Chicago Force competitor Jamie Menzyk one of the unsung heroes in female football

Although competing on the offensive line may be one of the most thankless jobs in sport, it is also one of the most essential. Very few have the proven track record of Jamie Menzyk; quite possibly, the WFA’s greatest at the position.

Competing for the Chicago Force, she has been at the forefront of unprecedented growth for the franchise. Known affectionately as MegaBus, her contributions on the line have helped Chicago develop a high-octane offense that culminated with a well-earned WFA National Championship in 2013.

Recognized as the MVP of the 2013 IFAF Women's Worlds
Recognized as the MVP of the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds

Since 2008, she has blocked and protected at the right guard position for world-class quarterback Sami Grisafe on The HIT Squad, the moniker for the Force’s O-Line. Like Grisafe, she has also known the exhilaration of competing on the world’s biggest stage.

As a member of the US contingent that captured the gold medal at the 2010 and 2013 IFAF Women’s World Football Championships, she is one of several Force competitors that have proudly donned the Team USA jersey.

Perhaps the greatest tribute to her talent was when she was recognized as the championship game’s Most Valuable Player in 2010 and 2013. In 2013, she would provide the protection necessary for Team USA to overwhelm its three opponents by a convincing 253-7 cumulative score. Of note, Force head coach John Konecki was part of Team USA in both events, serving as the head coach in 2013.

With Becky Thuestad, Jamie Menzyk, Ellie Dovantzis,Rosalyn Bennett, Dawn Pederson, Stacey Baker, Tami Engelman and Liz Okey at Wrigley Field. (Image obtained from Facebook)
With Becky Thuestad, Jamie Menzyk, Ellie Dovantzis,Rosalyn Bennett, Dawn Pederson, Stacey Baker, Tami Engelman and Liz Okey at Wrigley Field. (Image obtained from Facebook)

To know Menzyk’s athletic background is to see that greatness was always part of the equation. At Whiting High School, Menzyk challenged convention by competing as a member of the special teams unit on the boys’ football team. This was complemented by a sterling athletic career that features stints on Whiting’s softball, basketball and volleyball squads. She would extend her basketball and softball participation by competing for Calumet College.

Of note, her resume with the Force is one that is truly Hall of Fame worthy. Recognized as the Offensive MVP of the Force in 2009, she also won the club’s Do It All Award. IFWL All-Star accolades in 2009 and 2010 (the club started in the IWFL) were followed by WFA All-America nods in 2011 and 2012.

Jamie Menzyk, left, and Albi Zhubi during a Force contest.
Jamie Menzyk, left, and Albi Zhubi during a Force contest.

Gameday MVP honors from 2009-13 have also been a prominent part of her tenure with the Force along with the opportunity to compete in a very historic game. Despite emerging on the losing side, the 2012 WFA National Title Game is one that shall provide Menzyk with a lifetime of cherished memories. Contested at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field, it marked the first time that a female football game was played in an NFL Stadium.

Challenging the cultural norm is part of a normal day for Menzyk. When not on the gridiron, she is conducting an apprenticeship to be an ironworker through Chicago’s Local 395. Employing the team-first approach that has made her such a valued football player, she will likely become just as valued a member of her working crew as she engages in welding, burning and connecting.


Author: markstaffieri

A proud supporter of women in sport. My influences in covering women's sport include Andria Hunter and Jaclyn Hawkins. Both are former women’s hockey players who created their own websites, providing a deeper insight for their respective sport. Unable to identify with multi-millionaire male athletes, the role of women in sport is one that provides inspiration while preserving the spirit of sportsmanship. My first exposure to women and sport came through Geraldine Heaney and her legendary goal at the 1990 Women's World Hockey Championships. By composing player profiles on women from all sports, it is my opportunity to give back to the female sporting community by showing gratitude for their hard work and effort. While women's hockey opened the door to a larger yet remarkable world of sport, the quantum leap in women's football and global growth of women's basketball have only helped to fuel my interest in the female game. Some of the athletes that I admire include Caroline Ouellette and Natalie Spooner (hockey), Lolo Jones (track), Connie Fekete and Sami Grisafe (football) plus Anne Erler and Heather Furr (LFL football). Other athletes consist of Sue Bird and Katie Smith (basketball) along with Barbara Mervin and Heather Moyse (rugby). In addition to my efforts on WordPress, I have also contributed to Bleacher Report, the Canadian Women's Hockey League, Hockey Canada, LFL Canada and Women's Hockey Life.

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