WEST VALLEY CITY - Percentage-wise, it just may be the fastest growing sport in Utah.
“I just really like tackling people,” said a smiling Madisyn Paxton.
Paxton, along with about 300 other teenage girls, play in the Utah Girls Tackle Football League.
“You meet new people and they’re like family,” said Isabella Nogales, a player in the High School League.
The league is separated into three conferences: one for elementary students, one for middle school students, and one for those in high school.
If you’re wondering just how physical it gets: “Oh no, these girls can hit,” said Tionna Nogales, Isabella’s mom. “And sorry, I have to say, some can even hit harder than the boys.”
When the league first started back in 2015, about 50 girls showed up. The following year, that number grew to about 115, and in 2017 it was clear up to 215.
“This year we are hoping to have 500,” said Crystal Sacco, league president.
Sacco started the league, along with the help of Sam Gordon. When Gordon was just 9, her dad posted a video of her playing football and it went viral. She became so popular that the NFL even brought her out on stage in a Pre-Super Bowl show to let her speak.
The league practices during the week and games are on Saturdays. They are looking for more experienced coaches as well. Those interested in the league can learn more or sign up here.