Category: Why I Play Women’s Football

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Why I Play Football… and Why You Should Too: Adrienne Wilson

There’s a lot to learn in the world of women’s football. Why do we play? What are some of the fun things we do as football players? How is our sport evolving, and (honestly) where does it need to evolve more?

We took some time with one of our longest tenured vets, Adrienne Wilson, to find out the real answers to these questions and more. And since she’ll be returning for her 10th season at tryouts this Saturday, she’s the perfect candidate to ask.

It also doesn’t hurt that she’s earned All American and Team USA honors in the past as WR 😉

WHY DID YOU FIRST START PLAYING FOOTBALL… AND WHAT’s KEPT YOU PLAYING FOR 10 years?

“I first joined football after a teammate and friend from college said I should come watch one of her football games… I ended up trying out the next year and got hooked.

I keep playing because I love being involved in a sport where you’re constantly able to learn and get better, regardless of how many years you’ve played.”

 

Got any pre- or post-game rituals?

Pre-game rituals… Man, I think I’ve had a few over the years… I think I’ve cut them all out for the most part. Post-game ritual is a giant Negra Modelo at Azteca. That ritual works for a win or for a loss.

Adrienne-Wilson-GamedayIN YOUR opinion, what area has women’s football grown the most?

Recognition. More and more people are finding out that there are women’s leagues, even our fan page on Facebook has grown by quite a bit over the last few years.

What area does it need to grow more?

I’d say the consistency in the level of play. Too many divisions have 60 or more to 0 blowouts and that isn’t benefiting either side or women’s football in general.

What’s the hardest technique you’ve had to master as a wide receiver?

Getting in and out of breaks quickly. I thought I was pretty decent when I first started football until I really began watching my breaks on film. I wasn’t impressed, haha.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO ROOKIES THINKING ABOUT TRYING OUT?

Just go for it. Joining football was one of the best decisions I ever made.

TRYOUTS INFO

Tryouts are this Saturday at Cal Anderson Park in Seattle, WA, from 10 AM to 1 PM (but make sure you show up at least 15 minutes early!). You can find all tryouts info on our web page here. Make sure you register for tryouts- if you’re a rookie, tryouts cost $10 that you can pay online or in person with cash this Saturday.

In addition, feel free to ask questions and find more info on our Facebook event. Ask a question in the event page- chances are, a player or coach will answer you within 5 minutes.

Can’t wait to see you on the field this Saturday!

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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.

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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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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! 

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Why I Coach Women’s Pro Football: Phil Threet

WHY I COACH WOMEN’S PRO FOOTBALL: PHIL THREET

“People who work together will win, whether it be against complex football defenses, or the problems of modern society.” –Vince Lombardi, former NFL coach

Coaching. We all know it makes an impact, but just how big is that impact?

For the Majestics, it’s been all the difference this year; for some players like Vanessa Caskey, it’s partially why they chose to play for the Majestics. Our team currently has six coaches that all specialize in various positions.

This week, we wanted to talk with our quarterback and linebackers coach, Phil Threet. Phil is new to the Majestics this year, but has been coaching football for nearly 5 years now. Outside of coaching, he is currently pursuing his teaching degree while working in the Bellevue school district.

WHY DO YOU COACH Women’s pro FOOTBALL?

“I’m a firm believer in learning all areas of football. Women’s football has always intrigued me. It’s a new challenge. I adore the dynamic, the culture, and the family atmosphere. Being here has helped regain my smile.

majestic-women-football-team-huddleBut most of all it’s given me a chance to learn. I’ve learned so much about the sport in my short time here. It’s amazing to work with these women who take time out of their schedule to commit 100% to this sport and redefine the notion that anything the boys can do we can do.”

WHAT has coaching done for you?

“I grew up in Renton and saw a lot of rough things growing up. By the time I got older, I made a promise to myself that one day I was going to get out of here. Not by playing sports, but by coaching. Coaching has given me a great future- it’s been my career choice since I was young. And it’s given me, and more importantly my family, a better life.”

What’s your favorite quote?

“We will win, not immediately, but definitely.”

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Phil, we’re lucky to have you on our coaching staff. You’re already making your mark on our team, and we’re excited to see how you continue making an impact, both with us and with the rest of your coaching career.

