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Women's Football Alliance

Women’s Football Alliance
Current season, competition or edition:
Current sports event 2024 Women's Football Alliance Season
SportAmerican Football
Founded2009; 15 years ago (2009)
First season2009
No. of teams60 active
CountryUnited States
Most recent
champion(s)
Pro – Boston Renegades
Div. 2 – New York Wolves
Div. 3 – West Palm Beach Coyotes
Most titlesBoston (7 titles)
Official websitewfaprofootball.com

The Women's Football Alliance (WFA) is a semi-pro full-contact Women's American football league that began play in 2009. It is the largest 11-on-11 football league for women in the world, and the longest running active women's football league in the U.S. Since 2016, the league has operated with three competitive levels: Pro, Division 2 and Division 3. The league is owned and operated by Jeff King and Lisa Gibbons King of Exeter, California. Lisa King is also a wide receiver for the WFA's Cali War.[1]

In addition to operating annual national championship seasons in the United States, the league also operates the WFA International program which organizes international competitions for its own Team United and Team World against each other and all-star teams from other nations. The program also supports international player exchanges and provides logistical support to women's tackle football leagues in Central and South America, Europe, and Africa.[2]

League history

The Women's Football Alliance was established in 2009 and began its inaugural season with 36 teams. Many of the teams were already established teams from other leagues such as Women's Professional Football League, Independent Women's Football League and National Women's Football Association, while others began their inaugural season of play in the WFA.

2009

The first season of play ended with a championship game, which was played in the rebuilding (post-Katrina) city of New Orleans, Louisiana and was hosted by the New Orleans Blaze. The game was between the St. Louis Slam (American Conference – St. Louis, MO) and the West Michigan Mayhem (National Conference – Kalamazoo, MI). St. Louis became the first WFA National Champions with a final game score of 21–14.[citation needed] Additionally, there was an International Game played between the Aguilas Regias of Monterrey, Mexico and the hosting team, New Orleans Blaze. The Blaze won this game 12–0.[3]: 123 

2010

The WFA grew in the second year (2010) to have over 40 teams competing for the national championship. The national championship for the 2010 season was accompanied by the first All-American game. The term All-American is used by the WFA to represent the best players at all positions from all WFA teams. The teams were chosen partly based on statistics and partly based on the vote of head coaches. The All-American game was played just before the championship game in Las Vegas, Nevada and was hosted by the Las Vegas Showgirlz. The All-American game was won by the American Conference. The second championship in the WFA would again come down to the last few plays and have a score differential of only four points. The Lone Star Mustangs (American Conference – Dallas/Fort Worth) defeated the Columbus Comets (National Conference – Columbus, Ohio) to become the second National Champions of the WFA by a score of 16–12.

2011

As the Women's Football Alliance prepared for the 2011 season, they were scheduled to have over 60 teams playing across the United States. They again grew due in part to new teams starting and in part due to established teams moving in from other leagues, most notably the New York Sharks,[4] D.C. Divas,[5] Chicago Force,[6] Dallas Diamonds, and Kansas City Tribe.[7] In the 2011 WFA championship, which was held in Bedford, Texas, the Boston Militia defeated the San Diego Surge 34–19 to claim the title.

2012

The WFA opened the season with 60 teams. The 2012 WFA National Championship game took place at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, home stadium of the NFL franchise Pittsburgh Steelers; it was the first women's football championship game to be played in an NFL stadium.[8] After losing the title game in the previous season, the San Diego Surge returned to win the 2012 championship 40–36 over the Chicago Force.

2013

The WFA opened the season with 50 teams. Running back Whitney Zelee (Boston Militia) made headlines in 2013 by becoming the league's first player to surpass 2,000 rushing yards in a football season, setting a league record of 2,128 yards.[9] After losing the title game in the previous season, the Chicago Force returned to win the 2013 championship over the Dallas Diamonds 81–34 at Balboa Stadium, San Diego, California.

