Three stars from the Legends Football League (LFL), a women’s American football league based in the United States, visited Manila on Monday as part of their Asian tour this month in an effort to promote the league and, at the same time, break stereotypes towards women.
The LFL is a seven-a-side football league featuring 12 American teams which play in various professional sports arenas in the U.S.
But the league propelled to popularity due to its unique concept that differentiated from other sports and caught the attention of many people. The LFL was formerly called the Lingerie Football League, with its players wearing skimpy uniforms during matches. It changed its name early this year to help the league gear towards “maturation” and focus more on the “sport and its amazing athletes.”
Liz Gorman, a wide receiver from three-time champion LA Temptation, said that playing in the LFL is a way of showing woman empowerment, enduring the sport’s tough physicality just like the men do.
“As women, even growing up, when we were wearing dresses, they say, ‘Don’t get dirty, let’s fix your hair, don’t mess it up.’ But the boys can go get dirty and the girls must be back firm and proper,” Gorman said.
“It is a stereotype but it (tells) women that, we can get down and dirty and we can do the things that men do and, in some ways, I believe we do it better.”
For her part, Natalie Jahnke, Gorman’s Temptation teammate, said that people should not judge them based only on what they wear.
“I was always playing sports, always super aggressive,” Jahnke said. “Education is a key. Most people don’t know us. (We play not just because of) attention but because we love football.”
Baltimore Charm quarterback Angela Rypien said that being a single mother, playing in the LFL gives her a unique experience as a woman.
“You get the best of both worlds. You get to put on makeup and come to Asia, do our hair,” Rypien said. “But you also put on your helmet and you’re a whole different person. Put that uniform, joining your team, standing in front of 18,000 people. It’s completely different.”
Aside from the Philippines, the LFL has also made stops in Indonesia and Singapore as part of its promotional tour. The three girls will head to Hong Kong this week.
The 2013 LFL season kicked off in the U.S. last March, and began airing in cable channel KIX in the Philippines this April.