With the Green Bay Chill looking to take the next step and become one of the elite teams in the Legends Football League, it may have found its defensive leader in Laure Gelis-Diaz. As the only European-born player competing in the 2013 LFL season, she provided the club with an international flair.
Born in Paris, France, she is known affectionately as Frenchy. Ironically, Chill teammate Laura Heasman was also an international player. Hailing from Australia, she was one of two Aussies in the league; the other was Chloe Butler with the LA Temptation.
Reputed as one of the most enthusiastic members of the green and gold, it did not take long for Laure Gelis-Diaz to capture the hearts and minds of Green Bay Chill fans. Competing at the Strong Safety position, the 5’9” dynamo provided the Chill and their fans with a solid season.
Having recorded 20.5 total tackles (of which an astounding 17 were solo efforts), she accounted for 24% of the club’s output for tackles. In addition, she would also finish the season as one of only two Chill players to log an interception. Having emerged as a defensive leader with the Green Bay Chill, Gelis-Diaz may be the player to not only burden the pressure of leadership off Anne Erler’s shoulders, but propel the club to its first postseason berth.
Her LFL debut on April 6 had all the qualities of a baptism of fire. A road contest against one of the loudest and most hostile crowds in the LFL, the Seattle Mist fans at ShoWare Center in Kent, Washington resulted in a 55-36 loss. Gelis-Diaz would bounce back in the next game as it marked her home debut with the Chill. A 40-8 defeat against the Minnesota Valkyrie saw her establish a reputation as one of the hardest hitting and toughest safeties in the league.
While the Chill remained in postseason contention until the league’s final week, Gelis-Diaz earned praise throughout the league as a cornerstone for the defense. While the Chill have enjoyed a potent offense with the contributions of quarterback Anne Erler, the coaching staff now has a remarkable presence in Gelis-Diaz to build a punishing defense around.
Her leadeship qualities and ambitions are evident as the proprietor of Pro Active On-Site Fitness. Dedicated to incorporating fitness as part of an everyday lifestyle, Gelis-Diaz brings years of experience as a trainer and fitness instructor. With fitness classes scheduled at the location of the company, Gelis-Diaz is motivated to make it is as convenient as possible to participate. With goals such as improved employee morale, increased productivity and fewer absences, such fitness classes range from Zumba to Pilates and Yoga.
Although she may have been a rookie in the LFL, Gelis-Diaz has a remarkable athletic background. Complemented by a remarkable soccer career along with participating in kickboxing, Gelis-Diaz may be the most complete athlete on the Chill.
In France, she was a striker for the Paris St. Germain Club, a national level Division I soccer team. She was also the Isle of France Kickboxing Champion in 2003 along with a 10-year run as part of the Eragny Tennis Club. After emigrating to America, her love of sport was only fuelled further. As a student at Oakland City University, she participated on the Lady Oaks soccer club. Her first foray into professional soccer in America would come with a one-year stint with the St. Louis Archers Premier League Soccer.
The endurance and strategic skill necessary to compete in soccer and kickboxing would pay tremendous dividends for Gelis-Diaz as she would make the transition to women’s tackle football in 2005. Making her debut with the Indiana Speed of the Women’s Professional Football League, she would eventually move on to the St. Louis Slam. While her soccer career found her on the offensive side of the game, she has come to appreciate the defensive aspects of women’s tackle football.
Employing joie-de-vivre and esprit-de-corps, she is poised to become a fan favorite on a league-wide scale. Having had one LFL season under her belt, she will enter the next season with much more acumen and stronger leadership skills. Her positive attitude may not only help the Chill qualify for their first postseason, but it certainly makes her one of the rising stars to watch in 2014.