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SALT LAKE CITY — Twelve-year-old football sensation Samantha Gordon will no longer be the only girl to score a touchdown this summer.
The South Jordan star, who first became a national story after a YouTube highlight video showed her out-juking the boys in a youth football league, has inspired the creation of an all-girls youth tackle football league in Salt Lake County.
The Utah Girls Tackle Football League, touted by its website as one of "the first girls-only full contact tackle football organization in the United States," will officially kick off play May 23 at West Jordan's Mountain Shadows Elementary.
“My friends were so excited to play football they said they couldn’t sleep the night before orientation,” said Samantha, who will participate alongside 50 other fifth- and sixth-grade girls from around the West Jordan area.
My friends were so excited to play football they said they couldn't sleep the night before orientation.
Instrumental in all of this has been Samantha's father, Brent Gordon, who joined with USA Football director of football development Samantha Rapoport and former Utah Jynx player Crystal Sacco to help found the unprecedented league.
“This league was created in response to a high demand from the girls to play the sport in a league of their own,” Sacco said. “It’s our hope that this league can serve as an inspiration and model for similar girls tackle football leagues across the nation.”
The UGTFL is comprised of four teams and will feature an 8-on-8 playing format. Each team will play a total of three games this year, and Brent Gordon is leaving the door open to expanding the season to eight or nine-games in 2016 if the right number of girls sign up to play.
“The best part was hearing from parents who approached me to tell me how grateful they were that we started this league,” Brent Gordon said. “Their daughters had been begging them to play tackle football, but parents were concerned about letting them play with the boys. That’s what this league is all about: fulfilling the dreams of girls who want to play football.” Alex Clark is a sports writing intern for KSL.com. He currently studies digital journalism at BYU. Email: email@example.com Twitter: alclark35