Applications open for Tampa Bay Bucs Foundation’s “Girls in Football” scholarship

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Flag football is one of the fastest growing sports in the country, and it’s helping to create opportunities for girls in Central Florida.

One of the coaches for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was in Orlando Monday with the Super Bowl trophy promoting a scholarship opportunity for girls interested in playing football.

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Lori Locust became the NFL’s first female position coach when she was hired to be the Buccaneers’ Assistant Defensive Line Coach in 2019.

Locust brought the Super Bowl trophy she helped the Bucs win to Boone High School’s varsity flag football game Monday night to encourage girls to apply for their “Girls in Football” scholarship.

“Every year it’s four $5,000 scholarships for girls that are paying flag, playing tackle, or playing touch, and they apply through the Bucs foundation,” Locust explains.

Kaia Barati is the quarterback of Boone High School’s flag football team. She says the recognition the sport has been getting is an inspiration.

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“That people like such big organizations are wanting to spend energy recognizing female athletes and recognizing that this is such a good program to be a part of.” Barati says.

Locust says it’s important for girls like Barati to see that their love of football can earn them a scholarship like anyone else.

Boone’s flag football coach Javier Rodriguez says he’s watched the sport come a long way over decades of coaching.

“I’ve seen it from where it barely just started to what it is now, and it’s night and day,” Rodriguez says.

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15 schools launched women’s flag football programs this spring, with the Buccaneers and Coach Locust leading the way.

Barati says she plans to play Intramural sports in college.

The deadline to apply for a Bucs Foundation Girls in Football Scholarship is April 13. Click here to learn more and apply.

Joe Kepner

Joe Kepner, WFTV.com

I unloaded the U-Haul in Orlando in 2008, just in time to cover the Magic's run to the 2009 NBA Finals.