Americas Game,USA Football,women's football,U.S. National Team,Women's World Championship,IFAF

U.S. Women's Team: Our journey to a second straight gold medal

U.S. National Football Team Sat, 07/06/2013 - 6:03pm

July 9

Dr. Jen here to happily report that Mission Gold was a complete success. Team USA 2013 won the gold medal against Canada for the second straight Women’s World Championship.

Yet again, we set the standard for women’s football on the international stage with great play and as great ambassadors of the game. 

I am honored to have represented my country for the second time. I know this is only the beginning for women’s football. I believe we are the pioneers of this sport. I believe that the legacy of Team USA has only just begun, and I know the ladies who sacrificed so much to make this possible will be revered as the legends of the game.

American football is the best sport in the world. Thank goodness the world now knows women can play it. Please support the growth of the sport in the future and the women who make this sport look good! 

Cheers from the Gridiron 

Dr. Jen Welter, No. 13 USA

***

July 6

The U.S. Women’s National Team defended its gold medal at the IFAF Women’s World Championship, defeating Canada, 64-0, on Saturday in the title game.

The victory comes on the heels of wins over Sweden (84-0) and Germany (107-7) in pool play as the Americans set tournament records for single-game and three-game scoring.

The U.S. wasted no time against Canada with Mia Brickhouse scoring on a 3-yard run on the game’s initial possession. Brickhouse would finish with four rushing TDs.

Six U.S. players would reach the end zone as Odessa Jenkins, Donna Wilkinson, Jeanette Gray, Adrienne Smith and Liz Sowers also scored.

The U.S. team averaged almost 9 yards per carry, clearly winning the battle at the line of scrimmage. Offensive linesmen Jamie Menzyk was named the game MVP for opening running lanes with an assortment of pancake blocks. 

The U.S. defense continued its dominance, holding the Canadians to just 56 yards of total offense. The Americans surrendered just 44 yards per game throughout the tournament.

In addition, the U.S. defense created 13 turnovers for the tournament, three of which were returned for touchdowns. Leading tacklers in the gold medal game were Vicky Eddy, Jennifer Plummer, Danielle Golay, Katie Sowers and Kim Marks.

American quarterbacks Sami Grisafe and Karen Mulligan combined for 23-of-28 passing for 367 yards.

Grisafe – who was named the overall tournament MVP – threw three touchdowns in the final to complete her three-game tournament total of 626 passing yards, nine touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown. 

“These women are amongst the best players in the world at their respective positions,” U.S. Head coach John Konecki said. “It has been a privilege for me to coach athletes of this caliber. I couldn’t be more proud of my team than I am right now.”

Stats and additional tournament info is available at: wwc2013.com.

Linda Bache


Click here to see the box score

***

July 6

Wide receiver Holly Peterson delivers the gold medal pregame speech for Team USA.

July 5

Defense: what happened? 107-7

In our 107-7 win over Team Germany, it was the 7 points that the defense heard the most about.

Germany’s touchdown was the first points ever scored against Team USA in international competition.

In 2010, we gave the world 201 reasons to hate us and zero reasons to have hope.

In 2013, Team Germany was defeated by the largest margin in international competition. However, even though we rolled the scoreboard, it never erased Germany’s one score.

Ultimately, a win is a win, but as a defense, it was a point of pride to have defended our end zone with such pride.

Last phase of Mission Gold: Team Canada

In 2010, Team USA defeated opponents, 201-0. Of those opponents, Team USA defeated Team Canada, 66-0, and claimed the gold medal.  

Coming into 2013, Team Canada made it clear they were out for revenge. In the first round, Team Canada blew Spain out of the water. It was clear they were out to make a statement to us.

In their next match-up, Team Finland gave Canada a great fight. The beginning of the game was back and forth. Ultimately, Team Canada outplayed Finland with a final score of 34-12. However, I will say, Team USA had a great time cheering for the smaller yet feisty Team Finland.

While Team Canada wants revenge against Team USA, Team USA has the honor of defending our gold medal. With the pride of our national sport and the honor of representing our country, we view Team Canada as a very worthy adversary.

The game is tomorrow (you can watch the noon ET kickoff live here), so there is a very quick turnaround.  With that in mind, know we have already been in film this morning. We will be ready. We are proud to be playing in the Red, White and Blue!

Cheers from the Gridiron in Finland! Go For Gold!

Dr. Jen Welter, No. 13 USA

***

USA 107, Germany 7

The defending champion USA women’s tackle football team secured a return to the gold medal final by dominating Germany, 107-7, on Thursday at the IFAF Women’s World Championship in Vantaa, Finland.

