As tryout season begins for many of the franchises in the Women’s Football Alliance, two teams are entering the fold in 2014. With the league continuing to grow, franchises from Iowa and Phoenix, Arizona shall commence league play.
The Iowa Steamrollers have not competed since the 2011 WFA season when the club was known as the Iowa Explosion. Having held open combines throughout late summer and early autumn, the squad is working tirelessly to acquire talent eager to don their colors.
Its biggest challenge is local competition in the form of the Iowa Crush, a franchise in the rival Independent Women’s Football League. During the 2013 IWFL season, the club posted a winless record, going 0-6. Jennifer Hirakawa, a co-owner of the Steamrollers was once the General Manager of the Crush. She was forced to leave the franchise after the 2007 season for military service. Ironically, Tammy Campos, who owned the first Iowa-based team to compete in the IWFL also served in the military.
Of note, the Steamrollers shall not be Iowa’s first entry into the WFA. The Iowa Thunder competed from 2009-10, compiling a cumulative record of 11-5. It would be the first women’s football team in the history of the state to earn a winning record in the regular season (going 5-3 in 2009 with a playoff berth).
After the Iowa Xplosion’s inaugural season in the WFA (2011), owner Eric Steffy gave ownership of the club to Hirakawa and Cindy Taft. Heading into 2014, Taft shall serve as general manager while Myndi Pottebaum will assume an ownership role. The next round of open tryouts for the club shall take place on November 2, 2013 at the Water Tower Park.
While the roster has been partially formed, there is a blend of rookies and veterans, along with college educated athletes. Quarterback Macen Hirakawa has six years of women’s football experience. Running back and defensive back Kayla Lavalais attended Wayne State University in Detroit while linebacker Mook Bascomb attended Iowa State.
Having competed in the IWFL, the Phoenix Phantomz continue the migration of clubs joining the WFA. Lead by GM Tabitha McBride and head coach Adrian Davis, the Phantomz shall be competing in the Southwestern Region. Competition will be fierce as the division features championship contending teams such as the San Diego Surge and the Pacific Warriors.
The final round of tryouts in 2013 shall be at SVOB Park on November 2 and December 7. During the 2013 IWFL season, the Phantomz rebounded from a winless preseason to post a 4-0 record in the regular season. Scheduled contests versus the El Paso Black Widows and the Tucson Monsoon were cancelled. Qualifying for a postseason berth, the franchise would be eliminated in the second round of play.
With a roster featuring nicknames such as Dozer (Alexis Snyder), Cubbie (Kyla Roth), Truck (Shona Bell), BooBoo (Nichole Taylor) and Wisconsin (Sue Kocher), the Phantomz are a colorful bunch. Featuring six captains, including Erin O’Bryan, Rochelle Suchta, Erin Alonzo, Mimi Refuerzo, Desiree Belliard and Amber Hartley, there is no shortage of leadership.
As the Southwest Region promises to deliver on high quality female football, the Phoenix Phantomz are proud to help stimulate interest in the growing sport. Considering the division features another squad from Arizona, known as the Assassins, it also provides the franchise with a newly installed rival.