2014

The WFA opened the season with 42 teams. The preseason was capped by the inaugural WFA International Bowl, in which the Mexican All-Stars defeated the Austin Outlaws in exhibition. The Boston Militia became the league's first two-time champion in 2014, winning 69–34 in a title rematch with the San Diego Surge at Lane Tech Stadium in Chicago, Illinois. During championship weekend, the league introduced a new mid-major bowl game: the Alliance Bowl. The Seattle Majestics of the American Conference faced the Indy Crash of the National Conference in a contest to "showcase of the depth of quality teams that exist in the Women's Football Alliance."[10] The Indy Crash prevailed 26–12. This season was also notable for the introduction of Kenneth Massey Ratings into the league's playoffs system.

2015

The WFA opened the season with 40 teams, the fewest since the league was first established in 2009. The preseason concluded with the second WFA International Bowl Game Series, in which the Mexican All-Stars went 1–1, defeating the Tacoma Trauma before falling to the Seattle Majestics. On August 8, 2015, the D.C. Divas defeated the Dallas Elite 30–26 in the WFA National Championship game at Los Angeles (Calif.) Southwest College Stadium. The Central Cal War Angels beat the Atlanta Phoenix 28–8 in the Alliance Bowl, an invitational bowl game also held during championship weekend.

2016

WFA executives launched a new, tiered league structure consisting of three divisions, similar to that of NCAA Football. The league opened the season with 43 teams (11 in Division 1, 16 in Division 2, and 16 in Division 3). The WFA also announced the W Bowl as their new brand for the WFA National Championship game. With a 28–26 victory over the Dallas Elite, the D.C. Divas won the inaugural W Bowl and their second national championship in as many years. The St. Louis Slam downed the Tampa Bay Inferno 38–7 to claim the Division 2 championship. The Acadiana Zydeco defeated the Richmond Black Widows 20–18 in the Division 3 title game. All three games were played at Joe P. Michaela Stadium in Imperial, Pa.

Allison Cahill of the Boston Renegades reached a new milestone in sports by becoming the first quarterback to attain 100 victories playing exclusively in women's football leagues.[11]

2017

The league expanded to 65 teams (15 in Division 1, 19 in Division 2, and 31 in Division 3). On July 22, the Dallas Elite claimed the Division 1 National Championship, dubbed W Bowl II, with a 31–21 outcome against the Boston Renegades at Highmark Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The St. Louis Slam repeated as Division 2 champions after a rematch in the title game against Tampa Bay finished 42–15. The Arkansas Wildcats beat the Orlando Anarchy 42–26 to claim the Division 3 trophy.

2018

The league opened the season with 67 teams (9 in Division 1, 16 in Division 2, and 39 in Division 3). On July 28, the Boston Renegades won the Division 1 National Championship game 42–18 over the Los Angeles Warriors at Fifth Third Bank Stadium, Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia. The game was broadcast on ESPN3. The New York Sharks claimed the Division 2 title with a 27–21 victory over the Minnesota Vixen. In a rematch of the 2017 Division 3 championship game, the Orlando Anarchy defeated the Arkansas Wildcats 46–0.

2019

The league opened with 62 teams (6 in Division 1, 18 in Division 2, and 38 in Division 3). The Boston Renegades repeated as league champions, matching the feat first accomplished by the D.C. Divas (2015, 2016). On July 13, Boston beat the Cali War 52–24 at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. The game was broadcast on ESPN3. The St. Louis Slam won their third Division 2 title in four years by downing the Detroit Dark Angels 34–0. The Orlando Anarchy made their third consecutive trip to the Division 3 championship game but fell to the Nevada Storm 62–45.

2020

The 2020 season of the Women's Football Alliance was cancelled in its entirety due to health and safety concerns in regards to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.[12] Although regular season games were scheduled, none were played.

The WFA signed deals with Eleven Sports/FTF Next Sports Network to broadcast ten 'WFA Game of the Week' events[13] and eight games from the 2019 season[14] on its cable network, streaming channels and website. They also established partnerships with Secret, Xenith, Wilson, Glazier Clinics, and Florida State University Interdisciplinary Center for Athletic Coaching.