SUPPORT Phil AND THE MAJESTICS

Our season opener is this Saturday on April 2 against the Everett Reign at Kent-Meridian High School.

2016 individual game tickets are now on sale! Ticket sales go directly to paying for players’ fees that cover field costs, refs, and the like.

To keep in touch, like us on Facebook or follow & tweet us @SeattleMajestic.

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Why I Play Women’s Football: Vanessa Caskey

Why I play women’s tackle football: Vanessa Caskey

Why do we play women’s pro football? We don’t get paid, we get hit hard, and we often practice in the rain and cold. So why play? And more specifically, why play for the Seattle Majestics?

For today’s blog post, we chatted with Vanessa Caskey, #48 wide receiver and 3-year veteran to the Women’s Football Alliance. In addition to dominating at WR, Vanessa is also an elementary school guidance counselor, volunteers as a women’s basketball coach at Lincoln High School, and coaches basketball at Jason Lee Middle School. She’s known as one of the kindest, most genuine players on our team, with incredible talent for catching the ball.

Why do you play football?

“I play football because I’m good at it, because I have fun doing it, and because I’ve always wanted to play since I was a little girl but never had the opportunity to. NOW the opportunity presents itself, and I’d be doing myself a disservice by not taking it. I don’t want there to be any regrets when my clock stops tickin’.”

What’s your favorite part about playing for the Majestics?

“I actually played against the Majestics my rookie season in the WFA. I can remember during warmups looking over to their side of the field and saying to myself “that’s the kind of football I want to play”. As the game proceeded, I was impressed by their organization, discipline, execution, and skill on the football field. And boy was their defense brutal.

Vanessa-Caskey-womens-pro-footballI knew that I too had the ability to play in that manner, but I needed to be in a place where my skills would be developed in that way. I wanted more; I wanted to really learn the proper mechanics of the positions I play.

So I decided after much consideration to transfer teams and play for the Majestics. Not only do I learn great technique at my positions, but I’m with an amazing group of women who bring positive energy to the field as well as their A-game. We all make each other better because we each want to be better and we’re out there fighting for spots, but we’re still teammates who encourage one another.”

What does football mean to you?

“Football has provided balance in my life. My spirit thrives off of being active and being a part of something that’s greater than myself. It gives me joy, it challenges me physically and mentally, and it allows me to release the energy of the day to let go and just BE.”

What’s your favorite quote?

“You fall, you rise, you make mistakes, you live, you learn. You’re human, not perfect. You’ve been hurt, but you’re alive. Think of what a precious privilege it is to be alive — to breathe, to think, to enjoy, and to chase the things you love. Sometimes there is sadness in our journey, but there is also lots of beauty. We must keep putting one foot in front of the other even when we hurt, for we will never know what is waiting for us just around the bend.”

Support Vanessa and the Majestics

Want to see Vanessa in action? Our season opener is on April 2 against the Everett Reign at French Field. 2016 season tickets are now on sale! Just fill out the form below. Ticket sales go directly to paying for players’ fees that cover field costs, refs, and the like.

To keep in touch, like us on Facebook or follow & tweet at us on Twitter, @SeattleMajestic.

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Why I Play Women’s Football: Holly Custis

WHY I PLAY women’s tackle football: #21 Holly Custis [LB] 

We had a chance to catch up with Holly Custis, one of our 2015 WFA All-American players who plays linebacker and gets more tackles than… well, just about anyone. In last season alone, Holly had 53 tackles, as well as 2 forced fumbles and 2 interceptions. Did we mention that Holly’s been a First Team All-American for every season she has played?

For her full-time job, Holly is a staffing coordinator for Allegiance Staffing in Tukwila, WA. She was recently featured in Sarah Centrella’s book Hustle Believe Receive, a book featuring 51 inspiring stories of people who believe that anyone, no matter where they come from, can change their life. Among those featured include NFL star running back Jonathan Stewart, NBA PF Anthony Tolliver, CEO Ryan Blair, Morgan Stanley executive director Kimberley Hatchett, and ours truly: Holly Custis, professional female football player.

