IWFF in the News

Women’s league kicks off season

by on June 03, 2016 10:39 AM

Julie Sadler knew last summer that she had a great opportunity to tap into Indiana’s profound enthusiasm for football.

Early into her second year, the founder of the Indiana Women’s Flag Football League couldn’t be happier with the results.

The league, which began in 2015, has nearly doubled in size, has implemented myriad offseason activities to keep participants involved and, above all in Sadler’s mind, has become a source of team spirit in the community.

“It really is. It’s so fun,“ Sadler said. “And there really isn’t anything like it in Indiana as far as a league for women. … This is a short period of time, with only 12 weeks in the summertime, but we continue to have the camaraderie of hanging out and doing fun things throughout the year. So it’s just like something to have a group to belong to, and all the people that are involved have been awesome.“

The league kicked off its second season Thursday and has games scheduled each Thursday through Aug. 18, which will be the championship game.

After competing with only 36 full-time players across four teams in its inaugural season, the IWFF has expanded to six teams, each with 10 full-time players. Because Sadler knows it’s unlikely that all players will be available to attend every game, each team has three slots for substitution players who may be called to fill in.

As of Thursday, only three substitution spots had been filled, putting the league total at 63 players, but those interested in joining have until the league’s third game to sign up.

Each player must sign a waiver and pay a $40 fee, and returning players receive seniority ahead of each subsequent season.

“That’s kind of one of the perks of the full-time players is they get first dibs on signing next year if they want to play,“ Sadler said. “And substitute players that actually sign up and want to play, they get first dibs on a full-time spot as well.

“So if you want a spot, you better sign up quick, because they went pretty fast this year.“

The 5-on-5 games begin at 7 p.m. They are each played side by side at Mack Park with two 30-minute halves and a five-minute halftime. Offensively, teams get four downs to reach a first down and then receive four more attempts to score. Touchdowns are worth one point, and there are no field goals.

Blitzing is allowed on defense after counting five “Mississippis.”

Players must be at least 21 years of age, and each contest concludes with a celebratory trip to Brunzies Bar for drinks, a postgame tradition Sadler hopes promotes unity in an otherwise competitive environment along with most other offseason activities, such as bowling and trivia nights.

“We are very removed from the team when we are doing all the league stuff, and that’s kind of the way we set it up, so even though everybody has a team, that’s why we only go to one place afterward for drinks,” Sadler said. “All of our offseason events are geared toward to whole league. We’re not really looking to be just the Cherry Bombs or just the Blue Ballers or just the Monarch Mavens. We’re looking to be a league of women, and we happen to play on different teams for an hour, and then we get together at the end.

“I might be competitive on the field for an hour, and then I’m going to be their friend, which is kind of how it worked out last year, and it was amazing.”

Sadler, who plays for the defending champion and 1-0 Cherry Bombs, hopes to file for non-profit eligibility at the season’s end. To help raise money, the league will host a 1980s-themed prom at Disobedient Spirits in Homer City on Oct. 15. Tickets for the event are $15.

For information on the league, visit www.facebook.com/indianawomensflagfootball or www.indianawomensflagfootball.wordpress.com.

PHOTO:  Emily Smith, left, of the Blue Ballers pulled away for a touchdown in a loss to the Cherry Bombs on the opening day of the Indiana Women’s Flag Football League at Mack Park on Thursday. See more photos at Indiana Gazette Online. (Kevin Stiffler/Gazette photo)

Women’s league has received rave reviews

by on July 03, 2015 10:35 AM

Ontario native Julie Sadler realized that football reigns supreme in the eyes of western Pennsylvania sports fans while watching one of her first Pittsburgh Steelers’ games.

So when she decided to form a women’s-only sports league in Indiana this summer, Sadler understood that she probably couldn’t field an ample amount of players in her childhood sport of choice, hockey, which she played collegiately at Elmira College (New York).

Instead, Sadler chose a no-brainier and tapped into the area’s undying love affair with football by creating the Indiana Women’s Flag Football League.

The four-team league plays its games at 7:30 p.m. every Thursday at Mack Park.

“I just got the vibe that people in Pennsylvania love football.” Sadler said.

The league began its inaugural season on June 4, and each team has since played five games of the 13-game season. Sadler said she has received rave reviews regarding the league thus far.

“It’s been an absolute success and a lot of fun, and we’re not even halfway through the season,” Sadler said. “I knew it was going to be fun because I played flag football in high school.  After the first Thursday I got so many text messages saying, ‘I had so much fun.’ ‘It was such a good idea.’ ‘I can’t wait until next Thursday.’ Last week we played in the mud and it we almost called the game, but we ended up having a lot of fun. We’ve really had nothing but awesome feedback so far.”

The five-on-five games consist of two twenty five-minute halves, with a 10-minute halftime occurring in between. On offense, teams get four downs to reach the first-down marker. In the case that a team gets a first down, it has four more downs to reach the end zone.

There are no referees, so the players must officiate in what Sadler described as a modified version of backyard football. Teams are also not allowed to kick field goals.

Players must be at least 21 years of age, only because the league didn’t want to exclude any player from participating in customary post game trips to the bar.

“We have players from 21 to their mid-40s, and so far, we’ve only had a few minor injuries. Everyone knows we’re playing football, so there’s a possibility for bodily harm.” Sadler said.

The league has 35 players who play on four teams. Sadler said next year she expects the league to expand to eight teams.

The league is still searching for five businesses to offer sponsorship for next season. Each sponsor will get its business logo on the back of every uniform in the 2016 season for $55.

The championship game will be held on Aug. 13.

For information, visit http://www.facebook.com/indianawomensflagfootball or http://www.indianawomensflagfootball.wordpress.com.

March 2016

  1. Kelly says:

    Ta Da!!


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