By: Shelby Hodges, Lvcy Chen and Julia Farrell
On a practice field in Austin, ponytails dangling from helmets may be the only giveaway that this isn’t your typical men’s football game.
Austin Outlaws is the official women’s football team in the capital of Texas. It is the city’s only full-tackle female football team. The women are entering their 16th season as a team this year, a rare accomplishment that only two other teams in the country can boast of.
The Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) is the largest of three female football leagues in the nation. Founded in 2007, WFA’s goal is to give women a chance to play the sport instead of just men.
“We aim to play football at the highest level and gain national recognition so we can one day provide an opportunity for women to play professionally,” says Lisa King, WFA’s Director of Operations.
Fundraising is the main way that individual teams across the nation raise money. These fundraisers help cover the costs of equipment, gear and field time. The alliance also receives sponsorships from various donors.
“Fundraisers for teams include anything from selling merchandise, working fireworks booths, selling concessions at games and doing car washes,” King says.
WFA is divided into 10 professional conferences across the nation. The Outlaws are part of the American Conference South West Division, along with four other teams spread across Dallas, Arlington, Corpus Christi and Houston. The Outlaws played a total of 10 games during the 2015 season, taking home a total of two wins and eight losses.
As with all full-contact sports, several bylaws are put into place to ensure the safety of players. Athletes must be at least 18 years old and must provide proof of health insurance. Unlike most male professional teams, WFA teams have no responsibility in the case of a player injury. Individual players are responsible for any costs that occur if they are hurt. All players and coaches are required to sign an injury waiver before participating in any practice or game.
On a national scale, the Outlaws are just one of 40 teams belonging to WFA. The alliance plans to add nine new teams to their program during the 2016 season. This expansion will help minimize travel for teams, while maximizing the exposure of women’s football across the country.
How It All Started
How Many Teams Are There?