Girls’ flag football: Will it be official in all CA high schools?

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Flag football is the fastest-growing version of the sport around the world, according to Paula Hart Rodas, who coached flag football at Lawndale High School. Photo by Shutterstock.

LAUSD has no tackle football program for girls, but a few have flag football. It’s actually the fastest-growing version of the sport around the world, according to Paula Hart Rodas, who coached flag football at Lawndale High School and is the president-elect of the southern section executive committee of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF).

The CIF southern section voted to make girls flag football an official high school sport last week. In February 2023, the organization will consider it at the state level. 

Rodas suggests she faced some resistance when bringing forth this initiative. 

“There's always questions about how are we going to fit it into our existing schedule, how are we going to pay for this? Those are natural questions that come up whenever a new sport is introduced. But overwhelmingly there's been support and excitement because as an organization, we are always looking for opportunity to provide our student athletes with experiences that will help them grow as individuals.”

Rodas used to coach Kaylin Harris as a flag football quarterback at Lawndale High School. Harris has also played tackle football. 

“I don't think it should be different. If a girl likes hitting and stuff or playing tackle football, I think she should play it,” Harris says. 

Kaylin Harris (#15) stands with her flag football team from Lawndale High School. Photo courtesy of Kaylin Harris. 

Harris is currently studying cosmetology in college, and says she’d like to play professionally if the opportunity arises. 

“She's a left-handed [Michael] Vick,” Rodas says of Harris. “She's got a cannon. And she's dead accurate. And she's tough and she's fierce. … Our state championship winning coach looked at her and said, ‘If you tried out as a freshman, you'd be my starting quarterback.’”

Paula Hart Rodas and Kaylin Harris attend Super Bowl LVI in February 2022, when the Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals. Photo courtesy of Kaylin Harris. 

Going forward, Rodas says she hopes girls will keep playing sports at the same rate as boys. 

“Girls drop out of high school sports at a rate of 50% faster than their male counterparts. Yet we know that if we look at all of the female leaders of Fortune 500 companies, all of them were athletes at some point in their past. It's being part of something bigger than yourself. It's understanding sacrifice. It's understanding dedication and loyalty.” 



  • Paula Hart Rodas - former flag football coach, Director of Secondary Educational Services, Monrovia Unified School District
  • Kaylin Harris - former flag football quarterback, Lawndale High School