Dani-DeGroot-Quarterback-Seattle-Majestics

Dani DeGroot: An Australian’s Take on Playing American Women’s Football

This year we invited an Australian football player, Dani DeGroot, to come play football with us here in Seattle.

Dani (#3 if you’re watching tomorrow’s game) plays quarterback and is great at moving around in the pocket & running with the ball.

When asking our head coach, Scott McCarron, about Dani, he told us this:

“Dani’s really impressive with the mental side of the game. I don’t have to describe why we are doing something offensively or what we’re trying to do. She could tell me right away what the concept of a play was, and I haven’t had that in a player yet.”

As an organization, we are striving to give more international players the opportunity to come play football here in the US.

We’re so happy we were able to make that happen this year for Dani.

Check out our 1 on 1 interview with Dani below… talking American football, Australian beers, and more.

WHAT ARE THE CORE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN FOOTBALL IN AUSTRALIA AND FOOTBALL IN THE US?

“One of the biggest differences is the experience and knowledge of all the players & coaching staff. You can really tell when you’re out there at practice or in a game.

Dani-DeGroot-and-head-coach-womens-footballFrom everyone’s reaction times being quicker in picking up plays during a rep… to the pace and confidence of what they do, everything is 10 steps above back home.

And just the amount of knowledge the coaches hold and share is incredible.”

WHAT’S IT BEEN LIKE LIVING IN SEATTLE (BOTH THE GOOD AND THE BAD)?

It’s been great! I’ve felt very welcomed as soon as I got here from the team and the amazing family that has opened their home to me. Seattle is a great city with amazing surroundings.Dani-at-football-game-with-friends

I love driving around on a clear day and seeing the mountains topped with snow, especially Mount Rainier in the distance!

If I had to say something that’s been not so great, it would only be that the rain seemed to stay longer this year.

WHY DO YOU PLAY FOOTBALL?

I play women’s football because it gives me a feeling that no other sport has. It’s such a physical and mental game that challenges me every time I step on the field in practice and games.

I love being able to say, “Yes, I’m a female that plays tackle football.”Dani-DeGroot-rushing-in-pocket-quarterback

JUST TO CLEAR IT UP, DO YOU ALL DRINK FOSTERS IN AUSTRALIA?

Not really, if you want to have a known Australia beer, you have to go with a VB (Victorian Bitter).

SEE DANI AND THE MAJESTICS AT TOMORROW’S GAME

Support Dani by watching the game tomorrow at French Field at 6 PM. You can find all the game info & buy tickets by visiting our Facebook event.

Remember, we can’t spread awareness of our team and mission without you. So invite your friends and share the event on Facebook.

And if you’re rooting for us in Australia, we’re excited to give you shoutouts from our Facebook Live tomorrow! Visit our Facebook page around 6 PM to tune in.

As always, wish us good luck! And go Majestics.

To learn more about the Seattle Majestics, sign up for our monthly newsletter.

lj-jennings-seattle-majestics

Why I Coach Women’s Tackle Football: LJ Jennings

We get questions all the time about our coaching staff. Who are they? How do they get involved? Why do they coach women’s football? Do they get paid?

All of our coaches are volunteers. They dedicate anywhere from 10 to 25 hours a week helping players grow, coaching them, watching film, organizing depth charts, and in many cases, volunteering at team events as well.

We took the time to sit down with one of our coaches in particular, LJ Jennings. LJ is the defensive coordinator and primary defensive backs coach. He also acts as our running backs coach as well.

Here’s what LJ has to say about his experience with the Majestics.

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WHY DO YOU COACH WOMEN’S TACKLE FOOTBALL?

“I love the idea of coaching people who may be brand new to the sport and watching them grow. It’s so refreshing to meet players that are so hungry too learn about the game.

They’re always looking for ways to get better and improve. With men, a lot of times it become monotonous and the passion isn’t there. Here they wanna play- it’s a lot of fun.”

What makes a good football player?

Coaches-Womens-Football

“Someone who is coachable (humble), pushes themselves, and demands the players around them to do the same.

