When it comes to football combines, girls will no longer have to take a backseat.
Last Saturday at Ives Park in North Miami-Dade, it was indeed girls’ day on the football field as a ground-breaking event took place - as the first ever Bleechr.com Female Football Combine was held.
What had long been exclusively for the boys, who have been looking for ways to improve and learn the game, looking toward a future career at the collegiate level, is now being shared with the girls.
As female football players poured in from throughout south Florida - coming from as far away as Port St. Lucie and Homestead - it turned out to be quite a day.
With one time Dolphin standout receiver Chris Chambers leading the event – along with standout female football players Jessica Childers and Erin Dimeglio –it was indeed a day that may impact these young athletes for years to come.
“This is way overdue,” said Chambers said. “These ladies are athletic and very talented, but lack those basic skills to play this game better, and I hope we at least provided that to them today.”
With flag football becoming more popular with the girls in high school, a combine was the next progression. Being athletic is fine, but knowing the game from every angle will produce better players and teams.
There are leagues and organizations who host events – such as the Miami Dolphins – that enhance to sport. But when testing and teaching elements are added to the experience – it becomes a different game all the way around.
“The one thing that we get from players, coaches and parents is how this is going to benefit the athlete,” said Bleechr CEO and event organizer Laz Suarez. “But we are quick to tell them, that like our boys combines, this is designed to help them now. These ladies participate in flag football at their respective high schools, so why not learn to play it better? Saturday’s combine backed that up. Not one of the young ladies came away with a negative experience.”
There is no doubting that female football combines are the wave of the future. It is something that directly shines a spotlight on the girls – and that is what is important.
“Still coaching the game and seeing how the interest for the sport grows all the time, a combine like this was more than ground-breaking,” said Childers, who attended Hallandale High. “I wish we had this back when we were playing. It really shines a spotlight in the girls – with people like Chris and Laz – making that happen.”
With Dimeglio and others instructing and teaching, those who attended know that the future for this combine will spread like wildfire, and the emphasis will be put on learning every phase of the sport – like the boys do.
For Davie's Western High Emma Diaz, who has taken part in boy's football for years, was elated to find out about the female combine. Her hard work in football translated into a rugby career – and with her recent full scholarship to nationally rated Life University, football opened the door for here future.
“What Chris Chambers and the sport of football did for me is pave the way for me to get exposed to rugby, and that opportunity has worked for a college scholarship,” Diaz explained. “Coming out for this combine was awesome and hopefully it will help expose the girls’ football that is being played.”
FUN AND INSTRUCTION FOR ALL
Saturday showcased the amazing athletes we have here in south Florida – as football talent lined the fields.
The teaching and instruction elevated the play – as catches were made, throws were on target and defensive players had their opportunity to make a difference.
Many locals had the chance to shine. Here are a few of those who came and made a difference:
Lian Brown, WR/LB, Coral Springs-Coral Glades
Myaih Brown, S/WR, Fort Lauderdale-Dillard
Raniya Carter, RB, Fort Lauderdale-Dillard
Ana Lopez-Ducasa, WR, Miami-Coral Reef
Stacy Dwyer, WR/DB, Syracuse
Emma Diaz, TE, Davie-Western
Destiny Dyer, WR, Miramar-Everglades
Chatoria English, WR/CB, Miramar
Tamatri Gale, Gwyn Park
Randrea Gamble, Athlete
Christina Gonzalez, QB, Hialeah-Barbara Goleman
Ashanti Griffin, WR/DB, Fort Lauderdale-Dillard
Olivia Kaes, QB, St. Lucie-Centennial
Imani Martin, S, Miami-Killian
Trinity Rivera, CB/RB, Coral Springs-Coral Glades
Kanaiya Russell, DB/LB, Fort Lauderdale-Dillard
Kimberly Slinkosky, RB, Cooper City
Lauren Turner, QB, Miami-Northwestern
Mary Vidal, OC/LB, Coral Gables
Kalyn Burgess-Williams, WR, Coral Springs-Coral Glades
Makiyah Woods, WR/DE, Miami-Northwestern
SPONSORS STEP UP
The one thing that is untapped when it comes to female football are sponsors, who now will have another vehicle to get their message out.
The combine on Saturday was a first exposure – as several sponsors wanted to be part of this ground-breaking event.
Make Up My Life is a non-profit women inspiring women group that had some small gifts and information for all who took part as well as Girl Power Power Rocks, a non-profit that helps young girls build confidence, competence and pride within themselves through various programs