It’s one of the fastest growing sports in Canada, and Vernon and District Minor Football can vouch for that.
Flag football numbers in the local association doubled for this season over 2018.
“There’s incredible growth all across the country,” said Marcy Kennedy, vice-president of Vernon Minor Football. “We’ve gone from 60 players to 120 this season.”
Kids from the North Okanagan play in four divisions: U10, U12, U14 and U16 with games going Sundays at Grahame Park. Players are given a T-shirt and supplied with a belt to which a pair of flags are velcroed on. The object, instead of tackling the person with the ball, is to pull off a flag, signalling the end of the play.
Each player must wear headgear for safety reasons.
The city league wrapped up with a fun day, including pizza, refreshments and baked goods. Some Vernon teams competed in provincial championships in Kelowna June 8 and 9.
The flag season, which runs six-to-eight weeks near the end of the school year, is considered a stepping stone to the tackle division, which begins in August.
“We do hope some of the kids carry over. Flag is a wonderful place to start and learn without fear and contract,” said Kennedy. “Lots of kids come up through flag and join the tackle program, and we strongly encourage children and parents to do that.”
Tackle football starts July 9 for kids aged seven to 15. All equipment is provided.
Kennedy said there are several funding options available, including private sponsors.
“No one gets left out,” she said.
All practices and games are at Greater Vernon Athletic Park at Okanagan College.
Last season, the association’s Atom Division team won the conference and the provincial championship.
“We are still looking for coaches as well. All training is provided,” said Kennedy.
You can find out all information at www.vdmfa.ca or on their Facebook and Instagram pages.