Women’s full-contact football is joining other women’s sports leagues in the spotlight where there is lots of room. “There are extremely few opportunities for female athletes to apply their talents and compete in the sport they love after they leave high school and college,” laments Rich Daniel, General Manager of the D.C. Divas. “That’s what makes women’s tackle football so special. We are expanding possibilities for team competition and creating new career paths for women in sports.”
Organized in 2000, the D.C. Divas are one of the most successful teams in women’s tackle football. Entering their 14th season, they have built a record of 93-31, earned five straight division titles, and played in two national championship games. While participating in the National Women’s Football Association in 2006, they won the national championship after an undefeated season. In 2013, the D.C. Divas had eight players named to the 2013 WFA All-American Team.
“What I love about this team and this league right now is that it has a realness that hasn’t gotten lost in the hype of becoming a business,” says Daniel. “Our players have a level of personal commitment that is contagious. I’m inspired every day by the things they are willing to do physically, financially, and emotionally to excel in this game. These women are serious!”
The D.C. Divas are now a part of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA). Founded in 2009 with 36 teams, the league quickly grew to 63 teams across the United States and Mexico. The WFA now boasts that it has the best teams in North America playing under one umbrella.
“We call ourselves an alliance because we all work together to make this sport better every year,” says Jeff King who founded the WFA with his wife Lisa. “If teams are not successful, then the league will not succeed, so our goal is to dedicate all resources to empowering teams to be a success both on and off the field.”
When examining the discussion about women’s football, Daniel is pleased that it has moved beyond questions of should women play football. “The growing success and popularity of women’s football has elevated the conversation to issues involving raising the profile of the sport and planning for the future. With the league’s increased focus on international competition, we are progressing towards women’s full contact football becoming an Olympic sport,” says Daniel. “I think 2024 is possible and 2028 is very realistic.”
High-level international cooperation is already laying the groundwork for the Olympics. Last year, the International Federation of American Football held the second Women’s World Championship in Finland. Team USA, which had three D.C. Divas on their roster, won the gold medal. The next championship game is scheduled for 2017.
Meanwhile, the D.C. Divas must face a 2014 schedule full of the league’s toughest competition. “Just in our first two games, we are treating fans to playoff-level action between the very best teams in the league,” says Daniel. “It’s going to be an exciting season!”
To learn more about the D.C. Divas and women’s full-contact football, and to purchase game tickets, visit: www.DCDivas.com.