Nyad to give keynote at championship

Sitting on a hilltop watching a flag football game in 1978 started Diane Beruldsen’s love for the game. Beruldsen is the founder and president of International Women’s Flag Football Association and the 26th annual Kelly McGillis Classic football championship happening Jan. 23 through Jan. 30 in Key West.

With 20 teams of women and girls from around the world, and 10 local teams, Beruldsen traveled to local schools to recruit interested fourth and fifth graders for the event. In 2001, there were 48 teams.

“When I coach these girls, that’s when you see the magic happen,” she said. “I am particularly thankful to the local principals who let me come and make a presentation.”

The event is named for and endorsed by Kelly McGillis, the actress and former Key West resident who starred in “Top Gun” and “Witness.” Endurance swimmer Diana Nyad, who became the first person to swim from Cuba to the Keys without a shark cage, will deliver the event’s keynote address and serve as grand marshal of the parade on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 4:30 p.m. from La Te Da in Key West. Other speakers include historian Carol Wynne, a specialist on the heritage of indigenous women in the United States.

“We are a bunch of friends on the team,” said Big Pine Key team quarterback Sunisa Kuhn, 9. “I’ve watched my older brother play football for years, so it’s cool to learn more from Coach Diane. She’s a really good coach and really nice.”

Games begin Friday, Jan. 27 at 9 a.m. at the Wicker Field Sports Complex on Kennedy Drive. Styles of play are 8 on 8 (semi-contact), 7 on 7 and 5 on 5 (non-contact). The playoffs will be held Sunday evening against the top U.S. team and top international team. “We are a women’s organization first,” said Beruldsen. “We don’t care about winning or losing, it’s all about the fun.”

The tournament also features daily halftime games for players and spectators, an arm wrestling contest, a toilet paper relay, wheelbarrow and tandem bicycle races, nightly parties and Sunday awards events for girls’ and women’s teams. For the lineup, visit iwffa.com/kmc2017. 

Volunteers needed for Kelly McGillis Classic 

Girls & Women’s Flag Football Tournament

Coaches, officials, volunteers, and players can still sign up

Games are Jan. 27-29 in Key West

Contact: Diane at 305-896-8678



The girls’ Sugarloaf teams have been spending their Sundays on the practice field learning punts, throws, and running plays.

Girl’s Teams include:

  • Big Pine Girls Flag Football
  • Gerald Adams Ripley Believe it or Not
  • Girls and Boys – Sheriff’s Deputies
  • HOB – Faustos
  • Key Largo Maid in Paradise A
  • Key Largo Maid In Paradise B
  • Mexico Girls
  • Poinciana Blue Heaven
  • Sugarloaf Gary’s Plumbing
  • Sugarloaf Sunrise Rotary


Women’s Teams include:

  • KWHS Pribramsky CPA
  • Mexico Women
  • Latin Team
  • Boston Knockers
  • Blue Wave
  • St. Louis Mich Lite
  • Cat 5
  • Key West Women
  • Fairvilla Loose Women
  • Glad Tiding

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