You want players who self-motivate. If you have players like that with a motor to play, you’ll always have a chance.”

What inspires you to do better and better every day?

“The players inspire me to do better. I wanna be able to help them where I can and watch them succeed. When you have players that really want to learn, it’s infectious and gives you energy.”

Interested in coaching or volunteering with the Majestics?

Fill out our contact form or send an email to our head coach, Scott McCarron, at scott@theseattlemajestics.com.
Come out to the game this Saturday, May 27, 2017 and watch us in action! After the game, you can talk to the players and coaches more about playing or coaching for the Majestics.
Ashley-McCray-Why-I-Play-Womens-Tackle-Football

Why I Play Women’s Tackle Football: Ashley McCray

Why do we give up to 20 hours a week in addition to our regular jobs and family lives to play a sport we don’t get paid to play?

Why do we risk injury, give up hours of sleep, give up our lives, to dig our hands into the dirt and play tackle football?

WR & DB Ashley McCray, 2-year veteran of the Majestics and a registered nurse at Seattle Children’s Hospital in the Emergency Department, articulates it better than just about anyone.

ASHLEY, WHY DO YOU PLAY TACKLE FOOTBALL?

3 things: drive, passion and a sense of belonging. Football not only challenges me physically, but mentally and emotionally.

It continuously pushes me to be positive and to take care of my body and mind.

I am inspired and driven to become more than just a better athlete, but also a better teammate, friend, and family member.WR-Ashley-McCray-and-Majestics-at-Pride-Parade

Being a football player, has given me a passion that is set apart from other things I have done in life. It provides a constant rush and lights a fire within me to push harder and be better each time I step on the field.

“The field feels like home. The team is my family and I really feel like this is where I belong.”

WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO BE THE BEST YOU?

Aside from football, I would say just my own personal progress in life inspires me to do better and better every day.

WR-Ashley-McCray-receiver-catchI’ve become healthier. I have established amazing relationships and even strengthened existing ones.

Also, just seeing how the women’s football league has progressed and made waves is motivating.

When I tell younger athletes or even adults that I play, most of the reactions I receive are incredible. They admire the fact that women suit up and hit and play like the men do.

Also, knowing we are role models for the younger girls who aspire to play, is moving and inspiring in itself.

OUT OF ALL THE POSITIONS YOU PLAY, WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE AND WHY?

I would say it’s a tie between Safety and Special teams. Both can be huge in changing a game and shifting the momentum. It keeps everyone fired up when these things happen and it feels amazing.

WHO’S YOUR FAVORITE PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE?

Troy Polamalu. On and off the field, he is classy and a great role model. Unfortunately he is retired, but he was so much fun to watch on the field.

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Photo credit: fansided.com

He was fast, hard hitting, and all over the place making crazy, big plays! There’s a funny saying I saw on the internet about him that explains it perfectly “They say 70% of Earth is covered by water and the other 30% is covered by Polamalu.

SUPPORT ASHLEY & HER FOOTBALL FAMILY

Come out to our last regular season home game against the Everett Reign on May 27 at 6 PM! You can get tickets at the gate or online right here.

As a women’s football team, we rely on fans like you to invite as many of your friends as you can to come out and support our team. We need you, Seattle!

If you’d like to hear more of these player stories or receive our monthly newsletter, subscribe to our email list here.

Can’t wait to see you on 5/27!

Until next time, Majestics fans.

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AJ-with-daughter-womens-football-and-mom

Single Mom Dominates At Life… And At Women’s Tackle Football

SINGLE MOM ASHLEY JOHNSON TALKS FOOTBALL, PARENTING, HER STRUGGLES, AND MORE

One of our hardest working players on the field is Ashley Johnson.Ashley-Johnson-supermom-and-womens-tackle-football

Ashley is a single mom of a 12-year-old daughter, a sales rep full-time at Comcast, and a running back for the WFA here on your Seattle Majestics.

If that’s not a superhuman, we don’t know what is.

We sat down with Ashley to find out why she plays, what struggles she’s been through, and how she balances all of her obligations while still striving for excellence on the field.

