Witten Huddle starts “Girls Only” Flag Football League
Published 8:51 am Friday, July 21, 2023
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By Ron Marvel
Ryan Witten founder of Witten HUDDLE, who also serves as the head girl’s flag football coach at Milligan University, is wise enough to see the wave that is coming. Girls’ flag football is one of the fastest growing sports in America currently, thanks in part to NFL’s and Nike’s initiative to get girls involved in playing youth football. With that knowledge, Coach Witten has started a league in Carter County and the reception for this idea has been encouraging. Meeting at Citizens Bank Stadium in Elizabethton, 30-40 girls have been coming out and running drills and stamina exercises in expectation of this year being their inaugural season.
Under the watchful eye of Coach Ryan Witten and other Milligan University Flag Football players, there is excitement not only with the girls who are participating but the parents as well. One such player is former Happy Valley softball standout Blakelee Ollis, who currently is a receiver and secondary player for the Lady Buffs spoke about her experience with these young players, “it’s been a great experience for me; it is such a great opportunity for these girls they are starting so young that they can really know the game and be really good when they are my age. They are going to have opportunities in front of them,” Ollis exclaimed.
“We are looking to grow this, Florida has been doing this for 21 years and the NFL is really pushing this across various cities like Charlotte and Chicago; it’s exciting; it will be a first for our community,” Coach Witten shared. “The exciting thing is that these girls can look at the scholarship Milligan University players that are helping coach them and realize that there could be a future for them in this sport if they work hard,” Coach Witten stated. Title 9, which aids in providing opportunities for girls in sports very well could be involved in this movement in the future as well. This growth can be seen at Milligan University as the Flag Football program has grown to 24 in its short time.
“Girls do so well in engaging in the coaching process and are very quick to pick up on new skills. I’m so proud of these young ladies’ positive energy as they try something new,” Witten added. Currently right now the girls are meeting every Monday and Tuesday night and the league is set up for girls between the ages of 7-11. They will be playing on Saturday mornings, partnering with the Junior Cyclones Football Association, and hoping to have four teams their first year with a kick-off date of August 12. Costs will be $60.
If you are interested in joining or getting more information about this league feel free to contact Witten Huddle at (423)707-5419.
One thing Ryan knows is that this community is great for coming out and supporting programs for kids, “we appreciate the community for supporting us; they have been so good to me and my family over the years; we also appreciate Elizabethton High School as well for allowing us to use the field” Coach Witten said. If you know the Wittens, you know the passion they have for youth sports and helping kids chase their dreams, so there couldn’t be a better matchup as this new league establishes in our community.