The U.S. squad (2-0) entered the stadium to patriotic chants of U-S-A while enthusiastically waving an American flag. They were clearly thrilled to be representing their country on the anniversary of its birth.

Sharon Vasquez received the opening kickoff for the U.S. and returned it to Germany’s 36-yard line. On the third play from scrimmage, quarterback Sami Grisafe connected with Jeanette Gray on a 31-yard touchdown pass.

A successful two point conversion gave the U.S. an 8-0 lead.

Germany stunned the U.S. by scoring a 34-yard rushing touchdown on its first play from scrimmage. The extra point kick was good, and the Germans pulled to 8-7 just minutes into the first quarter.

These marked the first points ever surrendered by the U.S. women.

The U.S. team responded with touchdowns on each of their next eight first half possessions to lead 60-7 at halftime. The Germans were never able to mount another scoring threat, gaining just 44 total yards of offense in the game.

U.S. scoring continued in the second half as ultimately 10 players scored touchdowns for Team USA.

Odessa Jenkins reached the end zone three times, while Brandy Hatcher, Cassey Brick and Katie Sowers each scored twice. Kim Klesse, Adrienne Smith, Alexis Snyder, Jeanette Gray, Nicole Vilarino and Liz Sowers each added a TD.

Team USA defensive back Katie Sowers had five interceptions, returning two for touchdowns to earn MVP honors for the game. Leading tacklers for the U.S. were Jennifer Plummer, Vicky Eddy and Andreana Campolo.

The U.S. team had won the inaugural 2010 competition by outscoring opponents, 201-0, en route to the gold medal.

The 107 points are an IFAF single-game scoring record. The Americans finished with 597 yards of total offense.

Team USA plays Canada on Saturday for the gold medal. The full schedule is available at: wwc2013.com.

All games are webcast live in English at: http://www.wwc2013.com/wwctv/

Linda Baché

Click here for stats from Thursday’s game between Team USA and Germany

***

July 4

Fireworks on July 4, 2013: Team USA over Team Germany 107-7

The significance of Team USA playing on Independence Day was not lost on its players. As we dressed in our red, white and blue uniforms, we all committed to making a statement to the world.

The women in the USA will play football, and we will not be denied. Despite hardships, despite having to fundraise and despite having to wear our white practice jerseys, we left no doubt that American football is America’s game.

The American women are the best football players in the world.

Football has long been a man’s game, yet I believe the women’s team stated our case clearly with our 107-7 win over Germany. Unfortunately, the women of football have not yet received the support of our male counterparts, so the need to declare our independence and our dominance resonated with the entire team.

I mentioned our white practice jerseys earlier, so let me return to the story. Apparently, neither Team Germany nor Team USA was told to bring away jerseys. 

So, due to the similarity between navy blue and black, we were told to wear our white practice jerseys. At first, looks of disorientation and disappointment swept across the faces of the players. However, after the white jerseys were on, the mood started to pick up. 

There is just something about a practice jersey that is a little bit tougher, a little bit rougher and just plain football.

Don’t get me wrong, I love edgy, streamlined, crisp football uniforms as much as the next woman, but something about the plain practice jerseys just felt right this Independence Day.

Something about the simplicity and ruggedness just felt very American. Something about the Germans wearing nicer uniforms and having twice the amount of coaches just felt typical.

If uniforms and number of coaches made a football team, then Germany would have won. However, football is not about the frills, it is about who fights the hardest and gets the job done. Ultimately, we made the football look good.

Ultimately, the practice jerseys just might have provided the ideal motivation to beat Team Germany. After all, there are no names on the back of the jerseys; the only name is the name on the front.

Very simple: USA.

Three letters in navy blue on a plain white mesh jersey. Sometimes things simply just are. On Independence Day.  

It was the 2013 U.S. Women’s National Football Team that beat the Germans, 107-7, in Finland, wearing  plain white mesh jerseys with no other names than USA. It’s too bad such a perfect moment was missed by the mainstream media.

In the end, some people watched from the stands and some people watched online. Sweden came and cheered us on, just another reason why Team USA cheers for and respects Team Sweden.

The cheers were loud, and the game was magical, and yet it makes me sad to think how many more people would have heard about the game in the media, seen the game online, come to the game and celebrated our win if we were men.

I can only hope that our Declaration of Dominance on Independence Day helps create more opportunities for the women who carry the game forward long after this Team USA.

