Flag Plus Ingenuity

Rob Campana and Flag Plus Football Build New Community for Football Players in Montreal

Former Concordia Student, Rob Campana, took matters into his own hands and started Flag Plus Football 10 years ago. Now, the league boasts divisions with varying degrees of competitiveness. Photo Ryan Aridi

About 10 years ago, flag football had no home in Montreal. The ability for a casual fan to partake in a non-violent rendition of the game responsible for the patronage decline of Sunday church service was lacking and, in some cases, non-existent.

For most, like then 19-year old Rob Campana and his friends, the leagues of a decade ago weren’t accommodating for young athletes.

“There was nothing out there for the average football fan [in terms of flag football],” said Campana. “The leagues which were running were for an older crowd and operated as a closed good old boy network.”

As a first-year studying Applied Human Sciences at Concordia, Campana recognized that fulfilling this need could prove lucrative thanks to hard work and his business acumen.

A self-starter by nature, Campana took it upon himself to create his own flag football league that would go against the structure of the “good old boy networks” that dominated the Montreal flag football scene.

Fast forward 10 years later, Flag Plus Football is now celebrating its 10th anniversary. The league, which started as a small 18 team side job for Campana and his crew, has blossomed despite its ups and downs, including a failed expansion into Ottawa and Toronto.

The league is classified into 6 different divisions according to skill. The higher level divisions are filled with Canadian Interuniversity Sport and Canadian Football League talent that take to the league as a quasi conditioning stint to keep the mind sharp during the offseason.

Notable former and current Concordia Stingers whom have played in FPF include fifth-year defensive back Kris Robertson, linebacker Eric Noivo and star slotback Jamal Henry. Conversely, the lower divisions are usually reserved for first time players or recreational teams.

“The different leagues and the different caliber of players is really a big draw,” said Matthew Monat, a second-year player in the FPF. “Each division makes it accommodating for different players of all skill levels.”

Monat entered the league in 2013 as a fill-in on a division 4 team. After a tough season that saw his fill-in team struggle, the team disbanded and Monat, along with one other player from his former team, created a new team to compete in a lower division.

That team went on to win the division 6 title to which Monat, was named Finals MVP.

What sets FPF apart from other flag football leagues is the investment Campana has put into the league’s media department.

In fact, just having one is pretty unique in itself. The FPF posts weekly articles on games, podcasts, scouting reports, and video of the best game of the week.

These elements all work toward creating a recreational experience that transcends the sport itself. The FPF’s media department has a team of writers and media technicians working to supplement the FlagPlusFootball experience on and off the field.

“We really want to give our players something to entertain themselves during the week, and get them excited about the games” said Campana.

Campana who’s now 29, has returned to Concordia, and is currently in his final year of his MBA. Having learned from his previous failures, the skills he’s learning in JMSB class rooms will hopefully translate into more success down the road along with whatever opportunity he stands to score on.