The dedicated players on the Loudoun 10G girls' soccer team are scoring goals and touchdowns this spring.
Aiming to play a sport that would allow for team bonding and not interfere with their soccer schedule, a group of 10 girls decided to form a team and compete each Sunday in the local NFL Flag Football League.
As the only all-girls squad in the six-team coed league for fourth through sixth graders, the Saints earned victories in each of their first four games.
"These girls have been on the same [soccer] team for three years. I knew that they were fast and athletic, and I knew they would compete," said Saints coach John Engelberger, a former NFL player and All-American at Virginia Tech. "I just didn't know they would win four games because none of them had ever played football before."
Along with the enthusiasm of Saints players and parents, Engelberger said he's received an abundance of messages from family members requesting scores and information about the team's progress. The weekly game highlight videos are also a big draw.
The Saints have been a quick study in learning the game of flag football. Despite his knowledge of football after playing at the highest level, Engelberger noted his players have enjoyed the most success when abandoning his play calls.
"I'm calling a play saying 'this play is going to be open in the flat.' And [our quarterback] throws it right down the middle for a touchdown in the end zone," he said. "They are a great group of kids."
After completing the regular season with four wins compared to one loss, the Saints earned one of four spots in the league playoffs.
The Saints secured the No. 2 seed and will play the No. 3 seed in the semifinals June 6. The winning team advances to play the other semifinal winner in the championship game later that day.
"These girls are competitors and they want to win," Engelberger said.