The WFA established the Women's Football Coaching Alliance (WFCA), and the 'WFA Gives Campaign'. The league also witnessed the release of two feature films focused on its players, "Born To Play," directed by Viridiana Lieberman, and "Open Field," directed by Kathy Kuras. "Born To Play" aired nationally on ESPN and internationally on ABC to widespread critical acclaim.[15]

2021

In February, the WFA announced a five-year agreement with the Hall of Fame Resort and Entertainment Company for the league's championship games to be played at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio. The league resumed play after a 2020 season lost to global pandemic. Scheduling challenges and safety concerns necessitated a delayed start (May instead of April) and a shortened season (6 regular season games instead of 8). The 2021 season opened with 49 teams (7 in Division 1, 12 in Division 2, and 30 in Division 3). On July 24, the Boston Renegades collected their third consecutive league title with a 42–26 victory over the Minnesota Vixen. The Nevada Storm defeated the Detroit Dark Angels 42–18 to win the Division 2 title. The Derby City Dynamite claimed the Division 3 crown with a 30–20 victory over the Arizona Outkast. All three championship games and the 2021 All-American game were broadcast on Next Level Sports television channel and FTF Next streaming channel.

2022

Heading into the 2022 season, the WFA rebranded Division 1 as the Pro Division and labeled the level as "WFA Pro." The league started the season with 59 teams: 11 in the Pro Division, 12 in Division 2, and 27 in Division 3. The league also added a developmental level that launched with nine teams.

The league's championship games again took place at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium at Hall of Fame Village in Canton, Ohio. On July 10, the Boston Renegades collected their fourth consecutive league title with a 32–12 victory over the Minnesota Vixen.[16] On July 9, the Mile High Blaze defeated the Derby City Dynamite 21–20 to win the Division 2 title,[17] and the Oklahoma City Lady Force claimed the Division 3 crown with a 25–0 victory over the Capital City Savages.[18] The National Conference won the All-American Game 14–12.

For the first time, the WFA Pro National Championship Game was broadcast on ESPN2. AdeNation was the name sponsor for the championship game while Xenith sponsored the WFA All-American Game. The WFA also signed a multi-year licensing deal with Fathead [19] and brought back "The Road To Canton" television show for a second season.[20] The 2023 season began April 22 with 14 teams.[21]

WFA Teams

WFA Pro

Team Location Founded Joined Head coach
National Conference
Alabama Fire Birmingham, Alabama 2015 2023 Cedric Lane
Boston Renegades Boston, Massachusetts 2015 2015 John Johnson
Cali War Los Angeles, California 2018 2019 Jeff King
D.C. Divas Washington, D.C. 2000 2011 Allysea Marfull
New York Wolves New York, New York 2018 2019 Fabian Alesandro
Pittsburgh Passion Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 2002 2016 Teresa Conn
Tampa Bay Inferno Tampa, Florida 2009 2010 Arlo Henderson
American Conference
Arlington Impact Arlington, Texas 2011 2023 Jimmie Hughes
Dallas Elite Mustangs Dallas, Texas 2014 2015 Kristian Scott
Houston Energy Houston, Texas 2000 2019 Brian Wiggins
Mile High Blaze Denver, Colorado 2013 2015 Rob Sandlin
Minnesota Vixen St. Paul, Minnesota 1999 2017 Connor Jo Lewis
Nevada Storm Reno, Nevada 2011 2019 Chris Garza
St. Louis Slam St. Louis, Missouri 2003 2009 Quincy Davis


Division 2

Team Location Founded Joined Head coach
National Conference
Atlanta Rage Atlanta, Georgia 2022 2023 Blair Clark
Baltimore Nighthawks Baltimore, Maryland 2007 2017 Mike Lynn
Capital City Savages Lansing, Michigan 2017 2019 Andre Broach
Carolina Phoenix Greensboro, North Carolina 2006 2017 Maria V. Ormond
Columbus Chaos Columbus, Ohio 2021 2022 Mike Kandler
Derby City Dynamite Louisville, Kentucky 2011 2012 Tracy Logan
Detroit Venom Detroit, Michigan 2011 2012 Andre Harlon
Grand Rapids Tidal Waves Grand Rapids, Michigan 2017 2018 Stacey Davis
Jacksonville Dixie Blues Jacksonville, Florida 2001 2009 Michelle Robinson
Miami Fury Miami, Florida 2000 2011 Raul Camaliche
Tri-State Warriors New Brunswick, New Jersey 2021 2022 Rich Harrigan
West Palm Beach Coyotes West Palm Beach, Florida 2019 2023 Paul Gonsalves
American Conference
Austin Outlaws Austin, Texas 2001 2009 Jason Barlow
Nebraska Pride Omaha, Nebraska 2023 2023 Nancy Javaux-Major
Oklahoma City Lady Force Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2014 2021 Leonard Bulock
Portland Fighting Shockwave Portland, Oregon 2002 2013 TBD
Sun City Stealth El Paso, Texas 2019 2021 Marcus Riley
Vegas NVaders Las Vegas, Nevada 2023 2024 Erik Garcia

