NKU women play football just like the boys

There is an emerging force in the world of football, and the players don’t have the Y chromosome.

By day, they are doctors, nurses, students, principals and mothers. By night, they are 46 women looking to destroy anyone with the ball.

That’s right, women are playing football, and they aren’t wearing lingerie. Two of those women are Northern Kentucky University students, junior Tiffany Kraemer and senior Sarah Boone. Both play for the Cincinnati Sizzle—Kraemer is a linebacker and Boone is a defensive back.

“We don’t go out there for looks,” Kraemer said. “It’s for the love of the game.”

Sitting down with Kraemer and Boone, one wouldn’t suspect them of playing the violent sport of football. At first glance, they look just like any other NKU student. Both are small women, and not overly muscular.

Both describe themselves as “girly” compared to others on the team. They wear jewelry and makeup and keep their long hair; but once they strap on those pads, they turn into two different people.

They aren’t alone in feeling that way. The whole Sizzle roster can testify to morphing into ill-tempered football beasts with pads on.

The Cincinnati Sizzle is part of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA). There are 60 teams in the alliance and Ohio has five of them.

Even though there are so many teams, few people have heard about women’s football.

“People don’t know it’s out there, and they have a surprised reaction,” Boone said. “They just don’t expect women to play this sport.”

Barriers remain for women’s football to overcome. The women in the WFA have to compete and put up with the Lingerie Football League. The WFA is real hard-hitting football, while the LFL is “more about sex than the game.”

“My brother was always able to play sports that I couldn’t. I was always jealous. I was very tomboyish, so I grew up with all the boys and the contact sports,” Kraemer said. “It’s nice to have our own league now.”

Gender roles are constantly being broken and women’s football is another growing addition to them. Real football isn’t just for the guys anymore.

In Tiffany’s case she will playing “as long as she is injury-free and healthy.”

For those interested in the Sizzle or would like to know more about women’s football, information—including game schedules, photos, roster and ticket prices — can be found on their website at http://www.cincinnatisizzle.com.
Story by Brandon Barb