Local News

Fayetteville Women Tackle Football Dreams

Posted June 12, 2002 2:03 a.m. EDT

— Are you ready for some female football? Dozens of women in Fayetteville are, so much in fact that a new football team is in the works.

When she is not teaching a writing class at Seventy-First Classical Middle School, Kristie Thompson is a busy student at Fayetteville State University. She is also training to be the quarterback of a new women's professional football team -- the Fayetteville Warriors.

"Ever since I was a little girl, I have loved football," she said.

At 5-foot-6 1/2-inches tall and 135 pounds, Thompson does not look like your average rough and tumble athlete, but do not be fooled. The teacher from Tennessee is ready to be tackled.

"I know it's going to happen where I'm going to get hit. That's just inevitable if I'm the quarterback, but that's part of the game," she said.

"These young ladies have to be taught the game from the very basics. They have to learn the positions, have to learn the skills and drills," said Michael McMillian, owner of the Warriors and a former college football player himself.

The team will play in the

National Women's Football League

, which is based in Nashville, Tenn. The rules of the game in the NWFL are the same as the NFL rules. Players use the same standard-size football, equipment and uniforms with the exception of a little more padding in the chest area.

"The quarters are not shorter, the field is not shorter, the ball is the same, it's the exact same game," McMillian said.

McMillian admits women in helmets tackling each other on the field may take some getting used to. All he asks is for people to have an open mind.

"Don't knock it until you try it," he said.

There are 21 teams in the National Women's Football League right now. The only team in North Carolina is the Asheville Assault. Other teams include the D.C. Divas, the Chattanooga Locomotion and the Biloxi Herricanes.