Trailblazing Female Athletes Bring Flag Football to Oak Park

Lilian Everley, Writer

This fall, the school district gave its female athletes the opportunity some had been waiting for since their childhood.

 “I’ve always wanted to play football and being given the first opportunity to play in high school was a chance I wanted to take,” said junior Kaylee Coleman.

This chance came when the Kansas City Chiefs reached out to district athletic director Casey Vokolek to see if the NKC School District would be interested in running a two-game pilot.

When this was brought to the building athletic directors, they thought it was a great idea, so the Oak Park flag football pilot program was born.

Each school was allowed a 20-person roster which was easily filled by the schools. One main purpose of the pilot was to see how much interest there was in the program across the district.

Athletic director and head flag football coach Chad Valadez said, “I truly believe that the players, coaches, and district certainly created some awareness and a buzz of excitement for the program.”

Though the pilot may have been new to everyone, overall athletic experience was a help to the girls as they took on this venture with every girl on the roster playing at least one other sport for Oak Park. With these athletes already having a foundation in all things sports like discipline, responsibility, grit, and communication.

But this experience did not stop with the players. Assistant coach Angela Allen is an assistant basketball coach and Valadez has 18 years of football coaching experience, nine as a head coach. 

Valadez’s experience as a coach helped especially in strategizing, creating a practice plan with the very limited number of athletes, executing and making adjustments. But regardless of the skill, Valadez gave credit to the athletes and Allen for everything that they put in.

“They all picked up on the skills, strategy, and scheme at a level that was not only exciting for me to watch but also impressive to be around,” Valadez said.

Through all of the work and an unknown future for the program one thing was certain, these athletes set an example and showed younger female athletes in the NKC area that the possibilities are endless.

“I love being able to like stand out especially with this program and inspire other like young females to go out and try new things, and not be afraid to do it,” said senior Destiny Weber.

All photos courtesy of Christopher Harris, see more of his photos at