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Flag football stars name women’s sports inspiration

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(Sam Prusynski/Just Women's Sports)

Many of the brightest young talents in girls’ flag football took the field in Beaverton, Ore. last week for the Nike Football Kickoff Classic in partnership with the NFL. When the high school players weren’t showing off their skills in the round-robin showcase, they caught up with Just Women’s Sports on their favorite parts about playing flag football, their professional football aspirations and more.

One thing all the players have in common is their fandom of women’s sports. When asked who their favorite athlete or team is in women’s sports, the responses varied between their flag football inspirations and other sports they play or watch.

Aaya McLyn, quarterback for Long Beach Poly (California), said flag football is secondary to soccer for her.

“My main sport is soccer so I do watch a lot of professional soccer. My favorite athlete is Abby Wambach just because of her aggression and want to be good,” she said, referencing the World Cup champion and U.S. women’s national soccer team’s all-time leading goal scorer.

Quarterback Janasia Wilson, who shined for Irvington (New Jersey) at the Nike Kickoff Classic, cited the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks as her favorite team when she’s not watching the U.S. women’s national flag football team.

Another player from Long Beach Poly said college softball is her other favorite sport, and she likes watching Tennessee’s Kiki Milloy and Oklahoma’s Tiare Jennings in particular.

Two players from Willowbrook (Illinois) were quick to shout out Diana Flores, the quarterback and captain of the Mexican national flag football team. Flores has played for Mexico since she was 16 and has been an advocate for making flag football an Olympic sport in 2028.

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Finally, Leiana Juarez of Vegas showed her appreciation for one of the greatest athletes of all time, retired tennis legend Serena Williams.

“I’d say Serena Williams,” Juarez said, “just because she’s super hardworking and dedicated and she always is humble about everything and just continues to show out towards the world.”