Kansas City women football players want girls to know the sport is ‘meant for everyone’ | KCUR 89.3

Robert Hundley

When she’s not at her work with the Kansas Town Chiefs, Sheila Sickau is huge receiver and kicker for Kansas City Glory, a women’s deal with football group.

Football is not new for Sickau like it is for a large amount of her teammates. She started enjoying in superior university, when she was the only woman on the team. Sickau didn’t enjoy with boys due to the fact she wanted to — she performed with them for the reason that it was the only choice she experienced and she loved the game.

In the long term, Sickau claimed, there should really be all-woman soccer teams for superior schoolers.

“A large amount of girls will not automatically want to perform on the men’s team,” explained Sickau. “It’s just the only factor which is provided for them. If you can get a superior school workforce of all ladies participating in, it is really going to get started with flag to start with, gain that fascination and then it’s going to just commence evolving.”

Soon after large faculty, Sickau thought her soccer times have been more than. She went to college and ran observe, but football was continue to her passion. In 2014, Sickau was operating as a special training teacher in Knoxville, Tennessee. The principal instructed her about women’s soccer teams, and she was enthusiastic to hear that these kinds of a detail existed. She attempted out for the Knoxville Lightning and made it. Because then, she hasn’t seemed back again.

Carlos Moreno

Sheila Sickau watches some of the women on the discipline.

Soccer was existence-switching for Sickau, who went on to get a master’s degree in sports administration and then took an internship with the Chiefs, which led her to Kansas Town and the Glory, which she now refers to as loved ones. Sickau is effective full time for the Chiefs as a company administration agent, and has connected the Chiefs and the Glory.

Sickau explained ladies are beginning to be released to the activity and choose desire in it previously, which she thinks will guide to more women pursuing soccer as a vocation.

“Girls need to know that they are capable of just about anything and they have the identical alternatives,” stated Sickau. “It’s last but not least starting off to steamroll with flag and acquiring the ball in their arms, finding them running drills, just the IQ and information, the language of soccer. It can be turning out to be a lot more typical with young ladies and they want to do it. They are setting up to see it on Tv set with the wonderful girls in the NFL and positions. And if they see it, they can be it.”

Sickau suggests that the match teaches good values and sportspersonship no subject the player’s gender.

“Flag is the foundation to truly any other activity, like compare it to basketball. You’re however working together as a workforce, it really is nevertheless agility,” explained Sickau. “You’re nevertheless on offense and defense mastering that idea of working together as a unit. It can be the foundation of a activity. It truly is just a distinctive ball in their palms. You shouldn’t be fearful of that.”

Deal with football, on the other hand, enables a whole lot much more physique diversity amid players, Sickau stated, incorporating that ladies should have the likelihood to participate in deal with, as well.

“The magnificence of soccer is there is a role place for absolutely everyone — each entire body kind is desired. The vast receivers, quarterbacks, jogging backs are not able to do anything at all with no your o-line. And that o-line, ordinarily people types of women discover it challenging in other sports activities to be as effective as they are in soccer,” she reported. “So all people has a location. Everybody has a function. You are just as meaningful as the individual next to you. And ladies are unable to obtain that in a good deal of other sporting activities.”

Females 18 and more mature (or youthful, if they have a waiver from their moms and dads) have a chance to take part in deal with football throughout team tryouts for the Kansas Town Glory on Nov. 6.

KeKe Blackmon, the team’s head mentor, claimed no prior encounter is essential for tryouts. Several ladies on the workforce experienced never ever played football just before joining, she reported.

“We’ll carry their football IQ up a notch and they’ll learn a ton from us,” Blackmon said of folks who tryout. “As much as tackling, it is really a quite risk-free activity due to the fact we make it that way.”

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Carlos Moreno

KeKe Blackmon at flag soccer boot camp for girls on Oct. 17, 2021.

Blackmon is immensely proud of the girls she coaches, but humble about her possess achievements in the game. She’s performed competitive soccer for 11 seasons, and in addition to coaching for the Glory, Blackmon coaches freshmen boys at Olathe East Higher College.

She started out taking part in tackle football in 2008 with the Kansas Town Tribe and grew to become workforce captain the next 12 months. Among many other awards and distinctions, Blackmon became a United states gold medalist when, as group captain, she led the Dallas Diamonds to victory in the 2013 IFAF Women’s Globe Championship. Through all those decades, Blackmon fulfilled Jen Welter, the 1st female coach in the NFL.

Previously this month, Blackmon, Welter and players on the Kansas Town Glory hosted a flag soccer camp at Legends Discipline for ladies ages 6-18. It was an extension of Welter’s Grrridiron Ladies nationwide tour of flag boot camps for girls.

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Carlos Moreno

KeKe Blackmon coaches contributors in flag soccer boot camp for ladies at Legends Park on Oct. 17, 2021.

Like Sickau, Blackmon also lacked soccer possibilities as a younger woman, which is one of the reasons all those boot camps and coaching imply so considerably to her.

“It implies every thing to see what we have accomplished manifest by itself into tiny people and younger ladies that really want to play this sport and to increase it the way that we have,” stated Blackmon. “It will make me really feel so great.”

Blackmon mentioned she would enjoy to see flag soccer supplied for superior university girls due to the fact at this issue, they frequently only get to participate in aggressive football if they be a part of the boys’ group like Sickau did.

“We’re not attempting to get on the discipline with them,” Blackmon claimed of men’s teams. “At the very least I’m not. I am not coaching for (Kansas Town Glory) to get on the area with gentlemen, I’m coaching them to get on the discipline with every single other and clearly show that we have just as much brightness and just as substantially fortitude as gentlemen do in this game.”

Syreeta Gapelu, who will be playing defense when the Glory’s next year starts in the spring, explained her teammates have designed her sense empowered and aided her to be a better job product for her youngsters.

“We’re like a family members,” explained Gapelu. “I enjoy the match. I am a one mom and I am genuinely fast paced with my kids, with them participating in athletics. So for me to be energetic exterior of being concerned with my kids, it is really like therapy for me.”

Rocky Ray, defensive back for the Kansas Town Glory, was topped Rookie of the 12 months past year. Prior to becoming a member of the Glory, Ray experienced never ever performed football, but she watched her brothers engage in and had usually wished to.

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Carlos Moreno

Rocky Ray smiles as she watches young children find out to perform flag football.

“Sports are intended for all people,” claimed Ray. “For all the people today who grew up in these instances where this video game just isn’t for girls or what have you, just give them a chance. See what they’re like, since things aren’t the identical as they made use of to be. Girls are a lot harder than people believe. I imagine we’re more durable than boys.”

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