This is her story.

ASHLEY, WHY DO YOU PLAY FOOTBALL?

I play football because there’s always room for improvement internally and externally.

This is my first sport as an athlete, so I want to go over and beyond and be limitless in my abilities.

I’m always learning, I’m always growing, and I love that aspect. That’s why I stay on the team, that’s why I keep doing what I do.

WHAT MOTIVATES YOU TO DO YOUR BEST ON THE FIELD?

Definitely my daughter. She watches everything I do.

I’m a single mom, so I try to do my best to show my daughter that she can do anything she wants to do.

Ashley-Johnson-womens-football-player-with-daughterShe always talks about how happy and proud she is of me, so I get to say it back to her and it’s amazing.

I have a great support system, she’s the biggest one… & that’s all I need.

WHO’S YOUR BIGGEST ROLE MODEL?

Adrian Peterson, hands down. I wanna run like him someday, that’s why I wear the number 28.

WHAT’S THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE YOU’VE OVERCOME?

I would definitely say football, in general. I feel like there’s a lot of things in my life I’ve struggled with… Even being a mom, just working so much and trying to do this… and just having a stable financial life for me and my daughter.

When it comes down to football though, just mentally programming my mind to be confident has been key.

Ashley-Johnson-Breaking-Tackle-RunningYou can get out here and make mistakes, but if you have high standards for yourself, that can really take a toll on you.

And mental obstacles are way harder than the physical ones.

But I just try to work at it and really think about the words I’m saying to myself and reprogramming my mind.

I think that’s really helped me to overcome a lot of obstacles and improve as a player.

I still haven’t met my limit… There’s still something new that I’ll have to overcome… but I’m just motivated every time that I get to go through that and become better.

SUPPORT ASHLEY AND THE MAJESTICS

Watch Ashley dominate on the field at any of our home games this season: Saturday 4/22, Saturday 4/28, or Saturday 5/27.

You can buy tickets here and can also find more game info for our 4/22 game on the Facebook event page. Help us spread the word and invite your friends & family.

INSPIRED BY ASHLEY?

Share this story on Facebook and Twitter! We’re trying to help the world learn & be motivated by the amazing individuals that play women’s tackle football.

Get in contact with Colleen Thom at colleen@theseattlemajestics.com to request Ashley for an interview.

Signup for our monthly newsletter for stories, player highlights, videos, game recaps, and more. 

HEAR WHAT OUR TEAM HAS TO SAY ABOUT ASHLEY:

Why I Play Women’s Tackle Football: DE Elisha Edlen

We took a few moments to talk with an incredible athlete on our team, Elisha Edlen. Elisha has been with the Majestics for 6 years now, and plays defensive end & running back.

If you ever join us for practice, you’ll spot her from afar doing ladder & footwork drills in a ninja turtle themed tee almost an hour before practice even begins. She’s a natural talent on our team, and incredibly passionate about the game of football.

We wanted you to hear directly from Elisha on why she loves the game.

Elisha, why do you play women’s tackle football?

I play football to show that women can play a male-dominated sport and play it at the highest level with the same intensity.

I play because when I was younger I was told I couldn’t play because I was girl.

I play because suiting up and stepping onto the football field makes me feel alive and is the biggest adrenaline rush I’ve ever felt.

And most of all, I play because I love this game!

The competitiveness, the aggression, the physicality, the camaraderie, the passion, the drive, the commitment, the constant grind — this game has shown me discipline and keeps me grounded.

IF YOU COULD HAVE ANYONE WATCH YOU PLAY, WHO WOULD IT BE?

If I could have anyone come watch me play it would be my grandpa. I lost my grandpa very suddenly a little over a year ago and would give anything for him to be at one more game.DE-Elisha-Edlen-female-with-grandpa

The games he was at he said he loved watching the running backs. Running back is my secondary position, but he was never able to see me run the ball.

Why did you pick your number?

Well, I grew up repping number 10, but during my rookie year, three or four other people wanted the number “10” also. The number “4” was my second choice, but because of my position I wasn’t able to have “4,” so I added another “4” and landed on “44”.

