Denver Broncos pick South Valley flag football team to travel to DC

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “We were selected by the Denver Broncos to go represent them in a special tournament in Washington, D.C.,” said James Martinez, a flag football coach. 

Martinez helped bring the NFL’s Youth Flag Football Program to New Mexico. In just two years, he says it’s grown to more than 700 players across 75 teams.

“A lot of the high schools and a lot of middle schools don’t offer the programs that they used to, they’re kind of dwindling down, so I think that’s really how, why the community really embraced us,” said Martinez.   

Martinez explained all of that in his application to take part in the NFL’s Youth Flag Football Summer Invitational, and was humbled when the Denver Broncos picked his team.

“Obviously, they could have chosen a Colorado-based team and New Mexico is in their market. I think they recognize that, and I think they liked the diversity on our team,” Martinez said.  

Martinez’s nine-person team includes several children from the South Valley.

“I think we’re gonna win it in D.C.. They’re gonna win in the NFL. We’re gonna win it this season and regular season,” said Andres Cisneros, a lifelong Broncos fan and flag football player.  

The team also includes two girls, and Martinez says they’re bringing the heat.

“Our girls are some of our best players, they can hang with the boys,” said Martinez.  

Martinez says the trip will be the players, and his first time visiting Washington D.C. and there’s a lot to be excited for.

“To be able to go see the Smithsonian and all the museums there, the monuments, It’s gonna be fun,” said Cooper Piña, a flag football player. 

 “I’ve never been to a tournament before. So it’s pretty exciting,” said Adalyn Huizar, another flag football player.  

But Martinez says he’s excited about what could happen back here in New Mexico.  

“I hope it just triggers like the sport growing here in New Mexico,” said Martinez. “I hope they see us represent in New Mexico. They see it as a good experience, and we continue to grow the sport and give his kids better opportunities here in New Mexico.” 

The team is flying out to Washington D.C. this Friday. The NFL is only covering two nights at a hotel for the tournament.

Team leaders are raising money to pay for a third, so the children have an extra day for sightseeing. 

If you want to pitch in the team has a GoFundMe Page set up.