Throw Like a Girl: Girls Flag Football at CHS


For the past few years, a lesser-known sport has had an unexpected boom in popularity across the country with teams, sponsorships, and scholarships reaching an all-time high - girls flag football. Not only has the sport been capturing the attention of the nation as it gains traction, but it has especially taken New Jersey by storm and Clifton is not different.

On the 36th annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day, Clifton High School announced the launch of an all-girls flag football team. With this, Clifton High was one of eight teams to be added to a girls flag football league founded and sponsored by both the New York Jets and Nike. Since then, the League has grown from eight in 2021, fifty-two in 2022, and has now reached the hundred mark in 2023. Upon admission into the League, Clifton Superintendent Dr. Danny Robertozzi stated that this event was an “essential step in empowering students” as it “leveled the playing field,” helping “remove barriers student-athletes have faced in the past.”

Since then, the sport has only continued to garner attention across the nation, with an NFL commercial depicting star flag football player, Diana Flores, appearing in the fifty-seventh annual Super Bowl which premiered only a few months ago. Currently, the girls flag football team at CHS has a whopping forty-four players, surpassing several other sports at the high school, a great increase from their previous year’s team. Lindsey Cinque, the head coach, said that as more and more girls hear about and see flag football grow, “the interest grows as well.”

Despite its popularity, many people continue to hold doubts about the legitimacy of girls flag football, assuming that it is not as difficult as its male-dominated counterpart or that the girls do not have to put in as much work. “People look at flag football and think it's just an easier version of tackle football but it’s very much a different game,” stated Cinque. “There are only seven players on the field…you have to be quick and pensive.” First-year player Lillian Eewshah said that it almost feels like a “completely different sport when you're in it. You cannot rely on weight or height or a bunch of other people to back you up. You have to be fast, in both thinking and speed.” The girls even endured a weeks-long strength and conditioning program (as do many of the other sports at CHS), complete with weight lifting, cardio training, and various forms of exercises to prepare them for the upcoming season.

Yet, girls flag football is not even considered an official sport in New Jersey. Rather, it is seen as a club activity despite the players competing against other schools for a championship (as is usual for official sports such as baseball and volleyball), having to complete concussion testing, hand in physicals, and register to play as an athlete. While Cinque does believe it will one day become a sanctioned sport, “It’s a decision that the NJSIAA has to make.” According to the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association, there is not enough research into flag football to accurately determine the effects that participating in the sport will have on girls who play multiple sports at once. They worry that prematurely accepting girls flag football without proper data or full knowledge of its potential drawbacks can harm the athletes. Another worry is that flag football is simply a trend - a short-lived fad that might plateau without the help of large corporations such as Nike or the Jets, as has occurred with some sports in the past. “It is just a matter of waiting,” says Cinque.

In spite of the setbacks and the doubts, Cinque does not concern herself with anything other than her girls. She hopes that she and the girls will continue to build upon their already “great program” that promotes inclusivity and perseverance. Winning the championship wouldn't hurt too bad either, Cinque joked. Regardless of what occurs, whether that be with critics, losses, or even wins, at the end of the day, “As long as the ladies are working hard and having fun, which is exactly what we have been doing, we are successful.”


Make sure to check out the girls' first game of the season on April 13th at the Clifton Stadium at 6 p.m!

For more information regarding the girls flag football team at CHS, you can email Mrs. Cinque at

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