Do you prefer offense or defense?

I like playing running back and there’s definitely certain finesse to it, but my passion is in playing defensive end. Defense is all about reading and reacting, it’s all instincts.

You have seconds to read the formation and then calculate the odds of what play they’re gonna run out of said formation.

Then you have a fraction of a second to read how the offensive lineman in front of you is blocking and react accordingly. Plus… I get to hit people.

SUPPORT ELISHA AND THE MAJESTICS

We’re sure you can see the heart and passion that Elisha brings to the team, and we hope you’ll come out to see her and the Majestics play at our first home opener on April 8 at French Field in Kent, WA.

You can buy season tickets here (4 tickets for $40) or single game tickets ($12 each) here.

Can’t make it to the first game but still want to help? We are actively accepting sponsors and donations at any time online.

Want to hear more from the Majestics? Share this story online and follow us on Facebook & Twitter. You can also sign up to receive our monthly newsletter

Womens-National-Team-McKenzie-Tolliver

McKenzie Tolliver Makes USA Football Women’s National Team

Update: You can now support McKenzie Tolliver in representing the United States in women’s tackle football in Canada this year. Donate Now!

Majestics fans, we have some exciting news! One of our defensive backs, McKenzie Tolliver, made the USA Football Women’s National Team.

The team consists of 45 players nationwide that will compete against teams of countries around the world in the Women’s World Championship.

The championship takes place in Canada this year, and we couldn’t be more honored to have one of our own make the team.

So let’s talk to McKenzie, a receiver, safety, and mom of 2, that is coming up on her 3rd year playing for the WFA and your Majestics.

Why did you want to try out for Team USA?

I wanted to challenge myself and see if I was capable of playing at the national level. I love to compete and love being around elite athletes.

What have you done over the years to prepare for tryouts for team USA?

Since I am only starting my third season, I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect and prepare for. I tried to compare training and competing in my other sports over the years as a guide.
I was very diligent about working out and getting in shape off season by doing cardio, strength, field and agility work.

 

The most important thing I focused on was knowledge of the game so I could be prepared mentally for whatever defense strategy, schemes and ideas were thrown at me. My coaches and teammates helped me significantly in preparation and have always been very knowledgeable and supportive.

Were you nervous during tryouts?

I definitely had good nervous energy at tryouts. I have been able to teach myself through competing several years at the national level in other sports to use my adrenaline and nervous energy to my advantage.

 

It’s also very important to understand that when you walk onto the field for tryouts, you can only control the here and now. All the work is done at that point, so you have to trust yourself and the work you have put in, let go and just play ball.

You were a D1 athlete in college for swimming. Why football?

I have always wanted to play football.. It has always been my “true love” in sports.

 

WWFG-DBs-Julia-McComas-McKenzie-Tolliver
I started swimming when I was 8 years old and happened to be good at it, so that was the sport that I pursued. The difficulty with swimming is that you don’t have much time for other sports, as we train morning and night 5-6 days a week, all year long.

 

Once I graduated from WSU and had my children, I realized that it was time to start competing again and it worked out perfectly that there was a high level women’s football league. I enjoyed swimming and playing soccer, but have never loved those sports the way I do football.

 

What other athletic goals do you have for the future?

My goal with football was to make team USA. I would also like to win a championship title with the Majestics. Once I am done playing football in the next few years, I would like to do cross fit and work my way up to compete on a high level as well.

 

In the next 10 years, by the time I am 40, I would like to complete an ironman, a marathon and compete in Master’s Nationals as a swimmer.

 

What do you do in your free time?

For hobbies, I like to play and watch sports. I also like to travel, read, and spend time with my kids, family & friends. I love doing art and DIY projects (especially during the holidays) too.

