Flag Football has Arrived!
Written by Heidi Jones on April 6, 2021
The spring season of athletics has officially started at Kansas Wesleyan University. Along with sports returning comes a new sport to campus: women’s flag football. Last year, the NAIA announced that, thanks to a partnership with the NFL, women’s flag football would be a collegiate sport for the first time for NAIA schools. Kansas Wesleyan was among the first the first universities to form a team. In the fall, the members of the first flag football team Kansas Wesleyan would ever had arrived on campus and got to work, focusing on the basics of flag and lots of conditioning. After returning from winter break, the team got right back to work, preparing for the first season and their first game, which was on Sunday, February 28 against Ottawa University. Head Coach Mike Famiglietti, or Coach “Fam,” gives more details about the team and what he is learning about being a head coach for the first time.
This being Coach Famiglietti’s first year as a head coach, he was quite excited. He discussed about how for the past few months, the team has been working on developing a culture as well as laying a foundation for future Coyote Flag Football players. Coach Fam is also very focused on coaching in a positive manner, and he cares about the athletes. He says that he does not just want to coach flag football, but he also wants to help the women on the team grow to be strong and successful people, no matter the career path. Coach Famiglietti mentioned that he is thrilled to be a part of history and be a part in the establishment of a hopefully successful team.
Coach Valeria Ochoa is also new to coaching, being a part of both the flag football and men’s football staff. Having been a soccer player for Kansas Wesleyan last year, she says that being a coach is a big change. Over her soccer career, Coach Ochoa has seen different styles of coaching and is working on developing her own. With this, it is important to her that she can relate to the members of the flag football team. She also understands what it is like to be a student athlete. Coach Ochoa mentioned how difficult it has been for the team to practice for months during the fall semester without being able to play any games. She says that she is excited to finally see all the hard work these women have put in to be seen out on the field.
Flag football is not available in all high schools across the country, so, as both Coach Mike Famiglietti and Coach Valeria Ochoa explained, the flag football team has been a mesh of different women with different experiences in flag. Coach Ochoa went more into depth, saying that she understands how difficult it may be for some of the women on the team to have to slow down and relearn some of the basics within flag football. However, she drove home the fact that it has been incredibly important for all of the girls on the team to understand that without each other, experienced or not, there would be no flag football season. Both coaches have said that they have been thrilled to see the team come together, support each other, and get better as a unit. Coach Famiglietti says that the flag team’s goal is to take the season one game at a time and compete for the national title.
Flag football’s regular season runs from the end of February to the middle of April, and the playoff season ends around the beginning of May. Games will typically be played on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Some games may also be double-headers in which the flag team will play back-to-back games. The women’s flag team fell to Ottawa 38-6 and the University of Florida 69-0. They play again on Sunday, March 21, against Cottey College and Midland University. You can find Kansas Wesleyan’s Flag Football schedule here.