I'm just a girl
RS- Please tell the people your name?
ALEXANDREA WHIRLEY, BUT I TYPICALLY GO BY ALEX
RS- Where did you grow up?
NORTH KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
RS- What is your profession outside of football?
I’M A FITNESS & YOGA TRAVEL TRAINER, HELPING YOU STAY IN SHAPE WHILE FINDING PEACE AND ENHANCING YOUR MIND/MUSCLE CONNECTION
WHEN I’M NOT GETTING PHYSICAL, I’M EITHER POSING FOR THE CAMERA OR BEHIND THE SCENES DIRECTING AND CONSULTING
RS-Did you grow up playing football? When did the love for the sport begin?
I DID NOT GROW UP PLAYING FOOTBALL. WOMEN PLAYING FOOTBALL JUST WASN’T A THING BACK THEN, THERE WAS NO OPPORTUNITY THERE. I WAS A DANCER. I TRIED MULTIPLE SPORTS, BUT ALWAYS STUCK WITH DANCE. I EVEN COMPETED IN HIGH SCHOOL.
BEING FROM KANSAS CITY, THE LOVE FOR THE CHIEFS IS IN MY BLOOD, SO I GREW UP WITH A LOVE OF THE SPORT. BUT I ALWAYS SAW FOOTBALL AS A SPECTATOR OR AS A DANCER PERFORMING ON THE FIELD FOR THE HALFTIME SHOW. WHEN I RECEIVED THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY PROFESSIONALLY, MY WHOLE MINDSET CHANGED. CRAZY RIGHT?!
RS- What led you to play professional football?
WHEN I TURNED 30 I CHOSE TO COMPLETELY CHANGE THE COURSE OF MY LIFE. JOB, RELATIONSHIPS, MINDSET; EVERYTHING SOCIETY PLACED ON ME, THINGS I WAS SUPPOSED TO DO OR BE BY THAT AGE, I LET IT ALL GO. IT IS NEVER TO LATE TO TRY SOMETHING NEW OR TO START OVER! I VOWED TO MYSELF THAT I WOULD TAKE THE OPPORTUNITIES I WAS PASSIONATE ABOUT AND CREATE A LIFE WORTH LIVING.
SO WHEN I GOT THE CALL ABOUT THE XLEAGUE’S NEW EXPANSION TEAM BEING IN MY CITY, I THOUGHT “WHY THE HELL NOT? LET’S DO IT!"
RS- What position do you play?
CENTER & DE
RS- What are your thoughts on gender inequality throughout the sports world?
I’M GOING TO SPEAK ON THIS FROM BOTH ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM BECAUSE I DO HAVE AN UNDERSTANDING FOR WHY WE ARE HERE FISCALLY BUT ALSO KNOW FIRST HAND THE LACK OF SUPPORT THAT FEMALE ATHLETES RECEIVE WITH, AT TIMES, EVEN HIGHER EXPECTATIONS.
WE’VE GOT TO REMEMBER THAT THE NFL HAS BEEN AROUND FOR 100yrs. THAT MEANS 100yrs OF MEMORIES, LOVE & SUPPORT, IT’S LITERALLY ENGRAVED IN US. THAT DOESN’T HAPPEN OVER NIGHT.
SO WHEN WE LOOK AT THE GAP IN PAY, ADVERTISING & ENDORSEMENTS THERE ARE ABSOLUTELY GOING TO BE DIFFERENCES. THE INTEREST FROM COMPANIES THAT ARE THROWING MONEY INTO THE LEAGUES & PLAYERS JUST ISN’T THERE YET.
NOW, THAT BEING SAID, I DO BELIEVE THAT WE NEED TO DO BETTER. I’M HOPING THAT KANSAS CITY IS GOING TO BE AT THE FOREFRONT OF THIS, GIVEN HOW SUPPORTIVE WE ARE OF OUR OTHER SPORTS TEAMS. THE MORE SUPPORT WOMEN’S SPORTS HAS FROM THE FANS, THE MORE WE’LL HAVE FROM THE COMPANIES THAT ARE SPONSORING THESE SPORTING EVENTS, ENDORSING INDIVIDUAL ATHLETES AND IN TURN THE LEAGUES SHOULD BE ABLE TO PROVIDE MORE FOR THE TEAMS THEMSELVES. WOMEN ARE THE FUTURE AND THE SPORTS AND ENTERTAINMENT WORLD IS STARTING TO SEE THIS, BUT NOW IT’S TIME FOR ORGANIZATIONS TO HELP FUND US. DON’T JUST SAY THAT YOU SUPPORT THE WOMEN’S EMPOWERMENT MOVEMENT BY SWITCHING UP YOUR ADS OR THROWING US IN COMMERCIALS, ACTUALLY FUND BETTER EQUIPMENT, TRAINING FACILITIES, AND AWARD BETTER ENDORSEMENT DEAL. START SETTING US UP FOR GREATNESS.