Division 3

Region Team Location Founded Joined Head coach
National Conference
Northeast Region Connecticut Nightmare Windsor, Connecticut 2009 2017 Bruce Haney
Harrisburg Havoc Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 2021 2022 Jeff Thomas
Maine Mayhem Portland, Maine 2015 2017 Bryant Oja
New Hampshire Rebellion Manchester, New Hampshire 2021 2022 Arasi Chau
New York Knockout Troy, New York 2012 2017 Lou Butts
Upstate Lady Predators Rochester, New York 2023 2024 Jessica Coluzzi
Southeast Region Cincinnati Cougars Cincinnati, Ohio 2022 2023 Mike Lucas
East Tennessee Valkyrie Elizabethton, Tennessee 2021 2022 Shannon Simpson
Music City Mizfits Nashville, Tennessee 2016 2017 Donald Ragsdale
Orlando Anarchy Orlando, Florida 2009 2010 Sherman Harlow
Raleigh Express Raleigh, North Carolina 2022 2023 Brent Fisher
Richmond Black Widows Richmond, Virginia 2015 2016 Steve Baxter
Virginia Panthers Williamsburg, Virginia 2022 2023 James Lancaster
American Conference
Midwest Region Cedar Raptors Cedar Rapids, Iowa 2023 2024 Quinton Ray
Iowa Phoenix Des Moines, Iowa 2018 2019 Ricky Jimenez-Dragoni
Midwest Mountain Lions Waukegan, Illinois 2019 2022 Jahamal Hardy
Minnesota Minx Minneapolis, Minnesota 2021 2022 Grand Palmer
Oklahoma Rage Tulsa, Oklahoma 2022 2023 Tarrion Adams
Sioux Falls Snow Leopards Sioux Falls, South Dakota 2021 2021 Riley Key
Zydeco Spice Lafayette, Louisiana 2009 2010 Josh Edison
Pacific Region Arizona Outkast Phoenix, Arizona 2011 2019 TBD
Capital Pioneers Salem, Oregon 2019 2021 TBD
Central Valley Chaos Bakersfield, California 2021 2023 Andrew Blanton
New Mexico Banitas Las Cruces, New Mexico 2022 2023 Brian Bartlett
Oregon Cougars Eugene, Oregon 2021 2022 Chuck Hoffman
Rocky Mountain Thunderkatz Colorado Springs, Colorado 2012 2017 Demareo Pruitt
Wasatch Warriors Salt Lake City, Utah 2019 2023 Abel Tenorio

Developmental

Team Location Founded Joined Head coach
Florida Legacy Fort Myers, Florida 2023 2024 Madison Schmatz

WFA PRO Championship Game results

Year Winner Loser Score
2009 St. Louis Slam West Michigan Mayhem 21–14
2010 Lone Star Mustangs Columbus Comets 16–12
2011 Boston Militia San Diego Surge 34–19
2012 San Diego Surge Chicago Force 40–36
2013 Chicago Force Dallas Diamonds 81–34
2014 Boston Militia San Diego Surge 69–34
2015 D.C. Divas Dallas Elite 30–26
2016 D.C. Divas Dallas Elite 28–26
2017 Dallas Elite Boston Renegades 31–21
2018 Boston Renegades Los Angeles Warriors 42–18
2019 Boston Renegades Cali War 52–24
2020 Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 Boston Renegades Minnesota Vixen 42–26
2022 Boston Renegades Minnesota Vixen 32–12
2023 Boston Renegades St. Louis Slam 35–7

WFA Division II Championship Game results

Year Winner Loser Score
2016 St. Louis Slam Tampa Bay Inferno 38–7
2017 St. Louis Slam Tampa Bay Inferno 42–15
2018 New York Sharks Minnesota Vixen 27–21
2019 St. Louis Slam Detroit Dark Angels 34–0
2020 Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 Nevada Storm Detroit Dark Angels 42–18
2022 Mile High Blaze Derby City Dynamite 21–20
2023 New York Wolves Oklahoma City Lady Force 21–0

