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Why This NFL Player Believes Filipinos Can Excel At Flag Football

Why Filipinos Can Excel at Flag Football, According to This NFL Player

Speed, agility, smarts — these are the biggest things a flag football player needs that Camryn Bynum sees among Filipino athletes.

American football has long held its own place in Philippine sports — albeit, just kept more relatively underground. But for the Filipinos who have gotten to know and love the sport, it’s one that they have fought to keep playing. ArenaBall Philippines, which was later named the Philippine Tackle Football League, was founded in 2009. This was later succeeded by the Philippine American Football League in 2016. However, due to a slowdown in operations during the pandemic, tackle football was pushed into the shadows for some time.

Though it would not remain this way. Instead, the community of passionate American football players in the Philippines have found a new way to keep the sport alive and well: flag football.

Flag football really started to take off in the Philippines in 2023, and currently, there are multiple teams and leagues around the country. The Manila Flag Football League (MFL) and Flag Football Philippines (FFP) are just two to name. On top of this, the country’s national team, Agila Pilipinas, has also been gaining more opportunities to play internationally and gain more recognition.

And not to mention how the flag football scene in the Philippines even got the attention of Filipino-American NFL professional Camryn Bynum.

The Minnesota Vikings player discovered flag football in the Philippines just last year and since then, he has become an integral part of the community. He’s become close friends with the local players and has hosted three training camps for Filipinos who want to learn more about the sport, a series he calls “Camp Beezy.”

His motivation for hosting these training camps and giving players the opportunity to learn and compete more is because, as he tells The GAME, he sees real potential for the athletes here in the Philippines.

Here’s why he thinks Filipinos can excel at flag football.

(Photo credit: Bynum Faith Foundation on Instagram)
Hard workers, smart players

As a professional in the NFL, Camryn Bynum has a deep understanding of American football, and based on his knowledge and experience in the game, he knows that Filipinos can be competitive at flag football — especially after getting to see the level of play here over the course of his three training camps.

“Thankfully, for flag football players, size isn’t the biggest thing,” Camryn shares. “In American Football, you need to be blessed with size, you need to be blessed with height, which is tough for us Filipinos, and I got blessed to be 6’1 and that’s rare for Filipinos to be that tall.

“So that’s the beauty of flag football. As Filipinos, it’s almost a plus that we’re smaller, quicker, and we’re hardworking. That’s what I see in this community.”

Given that flag football doesn’t require tackling like traditional American football, agility is a huge advantage for Filipino players. In addition, the sport also requires a high level of strategy, which is why in Camryn’s training camps, he always hosts lessons to help more players gain a deeper understanding of the game.

This may be a huge plus as to why many Filipinos, over the course of the last year, have been getting into it. Camryn, along with other longtime Filipino players, have expressed that they have all seen many first-timers and beginners getting into the sport, immersing in the community, and falling in love with it.

“Every time someone has tried it and given it a chance, they grow to love it. I don’t think anybody has gone on the football field and started playing flag football and said ‘This isn’t for me.’ I think every person who tries, falls in love with the game, and I see that every week when we’re training with someone new, and I continue see them weeks and months and years after that, and they end up becoming some of the best on the team, and seeing the success rate of enjoying football is pretty much 100%,” Camryn shares.

Right now, it’s just a matter of helping them reach the next level. And he believes this is something that can be done with the right work.

“Everyone can use what they’re given and maximize it by training, just being around the game, staying consistent with the work because, at the end of the day, you don’t have to be tall, you don’t have to be too fast, you can be quick, you can be smart.

“Those are things Filipinos are good at, and that’s all stuff you can do on your own. Learning the game, studying the game, and training on your own, and that’s how I know we’ll be in the Olympics one day.”

With flag football set to make its Olympic debut in 2028, this is yet another reason why Camryn has been motivated to help bring Filipino players to another level.

Banner image from Bynum Faith Foundation on Instagram.

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