All roads lead to the Women’s Football Alliance. At least that’s the case for Alicia Jeffords, President and player for the Maine Mayhem, and Rich Daniel, Owner of the DC Divas.
Originally starting in the IWFL, the Maine Mayhem decided to join the rapidly growing WFA when the IWFL disbanded, Jeffords explained. Daniel’s story, however, is a little different. He recalls a news report back in 2001 when he was a news director at an ABC affiliate in DC.
“We got a release that a women’s football team, the DC Divas, was going to be playing a tackle football game for the first time ever,” Daniel explained. “May 2001. We went to do a story on it because our curiosity was certainly piqued. So, a minute 30 conversation on the six o’clock news back in 2001 turned into this story today.”
Daniel's journey began with telling the story of the WFA, then gradually involving himself more and more until he became the eventual owner of the DC Divas.
“I did some PR work, trying to do some community relations, turned that into being a general manager and then a couple years ago now becoming the owner or team president,” Daniel explained. Daniel is not big on titles, jokingly calling himself the “chief cook and bottle washer.”
At the forefront of the WFA’s mission is inclusion regardless of financial standing, and while all teams in the league have different structures for how they’re financed, the Maine Mayhem is run in a unique manner.
“There wouldn’t be football in Maine if we didn’t start the Mayhem,” Jeffords proudly told us. In addition, she explained how the Mayhem is owned and operated by the players. “It definitely keeps all the players invested in the team,” she explained. “Our success is strictly driven on their help recruiting, their help fundraising. We have a lot of structured fund raisers in place, so a lot of our players do not pay to play.”
Jeffords explained that if players on her team are able to hit their training fee, they end up getting checks from the organization as a fundraising incentive.
“It’s really, really, really important to have everybody all in,” said Jeffords. “We’re a small market team and our success has been on the backs of everybody who has put in the work on and off the field.”
Like all football programs around the country who had to postpone their 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mayhem, the Divas and the rest of the WFA are extremely excited to kick-off their 2021 season which Daniel explains is taking an expanded team effort.
“You think about the collection of individuals it takes from work and family and all the concerns…and now collectively as a team I think this has been a real bonding opportunity and a real way to lean on each other in a little different way, a little stronger way, and these upcoming games are a huge incentive.”
You don’t become the largest, longest running, and most competitive women’s tackle football league in the world by not working together and having a fierce passion for the game like Jeffords and Daniel do.
The WFA kicks off their 2021 season on May 1st, 2021 with 19 match-ups across the United States and will conclude with the WFA’s four game championships on July 23rd and 24th at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, OH.
Xenith is proud to represent Alicia Jeffords, Rich Daniel and all members of the Women’s Football Alliance as a member of the Xenith family and will be rooting for their continued growth over the years to come.