SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – The nation’s largest independent football organization is adding an all-girls division for the upcoming fall season, providing more equality and opportunity for those who want to play football.
The Ute Conference Youth Football Organization, based in Salt Lake City, has been playing football across the Wasatch Front since 1966. Now, for the first time, it will be expanding to include an all-girls division.
Ute Conference Executive Director Jeff Gorringe told ABC4 it’s about giving everyone an opportunity to play football.
“If a young man or a young want to play the game of football in whatever form it is, they can,” said Gorringe.
Gorringe said the new division will give girls the opportunity to compete for positions on a football team they might not get when playing a co-ed league. These positions include quarterback, running back, and receiver to name a few.
The all-girls football in the Ute Conference will launch this fall season, which kicks off on July 25. Girls will be able to play tackle football, as well as part of the 7-on-7 touch football.
It will start by offering teams in a 14U division, which will allow girls to play tackle football at the age of 12. Soon after launch, the girl’s division will expand to match what is already offered for boys, allowing girls as young as seven to play football in an all-girls league.
The addition of an all-girls division is something the Ute Conference has been looking into for about five years. Gorringe said the opportunity to finally add it came when co-founder of the Utah Girls Tackle Football League Brent Gordon approached Ute Conference and asked if they would be interested in creating their own division.
Gorringe said the two organizations aren’t interested in competing against one another. Instead, the two will work in collaboration to bring more equality and opportunity to the sport for everyone.
Gorringe expects Ute Conference will have 250 to 300 girls sign up for the first year of the new division but believes that number will rise to 2,500 girls within the next five years.
As an independent organization, Gorringe said Ute Conference conducts all of its own background checks and ensures its coaches are certified. The all-girls division will be no different as every coach in the league will be subject to thorough background checks and certifications.
Those interested in more information about the Ute Conference Youth Football Organization can learn more by visiting their website. Registration for both the girls division and boys division can be completed online.