WFA Division III Championship Game results

Year Winner Loser Score
2016 Acadiana Zydeco Richmond Black Widows 20–18
2017 Arkansas Wildcats Orlando Anarchy 42–26
2018 Orlando Anarchy Arkansas Wildcats 46–0
2019 Nevada Storm Orlando Anarchy 62–45
2020 Season cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic
2021 Derby City Dynamite Arizona Outkast 30–20
2022 Oklahoma City Lady Force Capital City Savages 25–0
2023 West Palm Beach Coyotes New Mexico Banitas 58–6

Alliance Bowl results

Year Winner Loser Score
2014 Indy Crash Seattle Majestics 26–12
2015 Central Cal War Angels Atlanta Phoenix 28–8

Alliance Bowl Midwest Region results

Year Winner Loser Score
2015 Houston Power Acadiana Zydeco 9–6

See also

References

  1. ^ "WOMEN'S FOOTBALL ALLIANCE (WFA)". dcdivas.com. FinTel Communications. 2023. Retrieved 9 October 2022.
  2. ^ "WFA International". wfaprofootball.com. Retrieved 26 January 2022.
  3. ^ Crawford, Russ (November 2022). Women's American Football: Breaking Barriers On and Off the Gridiron. U of Nebraska Press. ISBN 978-1-4962-3333-2. Retrieved 9 March 2023.
  4. ^ Exit, Merle (2011-01-07). "New York Sharks Women Tackle the Football World". Alternet. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  5. ^ "Bipartisan tax relief measures proposed in Maryland". Gazette.net. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  6. ^ "Chicago Force begin try outs, ladies are you ready to play some football? – Call Of The Wild". Chicagonow.com. Retrieved 2017-02-28.
  7. ^ "Women's Football champions the Kansas City Tribe suing to leave their league – Kansas City News – Plog". Archived from the original on 2010-08-29. Retrieved 2010-08-29.
  8. ^ "Heinz Field To Host SilverSport Women's Football Alliance National Championship". Pittsburgh Steelers. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  9. ^ Staffieri, Mark (June 18, 2013). "Whitney Zelee Emerging as the Finest Running Back in All of Women's Football". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  10. ^ "2014 WFA National Championship Weekend" (Press Release). wfafootball.net. Women's Football Alliance. Retrieved 23 September 2014.
  11. ^ "Cahill Notches 100th Career Victory" (Press Release). bostonrenegadesfootball.com. Boston Renegades Women's Football. 16 May 2016. Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  12. ^ "WFA ends pursuit of 2020 championship season". wfaprofootball.com. 2 May 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  13. ^ "WFA signs television network deal". wfaprofootball.com. 30 January 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  14. ^ "2019 Championship on National Television". wfaprofootball.com. 21 May 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  15. ^ "'Born To Play' Garners National Media Attention and Widespread Critical Acclaim". bostonrenegadesfootball.com. 19 July 2020. Retrieved 28 April 2021.
  16. ^ Kujawa, Taylor (July 11, 2022). "WFA: Boston Renegades claim 2022 championship title". Her Football Hub. Archived from the original on July 11, 2022. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  17. ^ Newman, Kyle (July 11, 2022). "Kimberly Santistevan's three TD passes lead Mile High Blaze to women's tackle football national title". The Denver Post. Digital First Media. Archived from the original on July 12, 2022. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  18. ^ Crawford, Russ (July 20, 2022). "Boston Renegades capture 4th straight Women's Football Alliance Pro Division title, Blaze, Lady Force also winners". American Football International. Archived from the original on July 20, 2022. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  19. ^ "WFA SIGNS MULTI-YEAR LICENSING DEAL WITH FATHEAD". 23 June 2022. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  20. ^ "WFA FOOTBALL SHOW 'ROAD TO CANTON' ADDS MORE TALENT". 17 February 2022. Retrieved 13 July 2022.
  21. ^ "Women Tackle Football with a Full-Contact League of Their Own". Bloomberg. 14 April 2023.

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