On July 6, we will defend the gold medal against Canada. Watch the game online at www.WWC2013.com

Cheers from the Gridiron. Go for Gold.

Dr. Jen Welter, No. 13 USA 

 

***

Hello Football World, 

We play Team Germany on Thursday. We have watched their film and installed our game plan.

Now, while the coaches continue to prepare, Team USA has a bit of time to explore Finland. Each of the experiences on and off the field has solidified these relationships.

The Team USA family has a new class, and I have no doubt that the 2013 team will be as close as the 2010 family in years to come.

One of the beautiful things about football is the diversity required to make a team successful. Player talents, skill sets and personalities vary significantly from player to player and position to position.

In street clothes, most people would not look at us all and identify us as a group. In street clothes, our individual differences would make us appear as separate entities.

However, when we put our uniforms on, the individual differences take on a greater purpose. There is a synergy amongst football players that forms a team that has to rely on each player to complete her individual job for the play to be successful.

It is beautiful really.  

If all the players on this team were built the same way and had the same talents, we would not be successful. Our diversity is our strength.  

I have no doubt we are the best women’s football team in the world at this time. This team is an amazing American football team. It takes my breath away to think in 2010 I thought the same thing.

In 2010, I was right, and I am still right in 2013.

The 2013 team is different than 2010, and again that difference is a strength. It is nice to see the Team USA mission carried on by the returning players and the new additions. It is exciting to know that the Team USA mission will carry on long after I retire.

The 2010 team will never be forgotten, and the 2013 team will never be duplicated. However, the legacy will continue based on the foundation we built.

As magical as Team USA is on the football field, as impressive as our play is, I wish you all could know the amazing women beneath the red, white and blue helmets.

If the world knew the amazing women who sacrifice so much for this game, the world would fall in love with Team USA and women’s football.

If I had never played football, I would have been deprived of the diversity amongst my friends and football family that I cherish. Each of us has our own story, yet we share a passion for this game.

I encourage you all to tune in tomorrow for our game against Germany.  Kickoff is 9 a.m. ET.

It is July 4, and I cannot think of a better celebration of our Independence Day than to represent the USA in a game that was once called the final frontier for women in sports.

It has been hard work getting here, and the work is not done. However, independence from outdated ideals is a great start.

Cheers from the Gridiron.

I am off to see the city.

No. 13 in ’13

Dr. Jen Welter

***

July 1

The U.S. Women’s National Team in football began its IFAF Women’s World Championship title defense by beating Sweden, 84-0, on Sunday in Vantaa, Finland. It is the largest margin of victory in tournament history.

USA quarterback Sami Grisafe completed 12-of-16 passes for 220 yards with three touchdowns. She also added a rushing touchdown.

Full stats here

Cassey Brick scored three touchdowns for the Americans, while  Odessa Jenkins added two. Adrienne Smith, Jeanette Gray, Ashley Berggren, Brandy Hatcher and Katie Sowers each scored a touchdown.

Team USA ran for 251 yards and threw for 285 – totaling 536 yards of offense. The U.S. defense, led by Jennifer Plummer’s six tackles and Rachel May’s 2 ½ sacks, held Sweden to just 64 yards of offense.

“This was a total team effort. Everyone contributed to this win,” U.S. head coach John Konecki said.

Konecki also was the head coach in 2010 when the U.S. Women won the inaugural world championship tournament in Stockholm, Sweden.

Team USA returns to the field Thursday against Germany.

A win would guarantee the Americans a place in the July 7 gold medal game.

Linda Bache

Check out the tournament website

Watch games streamed live over the internet

***

June 30

USA 1-0

Though the scoreboard at the end of the game said 84-0, my helmet is off to Team Sweden.

As I predicted, the seasoned USA team was too much for the young scrappy Swedish National Team. However, the same heart and hustle that had Team USA cheering for Sweden took the field against us tonight. 

I have even more respect for Team Sweden after the game tonight, because even in defeat, even when the game was far from their reach, Team Sweden never quit. Team Sweden never got frustrated and started playing dirty. Team Sweden had heart, hustle and class. As I said before, my helmet is off to Team Sweden. 

With the pride and the fight that Team Sweden put into every down, I will be cheering for them again this year. I wish more teams in the states would play with the heart that team Sweden did. In my regular season with the Dallas Diamonds, we had teams quit at halftime, we had teams ask for a running clock, and we had teams that quit fighting. None of the teams that quit or ran the clock against the Diamonds lost by as many points as Sweden, and yet Sweden refused to quit! In fact, in postgame interviews, Sweden's MVP just kept repeating: “What a great honor it was to play against the best team in the world.” Now that is truly an amazing athlete, and I hope she will keep that love and honor on the gridiron for many years. 

