By Maddie Joiner
For the Opelika Observer
Auburn High has been on the hunt for its girl’s flag football head coach, and it found the answer in Alison Link. Link already works in the athletic department as a varsity softball assistant and will now coach flag football in the fall.
When the decision was made in April to make flag football a sanctioned sport, Link was immediately interested.
“When we first heard of it, me and a coworker of mine were super fired up about it and actually went to our AD and said, ‘Hey I think we’d really like to do this,’” Link said.
The athletic director expressed mutual interest and the school announced last Monday Link had the job.
In her new role, she will coach flag football in the fall while continuing her job as a varsity softball assistant in the spring.
Link has already been busy as head coach, setting up an interest meeting and summer workouts.
The meeting is set for June 29 at 6 p.m. in the AHS gym. Students interested in attending the meeting can fill out the Google form found on the AHS Athletics Twitter account @ACSAthleticDept.
Link said around 80 girls have already expressed interest in the team.
“With that meeting, we’re just going to talk about what we’ll do for the summer,” Link said. “We are just going to kind of have some open dates in July, to let the students come out and experience, hopefully, what practice would look like. We’re just going to kind of learn skills and go over the game and start learning the rules and things like that, just to see if they’re even interested, which I hope most of them will be.”
Tryouts for the team will be in August when students return to school. The team will consist of girls in grades 10-12 and the format will be 7v7.
Although Link is coming from a softball coaching position, she intends to carry over a lot of her coaching skills to flag football.
“Team sports all have a common thing,” Link said. “You’ve got to have the teamwork, the camaraderie, the friendships that develops. When you can develop trust in your players and the coaches and the staff, the X’s and O’s sometimes just take care of themselves after that.”
Although Link does not have a huge football background, she has been around college intramural leagues and taught it in PE.
“To me, it just looks like a fun sport,” she said. “I was just interested in seeing it develop and see it come to fruition.”
Ultimately, Link is most excited for this new journey because of the opportunity to provide female athletes with a way to play football.
“I think more opportunities for females is super important,” Link said. “Hopefully as this comes along, we can get the foundation this year. You know, can we start rec leagues? Can we get girls interested at a younger age? This gives them another outlet, another sport and, you know, girls love to watch football too. Most of them want to play.”
For more information on girl’s flag football at AHS or to sign up for the interest meeting, visit AHS Athletics website at auburnhightigers.org/.