Thursday, May 15, 2008

For the Love of Football

If you’ve stopped by here in the past you’ve probably noticed IWFL coverage, particularly of the Southern California Breakers. Yesterday, Fat Louie’s Women’s Sports Blog pointed to a recent New York Times piece about the league. Finally, more coverage!

The article focuses on two of the women’s professional football leagues, the IWFL and the NWFA. (Mostly the IWFL New York Sharks) The NWFA was founded in 2000 by Catherine Masters, a lifelong athlete and sports lover. She ranked in table tennis and full-size tennis in the past and has worked in sports for decades. In 2000, she started the National Women’s Football Association with two teams in the South. Since then the league has expanded and has almost 40 clubs.

The IWFL was also founded in 2000 by a group of women and is the larger of the two. There are teams across the country and more expansions every year. While it would be ideal to have both leagues merge and become one, it doesn’t seem like this prospect could be a reality. It’s too bad, since there is always strength in numbers and more progress with unity. The IWFL is a non-profit organization and state on their website:

IWFL Mission
Enable women to play tackle football by supporting the member owners of the IWFL with a stable organization that can draw on and combine the resources of the IWFL to promote the women athletes who play football.

IWFL Vision
To create and promote a full tackle women's football league focused on creating a positive, safe and fun environment for the women who play football and a fun experience for the families coming out to watch them. The IWFL is a Women's Tackle Football league allowing all women the opportunity to play tackle football. The IWFL also allows women and men alike the opportunity to coach, manage and even own a sports team in order to further this opportunity for women athletes.

The IWFL is a nonprofit organization here solely for the success of the sport of women's tackle football. Our focus is on providing opportunities for women to play this great American sport while providing exciting and progressive entertainment for the public. This league was started with player safety, community service, honesty, and integrity in mind.

Of course, there are more struggles for players than whether or not these two leagues merge. The Times quotes the IWFL New York Sharks president, Andra Douglas, as saying:

“What we’d like is to earn a living at this,” she said. “Boys and men have no idea how lucky they are to have this just handed to them. It breaks my heart.”

Players in the league pay to play and teams sometimes find few sponsors. Some areas try for franchises and cannot get the players or capital to get off the ground. However, there are those who are working hard to get the word out. Women’s Football Talk covers both leagues and hosts a live radio show every Sunday at 3:00 pm PST. This is a comprehensive site and show that is in touch with what is going on in the leagues. The hosts interview coaches, players, and others that are involved in women’s football every week.

More young girls have the dream of playing football than anyone realizes. The excitement, camaraderie, and discipline…

If you’ve missed any Breakers articles they are listed here:

Breakers Report
Amanda Garcia (OL/DL) interview
Coach Bartley interview
Home Opener
Capo Valley “Home Opener”

The quality photos of the Breakers at the top of this post were provided by Eddie Perlas. Thank you Eddie!


Lindsay said...

That's really cool. I know there are a lot of young girls who would love to play football. Many young women my age probably would have or would still like to, but never gave it a shot because they were told they couldn't.
...this sorta makes me want to play.

Apryl DeLancey said...

There are teams everywhere and players ages range from 20-60...go for it!