Holly is perhaps one of our most inspiring players, as her Facebook page and blog so evidently show, and we are grateful to have her on our team.

WHY DO YOU PLAY FOOTBALL?

“I love to play football because it brings out a strength I didn’t know I had. There is also a direct correlation between effort and results. The feeling I get on the field is addicting. When I make a tackle it’s empowering. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that this team becomes your second family.

See what “results” Holly is talking about in her 2015 YouTube highlights video:

What is your favorite part about playing for the Majestics?

“It’s a historic program with a tradition of winning.” Can’t say we would argue with that! We’ve been around since 2002, with many division titles and wins under our belt. Read more about our history; we began as the Tacoma Majestics!

What has football done for you?

“It has truly changed my life in more ways I can count. I will eventually write a book to describe them. What I can say, in a nutshell, is that it has opened doors I would have never imagined, provided me with an outlet for personal growth, and has given me numerous hilarious stories.”

Where do you see the sport of women’s tackle football going?

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Holly Custis, Seattle Majestics Womens Tackle Football

“I see this sport eventually becoming bigger than theWNBA and other women’s sports. The athletes on the field are amazing. Each year it gets better. Each year, more young girls are playing across the world at their schools. Each year the international game is growing. My personal goal is to help blaze a path to make the trek for the younger generation that much easier.”

Support Holly and the seattle Majestics

Want to see Holly play in our season opener on April 2 vs. the Everett Reign? 2016 season tickets are now on sale! Just fill out the form below. You can also go to Holly’s page and pay for season tickets under her name, which will go directly to her player’s fees that cover field costs, refs, and the like. If you want to keep in touch, follow us and tweet at us on Twitter, @SeattleMajestic.

2016 Majestics Schedule
All games are played at French Field at Kent-Meridian High School: 10020 SE 256th St, Kent, WA 98030

Purchase your season tickets ($40) using the form below

 

Why I Play Women’s Football: McKenzie Tolliver

WHY I PLAY Women’s tackle football: #80 MCKENZIE TOLLIVER [TE, SS] 

We sat down with McKenzie Tolliver, who had 5 interceptions last year, 1 of which was a pick-six. McKenzie is also an asset manager/developer for GMD Development in Seattle, and a happily married mother of 2 kids. After talking with her and hearing what drives her to play football, we’re guessing she’s gotta be one of the coolest moms out there.

WHY DO YOU PLAY FOOTBALL?

I play football because I have longed to play football since I was a little girl. I also love the fulfillment of playing a sport predominately and notoriously played by men and being able to not only break gender stereotypes, but show that women can play football at a high level too. Whether its football or any other sport they want to play, I want to pave the way for young athletes by showing them that all they need to do is set their mind to WHATEVER they want to do in life not just athletically but in other facets of life, as well.

“The most important thing for me is being a role model to young girls in America and paving the way for young athletes by showing them that they can do WHATEVER they put their mind to…anything is possible.”

What is your favorite part about playing for the Majestics?

My favorite part about playing for the Majestics is being around a group of women who are all fierce competitors in their own way. I love being around a group of athletes who value character, dedication, and determination. In order to play women’s tackle football, you have to be fierce, competitive, and willing to step out of your comfort zone each and every day.

 

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McKenzie running after catching 1 of her 5 interceptions last season

 

What has football done for you?

Football has helped me achieve a great balance in my life while competing at a high level. It has helped me balance competitiveness, fitness, work, and being a mom, wife, and friend. The need to compete runs deep for me, and not having competition in my life makes me off-centered. It has also given me the opportunity to (again) compete in an area that many girls feel is impossible to compete in.

If you could speak in front of a group of middle school athletes, what would you say?

I would tell them that inner strength and growth really come from life’s struggles. Most people who have been given everything don’t understand true work ethic and aren’t incentivized to understand the real values of life. Remember that the ever so striving and hardworking excel in many ways. Character lays the foundation in the people we are destined to become. If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Never give up and never give in. Success is not measured simply by what you’ve accomplished, but what you’ve encountered and had the courage to overcome.

One of my favorite quotes is “whether you believe you can, or believe you can’t, you are right.” The power of the mind is an incredible power. Stay positive and stay focused. Don’t let obstacles get in the way of your dream. Use them as a resource on your path to achieving your dreams. And never give up because you will fail over and over again before you succeed.

