Tackling adversityThe team’s ultimate goal is to win championships
A new team in Everett is tackling adversity by paving a new role for women in what has become one of the fastest growing women’s sports: football.
Six years ago head coach and owner Billy Russo did not know women’s football existed. Now he leads 45 women of the Everett Reign into their inaugural season playing professional, 11-on-11, full-tackle, full-padded, NFL-style football.
“This team offers women a chance at playing a sport they don’t usually have an opportunity to play and brings awareness that women can play sports at a high level,” Russo said. “When you compare women to men it’s apples to oranges.”
Although these women have not had the same opportunities as their male counterparts, the roster includes athletes from a variety of backgrounds spanning from professional boxing to collegiate track, soccer and rugby.
“We believe playing football should be a right,” halfback Amy Selia said. “But with that right comes responsibility.”
Selia said female athletes face different responsibilities than males in the game of football.
“Most people don’t realize these women are the molds holding their families together,” Selia said. “They have to balance being a mom, wife and business woman to make time for the gym and practice to stay competitive at sports.
Russo said the women are not deterred by these challenges, but instead motivated to work harder.
“At times men take for granted their physical abilities and knowledge and just go through the motions,” Russo said. “Women work hard because they want to prove they can do it.”
The team’s ultimate goal is to win championships and Coach Russo has high hopes for the Everett Reign in a season that includes teams from Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City and Las Vegas.
“The women are picking up pretty quickly what we want them to accomplish off and on the field,” Russo said. “If we can play at a high game speed, whistle to whistle, we can be in the top of our division, if not the league.”
The Everett Reign is one of 62 teams from the United States and Mexico that comprise the Women’s Football Association (WFA), the fastest growing league in America.
Team athletic trainer Charles Miskel has been physically training the team since October to prepare for the strenuous requirements of football in the WFA.
"I've seen the determination of these women to be successful for the Reign and I'm excited of the growing interest for women's football in this community."
Russo said despite the conception of football as a male-sport, the team continuously builds support from the community. Several businesses have made donations to help prepare the women for their season that begins Saturday, March 2 at Everett Memorial Stadium.
“More people are jumping on board because there is nothing in this area that supports women’s professional sports and it makes people excited to get out their and put their name on it,” Russo said.
Although the Reign has not played any official games, the women have experienced how to play at a high level during their first scrimmage last year against a Tacoma team.
“At that moment, it came together for everybody,” Russo said. “We had a sense of what type of team we could put together and what level we could play at.”
About the Everett Reign
The Everett Reign is the premier woman's football team of Snohomish and Skagit counties and is based out of Everett, Wash. The Everett Reign plays NFL-style 11-on-11 tackle football against teams nationwide in the Women's Football Association (WFA).
For more information or to purchase tickets from the Everett Reign visit www.everettreign.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.