Monday, June 2, 2008

5 Questions With A Football Coach

A few months back I had a conversation with Coach Anthony Bartley of the Southern California Breakers before the start of their season. This originally ran on the Taking Stuff Apart website.

Over the course of the season, I’ve had several conversations with Coach Bartley and have seen him in action both at practice and on the sidelines. One thing is for certain; he’s fiercely proud of his team and is also passionate about coaching. He’s very intense during the game, but always has a calm moment to give me a quote in the heat of the action.

1. How long have you been coaching football? Do you have playing experience yourself? Why did you decide to coach women?

I have been coaching football for 14 years now, off and on. Pretty much when I was not playing myself, I was coaching. My playing experience started in high school, went on to play in NFL Europe with the Frankfurt Galaxy in 1996, and later the German-American Football League Dilligen Steelhawks later that year in ‘96. After that, I played in the semi-pro level for 4 seasons, 2 with the Ventura County Cardinals, Long Beach Lions, and the Compton Jaguars. The reason why I decided to coach women is because I wanted to try something new, a chance to make history.

2. Are coaches in women's football mostly men? How many other women are involved behind the scenes?

I would have to say about 98% of the coaches at this level are men; some women are making the breakthrough to the coaching world. Most of the teams are owned by women.

3. How big do you think the market is in Southern California for women's football? What are you and the IWFL doing to bring people to the stands?

The market is huge! But the public needs to be made aware that women are playing football and are playing it well! We are trying to become more community oriented. This means really going out into the public and introducing ourselves and giving them an idea on how the game is played. The main thing is to let them know that the speed of the game is comparable to the men, but its women. A lot better than the WNBA, faster paced, and very hard hitting action. That is the reason why we love football so much.

4. Why do you think women's sports are not as popular as men's with spectators? What do you think will change that?

People don’t think that women can play the sport on a fast pace level as the men. I beg to differ! If they have an open mind and look at it on a smaller scale, they will be impressed. I have seen a lot of people change their views once they see a game live. The only way to change is to keep teaching the game of football the way it supposed to be played and spreading the word.

5. Where can fans get more information?

For the Breakers, they can refer to for all of our information.

You can also hear an interview with Coach Bartley here that was aired on Women’s Football Talk’s Radio Show.

I’ve been on the sideline for each of the Breakers’ home games this season and it has been one of the most exciting experiences of my sports writing life. The team is a team in every sense of the word’s meaning. When the players are performing well, they all celebrate. When someone drops a pass or misses a tackle, they all find a reason to praise and encourage their teammate regardless. There really is no shame in their game as it is obvious they all love what they are doing and have a strong respect and admiration for one another.


Lindsay said...

I enjoyed this post. I liked hearing about women's football from a coach's point of view. That's cool that you've gone to all the Breakers' home games. I looked for women's football teams and my area, and there aren't any within reasonable driving distance.

Apryl DeLancey said...

That's too bad Lindsay, it is a really great time! Maybe in the near future since there are expansion teams all of the time. I'll have more from the coach in the coming weeks and some video once I get my new camera to upload correctly.