Want to Support McKenzie and the Majestics this season?

2016 Season Tickets Are Now On Sale! Click the button below. You can also go to McKenzie’s page and pay for season tickets under her name, which will go directly to her player’s fees that cover field costs, refs, and the like. One thing’s for sure, you won’t want to miss McKenzie playing in the season opener on April 2 vs. the Everett Reign! Get your tickets now.

2016 Majestics Schedule
All games are played at French Field at Kent-Meridian High School: 10020 SE 256th St, Kent, WA 98030

Purchase your season tickets ($40) using the form below

 

 

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Why I Play Women’s Football: Mike Fortson

BE LIKE MIKE: #16 MIKE FORTSON [WR, SPECIAL TEAMS, SS] 

We had a chance to catch up with Mike Fortson, who works in construction for Amazon and is a Majestics leader in terms of speed and agility. When she’s not listening to “Watch Out” by 2 Chainz, she’s listening to “Here Comes the Boom” by Nelly to pump herself up. Mike gave us a glimpse into her story… and it hit the heart. She vulnerably describes what this team has done for her, and how it has changed her.

What has football done for you?

“Honestly football saved my life… I was going through hell when I started my first year on the team… I felt like my world was crumbling. But for 2 hours, 3 times a week during practice, I had something to focus on. Something that made me happy! I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for football and this team.”

What’s your favorite part about playing for the Majestics?mike

My favorite part about being a Majestics player is that we are a family! On and off the field. We stand together as one and look out for each other whenever help is needed. We don’t bicker or fight with each other- we lift each other up.

Why do you play football?

I play football because I’ve always thought that I would never be able to. A lot of people underestimate me and think that just because I’m small, that I’m weak. So I play to show how strong I am, and that I shouldn’t be taken for granted. I want them to know not to mess with me. And I also play just because I love the sport!

Check out Mike’s first WFA touchdown:

What is the best piece of advice you have for others struggling?

No matter how bad your situation may seem: Remember that there is someone that is going through much worse than you. Everyone’s Hell is different… So stay strong!

WANT TO PLAY LIKE MIKE AND OTHER INSPIRING WOMEN?

Join the Majestics. Push yourself to a new level and be a part of a tight-knit family of women trying to break down gender barriers while playing a sport they love. Be Like Mike.  Come to Training Camp on January 23 at Kent-Meridian High School by signing up in the form below.

Register for camp and pay the registration fee using the form below.

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Why I Play Women’s Football: Melissa Castor

Why I Play Women’s Tackle Football: #4 Melissa Castor [LB,K,WR]

Yesterday, we sat down with Linebacker Melissa Castor and talked about all things football, but especially what football has done for her life. It’s amazing how inspiring all of our players are, and how dedicated they are to empowering women everywhere. Yet each player, especially Melissa, is one of a kind.

What has football done for you?

Football has shown me that the stereotypes perpetuated about female athletes carry no weight. This sport has allowed me to be part of history and break down barriers for the next generation.

What’s your favorite part of playing for the Majestics?

I’ve always valued being part of teams that value character and sportsmanship. The Majestics represent something bigger than the individuals that play on the team and I’m proud to stand for that.

melissa-castor-seattle-majesticsWhy do you play football?

I grew up playing sports, but I was always too aggressive because I was bored with the low-contact level. Football has allowed me to challenge myself, physically and mentally, to be a better athlete overall, and learn what it means to take hits and keep moving forward. Northing beats putting on those pads and going into battle with your squad!

What quote inspires you?

You will never be great until you learn to fight through adversity.

In life and sport you will always face challenges and our ability to rise up and overcome them determines our growth.

Workout with Melissa & The Majestics

When Melissa isn’t on the field, she’s a personal trainer. If you want to workout with Melissa, come to our Football-Themed Bootcamp Workout, led by #4 herself. The bootcamp is on January 23, 2015 and you can register and pay via filling out the form below.

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You can also support Melissa Castor or any player by purchasing Season Tickets in a player’s name, or towards the whole team. Season Ticket proceeds go directly to player fees, which cover field rentals, uniforms, referees, travel, and more.