As women’s football continues to grow by a quantum leap, another new player has graced the gridiron. Launching in 2014, the Women’s Indoor Football League (WIFL) is part of a growing sorority of leagues throughout North America providing women the opportunity to shatter the glass ceiling and don the helmet and shoulder pads.
Jonathan Ragus, who is a radio personality along with experience in media relations is going to be the President in the inaugural season. Joining him is Pete Richmire, who will handle duties with the media team. Of note, Ray Blanchette has laid the groundwork for the league in his capacity as commissioner and owner of the league. Having already gained over a dozen sponsors, Blanchette has the league headed in a very positive direction.
There is already an air of excitement as the league has some wonderful connections to popular culture. Rock band Drenalin is on board and a concert at the Rock City Tap House in Ohio featured quarterback Tia Knipper on stage. In addition, WIFL national spokeswoman Cara Vargas recently appeared in the film Second World 3: Nightfall. Of note, Vargas will also be competing with the league’s Washington franchise.
Following in the roots of the International Women’s Football League (IWFL) and Women’s Football Alliance (WFA), competitors will wear a full uniform like men’s football. A multi-city Combine Tryout Tour will continue to be held throughout the autumn. So far, the tour has involved four cities in a search for talent. There will be five more cities as the emphasis is strictly on athletic talent.
Of note, the league will go through two stages of expansion. The year 2014 brings with it eight franchises; a North Division consisting of New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and Washington, while a South Division features Atlanta, Montgomery, Orlando and Tampa Bay.
Week one of the season promises to set the stage for some very intense rivalries as every game has a strong geographical presence. New York visits New Jersey in what may emerge as one of the league’s signature rivalries along with Washington welcoming Philadelphia to their turf. Orlando hosts fellow Florida-based team Tampa while Montgomery makes the road trip to Atlanta.
Afterwards, the 2015 campaign will welcome another seven franchises into the fold. Baltimore headlines a group that shall include Birmingham, Charlotte, Columbia, Fayetteville, Lakeland and Richmond. For the Charlotte franchise, they shall host the 2014 WIFL championship game.
With this sensational seven waiting an extra season before taking the field, two moves have already taken place. Rick Reeder, who was already hired as Baltimore’s head coach will be on loan to Washington for the 2014 campaign. In addition, Fayetteville was involved in the first trade in league history. Holding the rights to quarterback Tia Knipper, they shipped her to Washington, giving them a significant advantage at the position. Whether Washington emerges as a strong preseason favorite remains to be seen, but Knipper is poised to emerge as one of the faces of the league.