KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Teams of women and girls from around the world are to meet for adrenaline-packed sporting events and activities Monday through Monday, Jan. 24-31, during the 30th annual Kelly McGillis Classic International Women’s & Girls’ Flag Football Championship. The highly anticipated event has scheduled pre- and post-tournament activities and three days of competition.
The global competition also features cultural events including acting workshops and performances guided by tournament namesake Kelly McGillis, the critically acclaimed actor/director and former Key West resident who starred in “Top Gun” and “Witness” among other films.
Diane Beruldsen, president and founder of the International Women’s Flag Football Association that presents the tournament, said she anticipated that the 2022 competition would feature teams from more international countries than ever before. As well as the United States, teams are expected from Morocco, Spain, Mexico, India, Jamaica, Honduras, El Salvador and Sweden.
“The Kelly McGillis Classic seeded women’s tackle, started the International Women’s Flag Football Association, set the pace for female flag football all over the world and is an organization run and operated by women,” said Beruldsen. “We use flag football to create leaders and unite females all over the world.”
The tournament brings together players ranging from 9 years old to seniors who compete in multiple divisions, develop their skills during flag football clinics and enjoy camaraderie during social activities. Attractions also are to include a beachside “meet and greet” with McGillis, a women’s speaker series, parties and tournament dinners.
Following three days of clinics and Key West activities for players, opening ceremonies are slated for 4:30-6p.m. Thursday, Jan. 27, at the Half Shell Raw Bar at 231 Margaret St.
Kelly’s Players Parade, planned just after the ceremonies, is to feature Grand Marshal McGillis and tournament teams proceeding through Key West’s seaport area and famed Duval Street. Players typically dress in team uniforms or costumes and carry their country or state flags or team banners.
The official registration party is to begin at 8 p.m. at Bourbon St. Pub, 724 Duval St.
Games are to kick off at 8 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Wicker Field Sports Complex on Flagler Avenue. The competition is to culminate Sunday in playoffs and the World Challenge Game X, the latter to be played at Tommy Roberts Stadium.
Awards are to be presented Sunday night at El Siboney, 5501 5th Ave. on Stock Island.
Viewing of all games and activities throughout the week, including clinics on how to play and officiate flag football, is open to the public free of charge. Event information: iwffa.com/kelly-mcgillis-classic-2022/