High School in Frederick County, Maryland – one step towards making their dream become a reality of making girls flag football an official high school sport.
Dana Damoulakis is just 13-years-old in the 8th grade and started the team.
"What really inspired me to create a girls flag football team is my older brother playing flag football and I always used to watch him," said Damoulakis.
Her dad, Nick Damoulakis, is the Lady Ravens head coach. He supported his daughter with this endeavor full heartedly.
"There’s no other girls flag football teams for these young women to play against so they’ve been playing against boys for about a year and a half," said Damoulakis.
FOX 5’s Sierra Fox asked Dana what it’s like to play against the guys. Here’s her response: "Well, most of them just laughed and became cocky… until we beat them."
These ladies are hoping to take over the Hawks Nest at Urbana High School if girls flag football comes a varsity sport.
Brad Downs, Senior Vice President of Marketing, for the Baltimore Ravens says so far, 40 schools in Maryland are interested in starting a girls’ flag football team. The funding will go to schools in the Maryland Public Secondary Schools Athletics Association. Downs adds the NFL team is committing $250,000 over five years.
"We have a goal of growing our game, we believe in the game of football," said Downs. "It’s a tremendous experience to grow character, teamwork, discipline."
All of the teams participating in the high school girls’ flag football league will also be included in events hosted by Ravens RISE, the team’s youth outreach program.
Lady Ravens player, Mackenna Patterson, says she wants to see this program come intro fruition.
"I definitely do because it’s outside the box and it’s allow females to break barriers and do something unexpected," said Patterson. "I just want girls to know you can do anything and don’t care about what other people say."
Damoulakis adds, "Girls can do anything if they put their mind to it."
Schools interested in starting a girls’ flag football team can apply for grants through the MPSSAA. Under Armour will supply custom uniforms for each high school team and the MPSSAA will establish the league’s rules, field setup, and uniform guidelines.
FOX 5’s Sierra Fox full report will air after the Baltimore Ravens vs. Miami Dolphins game on Thursday, November 11th.