MORE RECENTLY SOME COLLEGES HAVE ANNOUNCED THAT THEY WILL NOW BE AWARDING SCHOLARSHIPS TO GIRLS TO PLAY FLAG FOOTBALL. THAT IS A HUGE STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION.
RS- Where do you see women’s football in the next 5 years?
WELL IT’S DEFINITELY GROWING AND WE ARE ON THE PATH TO TRULY MAKING OUR MARK. WOMEN’S FOOTBALL IS HERE TO STAY. IN THE NEXT FIVE YEARS I SEE US ACTUALLY GETTING PAID, OBTAINING SOME MAJOR ENDORSEMENT DEALS, AND THERE BEING NO QUESTION IN THE MINDS OF LITTLE GIRLS “IF” THEY COULD PLAY THE SPORT!
RS- What advice would you give a young girl that wants to play football or any another professional sport?
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SPEAK UP OR REACH OUT. IF THERE IS SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT, PUT THAT FEAR ASIDE AND GO FOR IT. IF YOU DON’T HAVE SOMEONE CLOSE TO YOU OR IN YOUR IMMEDIATE COMMUNITY THAT CAN MENTOR YOU, TALK TO THEM ABOUT FINDING SOMEBODY FOR YOU THAT CAN. IT REALLY COMES DOWN TO MINDSET. STAY FAITHFUL TO YOUR VISION. WORK HARD, TRAIN HARD, AND SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WITH THAT SAME AMBITION. SOCIAL MEDIA CAN BE A GREAT TOOL BOTH FOR KNOWLEDGE AND MOTIVATION, WHEN USED CORRECTLY. MY TEAM, THE KANSAS CITY FORCE, IS CURRENTLY MENTORING A 14yr old FEMALE ATHLETE WHO PLAYS ON THE BOYS FOOTBALL TEAM AT HER HIGH SCHOOL. SHE REACHED OUT TO ME ON IG AND NOW SHE IS AN HONORARY MEMBER OF OUR TEAM. I FEEL SO BLESSED TO BE EVEN A SMALL PART OF HER JOURNEY AND HONESTLY SHE MAKES US BETTER. SHE CHOSE AMBITION OVER FEAR AND I AM SO PROUD OF HER!
RS- How has playing football changed your life?
FOOTBALL HAS HELPED BUILD A CONFIDENCE IN ME THAT I DIDN’T EVEN KNOW I WAS LACKING.
IN FOOTBALL, THERE IS NOT MUCH ROOM FOR ERROR. IT’S NOT SOMETHING YOU CAN FAKE OR FINESSE.
YOU HAVE TO PUT IN THE WORK ON AND OFF THE FIELD. AND IT SHOWS.
FOOTBALL STRIPS AWAY ALL THE GLITZ AND GLAM FROM OTHER ASPECTS OF MY LIFE AND FORCES ME TO DIG DEEP MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY.
RS- Ok Alex, time for some rapid fire, Ready?
LET'S DO IT!
RS- M&M's or Skittles?
RS- Heels or Sneakers?
RS- Italian or Mexican "Food"?
RS-Sunrise or Sunsets?
RS- So introduce yourselves to our audience
FS- Marissa and Miriah Lopez The Football Sisters
RS- Who's the oldest of the sisters?
Marissa- I’m the oldest, I’m 27
Miriah- I’m 25
RS- What positions do you play?
FS- Marissa- Last season I played Safety and Cornerback, this season I’m playing Quarterback, Miriah- I play Running Back
RS- When did the love for football begin?
FS- Miriah- We’re from Texas so we’ve always loved the Dallas Cowboys, we’ve always loved football it started at a very young age. Marissa- We saw our cousin play in middle school, she was the first to play with the boys, so I asked my Mom if I could play and she said No (laugh), you can play any other sport but football!