It is not easy to be a woman playing football. Ultimately, skill and knowledge of the game are the minimum requirements. Success in women’s football requires heart, hustle, sacrifice and dedication. For women’s football to progress, the players, fans, coaches and sponsors need to embrace those same qualities. Team USA will continue to set the bar for what women’s football can be, and the Team USA players are committed to playing this game with the highest skill and class as well. Team Sweden, thank you for lining up against us and taking pride in every down! 

Cheers from the Gridiron.

Dr. Jen Welter, No. 13, Team USA

***

Watch the IFAF Women's World Championship online

Schedule

June 30: USA 84, Sweden 0

July 4: Germany vs. USA

July 7: Medal round

***

June 29

Cheers from Finland. It’s Dr. Jen back in the blog rotation again. 

Thank you again for sticking with Team USA as we represent the Red, White and Blue at the IFAF Women’s World Championship for “Mission Gold.”

I am so torn on what to share. If I told you all that I wanted to, I may not even have the opportunity to leave my laptop. So obviously, I must leave a few details, stories and snippets on the cutting room floor.

However, I can tell you. Training camp was amazing and intense. All the players came together around our common mission. We grew as individual players and we grew together as a team.

Our coaches have a tough job, breaking down individual goals, individual ideas of playing styles and philosophies, breaking through to individual players, breaking bad habits and ultimately bringing us together as an unstoppable team that will break records and break down stereotypes, limitations and preconceived notions associated with women’s football.

As tough as the job might be, I do not believe this particular coaching staff would have it any other way. In fact, they are not only surviving under the pressure, they are actually thriving.

There is so much more to Team USA than Xs and Os. Xs and Os are easy. The messages that extend far beyond the gridiron are a bit more complex.

For example, consider travel attire. Does it really matter? Many people have individual fashion statements they make on a day to day basis. However, Team USA is not about individuals. This is something bigger.

I bring this up because one of Coach K's sticking points is traveling in proper attire, in a uniform fashion. I completely understand and agree with why Coach wants us to all dress the same way and represent in a professional manner. It makes a statement when 45 women walk through the airport in their Team USA gear. It makes a statement when 45 women travel on an international flight in travel uniforms. It makes a statement when 45 women in red, white and blue arrive in Finland.

People look, people ask, people talk and people form opinions. It is important that as we represent Team USA we dispel any potential negative stereotypes and serve as ambassadors to our country and to our country's game.

While some people might think that travel attire is a small thing, I believe it reflects the attention to detail our coaching staff embraces. It is their commitment to excellence in every facet, in every detail that will make us champions. It is their commitment to hold us to the highest standard of excellence that will not only bring us the gold medal in the games but also make us champions in the progress and development of the sport.

Our coaches know we are talented players. Obviously, we were selected because we are some of the best players in the world.

However, the message that has been continually reinforced throughout training is that: “Talent is the easy part.” There are many people with talent who do not achieve their dreams. Talent is the bare minimum component.

To truly succeed, to truly actualize one’s potential, it takes effort, it takes pride, it takes effort, it takes sacrifice. There is not one player on this team who is permitted to rely on talent, and that is truly the American way.

 It is the belief in heart and hustle that makes the USA great, and that belief will make us successful.

Tomorrow, we take the field for the first time as the 2013 U.S. National Team. Tomorrow, the world will see why this is our time and our game. Tomorrow, there will be 45 women playing for all of you. Tomorrow, we will be ambassadors of American football to the world.

Today, we still have work to do. Today, we still have playbooks to study and practices to attend. Today, we are fighting for excellence in the little things, so that tomorrow we will be the best players in the world.

Again, thank you for your support! Cheers from the gridiron!

Follow Team USA on “Mission Gold!”

No. 13 Dr. Jen Welter

***

June 27

I am going to have to make this blog short and sweet.

We wrapped up a good day Tuesday with a sign for Maddy – the 12-year-old girl from Georgia who was banned from playing football for her school. The message is simple: It said #letherplay.

Here is the link to the ABC news clip of it.

As I said in my last post, we are here not only to win a gold medal but to show the world what it means for women to play football.  For you basketball lovers, I like to call us the “Mighty Macs” of the football world.