 

OTHER Fun Facts about McKenzie:

  • Born and Raised in Billings, MT
  • Works as a regional property manager specializing in low income & affordable housing
    McKenzie-defensive-back-and-kids-family
    McKenzie with husband and 2 children
  • Married with two kids, Asher (4 yrs old) and Aaliyah (5 yrs old)
  • How she gives back: volunteers with several non-profit agencies to house homeless families
  • Sports played: swimming, soccer, and dance for 10 years (tap & hip-hop)
  • Started swimming on the national level at 12; won various regional gold medals in various events as an age group swimmer (ages 10-18).
  • Holds several state records in Montana for swimming in multiple age groups
  • On all-time top 10 list at Washington State University for several swimming events

 

Want to support McKenzie and the Majestics?

You can support McKenzie and help her get to Canada by donating here to her crowdfunding campaign!
You can purchase season tickets today right here. In addition, please share this feature on McKenzie to support both her and her teammates. To have a player on Team USA is an incredible honor, and we want the world to know about it.
Until next time, Go Majestics!
To hear more about the Majestics, sign up to get our monthly newsletter, and follow us on Facebook and Twitter

voice-of-the-majesties

Welcome Our New Voice of the Majestics: Alan LaPine!

We’d like to introduce you this year to our new announcer and the Voice of the Majestics, Alan LaPine! Alan brings a wealth of experience as a professional voice actor and coach for both baseball and football locally. He was also the announcer for the Renton Rangers Jr. football program.

So Alan, why the Majestics?football-announcer-studio-pic

For the love of the game. Listening to Dave Niehaus (Ms), Bob Rondo (Dawgs), or Pete Gross (Hawks) as a kid growing up, those were my idols as much as the players of the time. They expressed the passion and the comradery the players had for their sport but more importantly, one another. A team is a family and I’m honored to be a part of the Majestics family. Together, one voice is hard to be overheard, and I’m thankful the Majestics will let me be theirs. And I will continue to shout from mountain tops about this fantastic organization, this wonderful team and, this amazing league.

What are you most looking forward to this season?football-announcer-studio-pic

If I had to select one thing I would say it’s watching these players fly around the field. I have been out to a couple of practices so far and this team is really quick. From interior line to skill positions; this teams speed is amazing. Aside from that, I most look forward to getting to know everyone. Players, staff, friends and family alike.

Want to get in touch with Alan?

You can reach Alan at AlanLaPine@MasterfulVoices.com or by visiting his website.

WFA-All-Americans

2016 Seattle Majestics All-Americans

Recently the Women’s Football Alliance published the 2016 All-Americans for the league, and sure enough, we have 10 (you heard that right, ten!) players that were honored on First and Second Teams.

Players on First Team include: RB Kiki Williams, TE McKenzie Tolliver, DE Elisha Edlen, DT Kase Tukutau, and LB Kaihla Koroshes.

Kiki-Williams-All-American-WFA-womens-football
Kiki Williams was one of 10 Majestics players named a 2016 WFA All-American

On the Second Team, the players include: OT Emi Kanetaka, OT Jessie Brown, LB April Arnold, SS Mike Fortson, and K Melissa Castor.

We are so proud of our players, and of all of the WFA All-American players in the league that have been recognized. Congrats to all!

Wanna see our WFA All-Americans in action?

Come to the biggest game of the season this Saturday against the Portland Fighting Shockwave. The game is at 6 PM at Kent-Meridian High School. Buy tickets here, or pay at the gate the day of the game when you walk in ($12).

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Seattle Majestics Help Girl Scouts Earn Play Fair Badge

A week and a half ago, your Seattle Majestics Women’s Pro Tackle Football Team helped Girl Scouts Brownie Troop #44234 in earning their Play Fair Badge.

The team spent an hour with 9-year-old Brownies going through drills and plays to teach the girls what “playing fair” entails and the components of being respected in sports.

“The practice not only tested their athletic ability but also showed them how you rely on your teammates to achieve your ultimate goal,” said the Brownie Troop Leader, Cheryl Clayton. “It’s definitely an experience that these girls will remember and talk about for many, many years.” 

Here’s a quick video snippet of the girls doing a few drills, as well as some pictures:

Interested in doing community outreach with the majestics?

Send us an email, and we’ll be in touch! You can also message us on Facebook, or come to our next home game on June 4th and talk to one of our staff there.