Saturday, June 22, 2024

Two San Antonio natives make U.S. Women’s Flag Football national team roster

Must read

If you watched the NFL Draft you probably heard flag football being mentioned once or twice.

Turns out it’s the fastest growing form of football in the country.

There is even a national flag football team and two players on the women’s team are from right here in San Antonio.

Like so many kids who grow up in the state of Texas, Ashely Edwards fell in love with one sports more than any other.

“I’ve always loved football,” said Edwards.

After playing a little in college, Edwards found and started playing in a local co-ed league here in San Antonio.

“I believe about three years ago, I was invited to play in this flag football tourney in Tampa,” said Edwards.

What Edwards found when she got there was eye-opening.

“I showed up and was just astonished that there are hundreds of teams,” said Edwards.

Miranda Arellano had a similar reaction when she competed at a tournament in Dallas.

“I was astonished,” said Arellano. “I didn’t know this was a thing first and foremost. There were people from like Florida and California and Chicago, everywhere.”

Several years ago, following a game at a tournament, a teammate told Edwards she had just played against Team USA.

“I said, ‘There’s a US National team for flag football?” Edwards recalled. “To know that something like this existed for the sport that I had always loved, it just really ignited something in me.”

Edwards is now entering her second year with the Women’s Flag National Team.

“It is the top of the top for our sport,” said Edwards. “So the competition is fierce and the talent is phenomenal.”

The U.S. National Team won against Mexico in the International Federation of American Football Gold Medal game last year.

“I had seen my teammates Madison and Ashley be able to be on the team last year and I said I want to do that,” said Arellano.

Tryouts for the team are held every year.

18 players make the initial roster.

It’s Miranda Arellano’s first year on the team.

“Everybody is so good in their own way,” said Arellano. “Honestly I never expected to be a part of something like this but to be able to play and be with some of the most elite athletes in the world I think it’s really really awesome to be a part of.”

Games are played on a shorter and narrower field.

Teams play five against five.

And instead of four quarters, games are played in two, 20-minutes halves.

“I always tell people the easiest way to pull a flag is to aim for the hips,” said Arellano.

The U.S. Women’s Flag National Team will hold a training camp in late May and early June.

12 players will be named to the national team along with six alternates.

“It’s a really hungry group and I think we have the opportunity to make something really special,” said Edwards.

Both Edwards and Arellano balance careers while also keeping up with intense demands of being on the national team.

“Every single day I get a workout in,” said Arellano. “On the physical end I have to make sure I’m on my Ps and Qs.”

“It’s very much become ingrained as a part of my life,” said Edwards. “I have the want and so it doesn’t feel like I have to it feels like I get to.”

“I love it,” said Arellano. “I think this is where I was supposed to be with my lifestyle.”

Edwards and Arellano hope the exploding growth of flag football continues into the future.

“The fact that anybody and everybody can have an opportunity to play is pretty amazing,” said Arellano.

“I just truly hope this game continues to grow because I really feel like everybody has a space in it,” said Edwards.

The U.S. Men’s and Women’s Flag National Teams will compete in the 2024 IFAF Flag Football World Championship in Lahti, Finland in August.

Back in October, flag football was announced as an Olympic sports for the 2028 Summer Games in Los Angeles.

Latest article