Anyway, we had a short and sweet practice Wednesday that ended with a downpour of rain (seems to be the common theme around here). We watched some film, learned a lot, and now we are ready to get back out there and continue the work that needs to get done. 

I can’t believe we leave today for Finland. I CAN’T WAIT.  

See ya on the flip side. 

Liz Sowers

***

June 26

Hello football world.

Thank you all so much for following Team USA as we travel on “Mission Gold.” My name is Dr. Jen Welter, and I am so honored to be one of the voices sharing our journey with you.

I will start out by telling you a bit about me. I was born in Vero Beach, Fla. From Vero Beach, I went on to Boston to attend Boston College. At BC, I started playing rugby because it was as close to football as I could find.

Immediately following my four-year rugby career, I began my football career with the Mass Mutiny. I played with the Mutiny for two seasons before life took me to Dallas, Texas. Once in Dallas, I played one season with the Dallas Dragons before finding my home with the Dallas Diamonds in 2004. This is my 10th season with the Dallas Diamonds and my 13th in women’s football.

In 2010, I had the honor of playing for Team USA in the inaugural IFAF Women’s World Championship. I am proud to say that we won the gold medal and that I was named to the All-Tournament Team as a linebacker.

After playing in 2010, I committed to the goal of returning to Team USA in 2013, so making the 2013 team was the actualization of a long term goal. Earlier in 2013, I also completed my Ph.D., yet another high honor for me. As you can tell, 2013 has been an amazing year thus far.

So, in honor of my 13th season in women’s football, the completion of my Ph.D., and the 2013 WWC, I have returned to my high school soccer number – 13. I always used to say: “No. 13 is only bad luck for opposing offenses,” and it will be again as I rock No. 13 for the Red, White, and Blue.

There are so many new faces on the 2013 team. Interestingly enough, most of the names and faces are only new from 2010 to 2013. At the highest levels, women’s football becomes a very small world. The players on this team are a combination of the original 2010 team, league all-stars, former teammates from the Mass Mutiny and current teammates from the Dallas Diamonds. It is an amazing mix of the best female football players in the world coming together to represent the United States of America in our sport, American football.  

As one of the players from 2010 gold medal team, I feel it is my responsibility to keep the legacy of the inaugural team alive while living in the actual moments of 2013. With those goals in mind, I am going to share the message from our head coach that resonated the most to me in Session 1.

Coach K said: “In 2010, we outscored opponents 201-0. In 2010, we gave other teams 201 reasons to get better, 201 reasons to fight harder and 201 reasons to want to beat us.“

Personally, that statement captured the essence of the fire that fueled the opposing teams in preparation for 2013. I believe it is not enough for us to simply win gold. I believe we must win the respect of the countries and football fans across the world through our quality play and quality representation of our country on and off the field.

I am continually inspired and amazed by the quality of coaching and players who will wear the Red, White and Blue for this country. I promise you, we will make you proud. We are committed to excellence. I look forward to sharing insights of this journey with you here in Chicago and abroad in Finland.

Cheers from the gridiron!

No. 13 in ’13 – Team USA Dr. Jen Welter

***

June 24

Hello football world!

First of all, a little about me. My name is Liz Sowers, and I play wide receiver for the U.S. Women’s National Football Team. (I wear No. 1.)

I was born and raised in Hesston, Kan., and currently live in Kansas City, Mo. I play for the Kansas City Titans of the Women’s Football Alliance. I have been playing football for five years now, and I have loved every second of it.

I am currently sitting in my dorm room at Lewis University just outside of Chicago for our training camp. The weather was attempting to rain on our parade this morning, which made the first half of the day interesting, but it can’t stop us.

I am beyond excited to be representing Team USA in Finland. It is an honor to step on the field with this amazing group of women that share the same passion and love for the game that I do. I truly believe that we are breaking barriers and becoming trailblazers for those little girls that will come after us with the same dreams and passions.

If I go through my career as a female football player, and I only help make just one little girl believe that she too can do anything she wants to regardless of her gender, I have done my job.

We are representing the USA – THE LAND OF THE FREE. Nobody should ever have to say “I can’t” because of their gender, gender-identity, race, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation or anything for that matter.

Thank you USA Football for giving us this opportunity to make our country proud and for paving the way for the future of women’s football. I love to think that somewhere down the road every little girl and boy will know that women, too, can play football.

Ladies and gentlemen … this is no longer a “man’s game.”

It is time for me to rest up before practice. This is a business trip, and we have a lot of business to attend to.

ONE TEAM, ONE MISSION.

Check out a video from practice