NFL Flag Football League on the East End

East End Athletics for all ages and abilities


Last season, as the first of its kind in the area, Ali Adlah, president and founder of East End Athletics, created a flag football league for children of all ages and skill levels. Teams included an all-girls, all-boys, and coed teams. Adlah also started a Superstar League for children with special needs and was able to integrate the players on the teams. 

East End Athletics Inc.  is now an established nonprofit sports charity organization.  It was founded in January 2023, hoping to provide opportunities for children of all ages and abilities, including children with special needs. The Superstar League, which is a free league, was created for athletes with special needs and also gives everyone an opportunity to play organized sports.

Adlah is also an occupational therapist, who has been practicing for over 20 years. His dream was to bring a different perspective to coaching, given his extensive training and practice in kinesiology.

This season, East End Athletics continues to bring the flag life experience to the East End of Long Island.

“Flag is still seen as nothing more than a recreational sport; however, outside of New York, flag football is life to many young and adult athletes,” said Adlah of the sport.

According to Adlah, EEA, which is now officially an NFL Flag Football League and affiliated with USA football, has learned that there are so many teams and leagues out there, playing pro and semi-pro flag football all over the country and world. Now, there are international leagues and domestic leagues that play year-round.

“The NFL has more recently taken more interest in flag football, especially at the girl varsity level in local school districts,” Adlah said. “I feel by the year 2025, flag football will be the most popular sport, passing lacrosse and soccer.”

Flag football, according to Adlah, allows players of all skill levels to have an even playing field and allow those players who feel “mediocre” to shine.

“I feel that with the help of NFL Flag, we could help pave the way for other organizations to start up flag football leagues and help grow this sport on Long Island,” he added.

EEA has successfully completed its first official season this past spring, and though he was only expecting 15 to 20 players to start the league, once registration was done, they had over 80 players signed up, including an all-girls team.

Now, the league has begun their summer league, where the focus is more on national tournaments. And, with the help of coach Brian Cunningham, the league is proud to say they have competed in their first official tournament at the UConn Cup, on July 15.

“We did not do as well as we had hoped; however, all the players and coaches came out of that tournament with a much greater desire to train harder and play in more tournaments,” Adlah said. “Needless to say, we learned so much from this experience and opportunity, learning that some of these teams have been playing flag together for years, and it shows.”

EEA, he said, will continue to practice on any field they are able to use. Adlah said the league continues their search to find and build a separate sports complex for flag football and all-girls sports.

Last month, Adlah attended the annual NFL Flag Football summit in Atlanta, Ga., a four-day conference, hoping to network and connect with other league organizers.

The league also continues to look for sponsors who will give children opportunities to play, regardless of their financial background. Current Platinum Level sponsors include Joe Colucci from East End Sign Design and Chris Barletta from Sand and Pebble construction management. Their sons, Jason Colucci and Jacob Barletta, are both on the EEA national travel team and both participated in the first tournament.

“We are always grateful to have sponsors at any level to assist with sponsorships for the opportunity to have every child play,” he said.

Other contributors include Adla Team real estate, Love Solar, Green Office solutions, Shirley Feed, East End Financial, The Artists Nest, Westhampton Plumbing and Heating Supply, Alicia’s Day Care, Neat and Complete Barbershop, and Bagels and Brunch. Each sponsor was able to provide a player with an opportunity to play and afford uniforms, flags, and other equipment needed to play in EEA’s flag football organization.

“We have faced many trials and tribulations; however, we continue to fight and push forward,” Adlah continued. “We want to work with all local organizations to build programs together, giving every child an opportunity to play in an NFL-sanctioned league. As the founder and owner of EEA, I am so proud of how far we have come in a short period of time and excited to see how far we can grow.”


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