Westford Flag Football (WFF) League History & Mission
Westford’s flag football program has been an official NFL Flag Football organization since it was founded in 2004. The league serves the local communities with the strong support of the Westford Recreation Department. The original and continuing mission of the league is to offer local youths a fun alternative to contact football, and operates with the philosophy that “everyone plays” and is given an equal chance to participate.
In the first season (2004), there were approximately sixty 9 -11 year old athletes playing on six teams. The WFF league has continued to grow since those initial years, involving hundreds of local children and dedicated parent coaches. Many milestones have been accomplished over the past nine years, including:
In 2005, the league grew to 160 players with 100 in the 9-11 age division and 60 in a new 12-14 age division.
In 2006 we began involving teenagers in refereeing our games. We now only use teen refs for our games and leverage the experience and peer communication skills of an “aged out” player to run the ref program. Of course, they like the pay, but it also provides them and others an excellent learning and growth opportunity.
In 2007, the league entered a 12-14 age boys team to play in NFL’s Flag Football New England tournament, and they won! This team then competed in the national tournament in Orlando Florida with the NFL picking up all travel and lodging expenses.
In 2008, the league became completely independent from Westford’s Recreation Department by joining the non-profit organization named Friends of Westford Recreation.
In 2010, the league expanding by adding 2 junior co-ed divisions (ages 5-6 and ages 7-8). This expansion was in response to a growing interest of parents and players in hese younger age groups to learn the skills of this sport in a safe and fun environment. We currently top out enrollment of this program at 40 players for ages 5-6, and 80 players for ages 6-7
In 2013, we formalized a program of having past palyers who have "aged out" of the league return in a coaching capacity. This proved to be rewarding for past players and a great positive influence for the current players.
Current: While still early in the year, 2014 brought us the opportunity to support one of our former players, Ryan Imbriaco, who is now playing flag football at U Mass. Ryan and team marched through the regional and eastern US championships and traveled to Florida to play in the National Championship game. A great accomplishment for Ryan and his teammates!
The primary goal of this league is to provide participants with a safe and fun team sport in which each feels welcomed. NFL’s flag football rules and our own policies serve to promote player growth and equal participation. The league expects that all players will have a positive experience each season, and during the course of the season that every player will experience the thrill of making a good play, whether a good run, pass or catch, an interception, or a defensive flagging. The league understands and encourages its coaches and parents to consider winning as secondary goals. We hope that promoting and encouraging all participants (parents, coaches, refs, and players) in good sportsmanship will indoctrinate them to a new way of thinking of how youth sports should operate. Knowing that most of the players will not remember the scores of their games in the distant future, but they may remember a TD or PAT scored, a pass thrown, a defensive play, or a coach who made the experience enjoyable. This is what is most important for us to remember every time we are with our kids on the ball field.