The Chicago Bears and Britain’s first female coach in the NFL, Phoebe Schecter, have today launched the inaugural Chicago Bears NFL Girls Flag Football League in Manchester. The league is the first all girls’ competition of its kind in Manchester, designed to promote equity and access to sport for girls from all backgrounds in the North West of England.

The inaugural league will see 100 girls aged 12-14 from across the region compete in two conferences of five teams each (ten teams total) across five weeks with the winners going head-to-head in a Championship Event on May 22nd.

Flag Football is the non-contact format of American football that empowers young athletes, both boys and girls, around the world. The game is fun, exciting, and accessible for all, with women and girls driving some of the fastest growth in the sport.

The league was launched with an immersive Flag Football session at Bolton School where the girls received their official team kit from Nike who are a partner of the Flag Football League and took part in an NFL Flag taster session led by Phoebe Schecter and NFL Flag coaches as well as a host of other fun skill-based activities.

The girls were joined at the launch by former Bears cornerback, Super Bowl XX champion, Shaun Gayle. Also in attendance were the current Great Britain Women’s Flag stars including Phoebe, Amy Wells, Grace Furie – hoping to inspire the next generation of flag football stars ahead of the sport’s Olympic debut at LA28.

The league is the next step in the Bears’ expansion in the United Kingdom, where they have marketing rights through the NFL’s Global Markets Program and will play as part of the NFL London 2024 Games later this year. The winning team will attend the NFL game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium when the Bears’ will play.

Phoebe Schecter said: “Flag football is a fun and inclusive sport. As a player and coach, I’m delighted to see the Bears providing this opportunity for girls to play Flag Football and helping them to feel like they belong in a sport.I am excited to see both the growth of the game and the impact this initiative has on the participants.”

The Chicago Bears said: “Girls’ Flag Football continues to grow locally and internationally.  Earlier this year, we witnessed the sport become sanctioned in Chicago (US) and the state of Illinois. The game will also be introduced to the Olympic Games in 2028.  As Flag Football continues to develop around the world, the Chicago Bears will remain committed to championing the sport’s growth.

“We are thrilled to be back in Manchester having brought our Mini Monsters Tour here in 2022 and 2203. The new league will provide young girls from all backgrounds with an introduction to the sport. To see the enthusiasm and engagement for American Football is incredible, and we are excited for the opportunity this new league will bring, especially ahead of the Bears playing a game in London later this year.”

Afia Law (Head of International Flag Football Development at NFL), commented: “NFL UK is seeing great momentum in Flag Football participation across the country and this initiative from the Bears is a fantastic way to engage young girls in the sport. I’m delighted to see an increase in opportunities for girls to play Flag, helping them to feel like they belong in a sport, and I am excited to see the continued growth of Flag Football in the UK in the coming years.”

The Bears previously visited Manchester in 2022 and 2023 as a leg on their Mini Monsters Tour which provides free youth coaching in NFL skills and drills for boys and girls between the ages of 7-12. Earlier this year as part of their continued efforts to increase their presence in the UK, the Bears again joined forces with the New York Jets in London to co-run the second year of the Jets & Bears NFL Girls Flag Football league.

To find out more about the inaugural Bears NFL Girls Flag Football League in Manchester please visit,


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