CLEVELAND — Football is the most popular sport in America and Cleveland is lucky enough to be hosting one of the biggest events in the NFL.
Ohio is home to some great football and the sport is expanding.
Lexi and Bre Berwald are sisters and both are in high school. They play multiple sports like basketball and track. This year they also added flag football. For multiple years, the Berwald family has been involved with the Northeast Ohio Flag Football League. However, this year is a little different.
Lexi and Bre are two of 65 girls in grades 9-12 participating in the inaugural Northeast Ohio Girls Flag Football League.
“We haven't had the opportunity to play before and we finally got the opportunity to play. So that's cool,” Bre said.
The leagues have always had co-ed flag football available to kids K-8th grade, now they can continue to play.
“It just gives them another element of being inclusive,” said Gennine Berwald, who is Lexi and Bre's mom and an organizer of the league. “Just figuring out what the game's all about and having fun.”
Girls flag football is a club sport, but the goal is to someday have it become an Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) sanctioned sport, officials said. For these girls, it's something completely new, but also something they've grown up watching.
“Ever since I was a little kid it always looked like so much fun,” Lexi said.
Their six-game season just ended last week, but with the turnout from this year, they look forward to the future.
“We thought of this and thought it would be a good idea,” Gennine said. “It looks like it's catching on pretty good.”