Two Bears players are among the newest Global Flag Football Ambassadors who will amplify and support the long-term growth of the game worldwide, the NFL and the International Federation of American Football announced Tuesday.
Receiver Chase Claypool and practice squad defensive lineman Sammis Reyes are among the latest to join an all-star team of men and women, including current American and flag football players, legends, coaches and officials as ambassadors who will work together to further raise the profile and promote the unique values of one of the world's fastest-growing sports.
The Flag Football Ambassadors team – first announced ahead of the NFL's Kickoff Weekend earlier this year – supports the combined global efforts of the NFL and IFAF to increase awareness, interest and participation in flag football internationally and drive forward the development of the game.
"I'm honored to be a Global Flag Football Ambassador for the NFL," said Claypool, who was born and raised in British Columbia, Canada. "Growing the sport globally, especially in Canada, is something that has always been a goal of mine. Hopefully we see the sport continue to grow and it's a part of the Olympic Games in the near future, and maybe I can even participate!"
"I was born in Chile and grew up in a neighborhood where playing a sport like football is unimaginable," Reyes added. "People where I am from do not have the resources to buy all the equipment needed to play the game. However, I know there's tremendous talent there waiting to be seen. I am extremely honored to be an ambassador for flag football because I know it is a step forward for kids in neighborhoods like mine to get an opportunity to play the beautiful sport of football."
Earlier this season, the NFL announced the transformation of the Pro Bowl, renaming the event the Pro Bowl Games. Taking place in Las Vegas in 2023, the week-long celebration of player skills will feature a new format that spotlights flag football. In addition to the AFC vs. NFC flag games on Sunday, the Pro Bowl Games will integrate flag throughout the week, including the Play Football Opening Night and NFL FLAG Championships, which will feature the top girls' and boys' youth flag teams from across the country and around the world.
Currently played by men, women, boys and girls of all ages in more than 100 countries, flag football is poised for even greater expansion as the cornerstone of the NFL's domestic and international participation and development strategies. Momentum is growing behind the sport following its debut at The World Games in Birmingham, Ala., earlier this year with the IFAF preparing to launch the biggest-ever cycle of elite international flag competition, including full continental representation for the first time in 2023.