RS- When did know you could actually play professional football?
FS- Marissa- We started following the league (LFL) a couple years ago. Miriah- We knew we wanted to live in L.A. so after we graduated college we tried out for the L.A. Temptations
RS -Since Mom said no to football what sports did you guys play in High School and youthball?
FS- Miriah- Volleyball, basketball, softball, ran track, even did some cheerleading, but no soccer though (laugh) Marissa- Probably the only sport we didn’t play.
RS -So other than your cousin you saw play in middle school, who else inspired you to play, male and female professionally, anyone from the LFL?
FS- We grew up liking Tony Romo (laugh) that’s our generation. Marissa- Our best friend played all through high school. Miriah- Seeing her was very inspiring, she was just tough all over, she was just so physical and we just looked up to her. Marissa- The LFL players that I really looked up to were “Ashley Salerno” and “Mo Gax”. Miriah- “NOS Johnson” who’s a running back. Marissa- We definitely went to the league wanting to be like them. Miriah- They definitely helped develop us into the athletes and football players we are today
RS -So what’s your tenure in the league now?
FS- Three years, we started back in 2018
RS- All three years in L.A.?
FS- Miriah- Yes with the L.A. Temptation which is now the L.A. Black Storm
RS- So this is the second time the league has gone through a rebranding, first the Lingerie Football League, to the Legends Football League, and now the X-League. How is that transition going and how do you feel about the rebranding?
FS- Marissa- We’re super excited about it, we think it’s going to be more family oriented, we definitely want to go that way, especially our brand too “The Football Sisters”. Miriah- we’re really excited about the X-League, I do think it’s geared more towards the athletes now with the rebranding, including the team name “Black Storm” all the names are more aggressive which brings out more athletes to our game.
RS- In the midst of this pandemic, what’s the chatter, do you believe you will still have a 2020 Season?
FS- Miriah- Fingers crossed! Marissa- We're still trying to figure out what’s going on as well, but we’re still training and we’re ready. Miriah- Our weekly zoom calls with our coaches are still happening. Marissa- We’re staying ready for anything!
RS- So what does training look like for you during these times, are you able to do any team activities outside of the zoom calls?
FS- Marissa- Yes, we have a field right down the street so we schedule practice everyday at 12pm. Miriah- And we go over our playbook. Marissa- We have individuals with our position coaches, so yes we are still training!
RS-What's your thoughts on the new WFLA league?
FS- We’re hoping it happens. Marissa- Of course more women playing football, getting paid to play is amazing, we have nothing but good things to say about any other leagues. Miriah- The WNFC, WFA, WFLA there are so many leagues that are out there. Marissa- We’re all just trying to do the same thing and that’s growing women’s sports and women’s football!
RS- What do think about the difference in he WFLA that they’re going 11 on 11 players and full pads like the men, compared to the more 7 on 7 style that you guys play?
FS- Marissa- It’s a different style. Miriah- Our game is a little bit faster we’ve noticed that, but both are still just amazing that women play.
RS- How to do feel about Santia Deck "Trackbaby" getting that big contract to become the face of the WFLA and how do you think it will even impact your league?
FS- Miriah- Awesome, she’s definitely bringing more awareness out there, she’s on tv and ESPN, so we’re rooting for her, it makes it better for all of us.
RS- If you can, tell us about your pay scale and how you guys are treating by the league and is it fair?
FS- Miriah- Let’s touch on something, nobody has been paid yet by any league so let’s start there! Marissa- No one has gotten paid, but you can see we love what we do, and we’re out there training everyday and trying to excel in what we’re doing. Miriah- And through our brand, “Football Sisters” we’re able to get endorsements and sponsors. Marissa- We also want to coach and teach other athletes how to do that as well, how to monetize outside of being on the field, so when the time comes that we get paid and finances are there we all know how to do it on a bigger scale, on the field and marketing.
RS- Where do see women's' football in next five years?
FS- Marissa- I definitely see us getting paid for it, I see it growing. In Florida they now have girls flag football teams in high school and now even collegiate flag football, it’s growing and its super exciting that we’re in this moment. Miriah- Football is for everyone, and we need to show that, we need to prove it every single time we step on the field!
RS- In closing, what would say to young girls that see you playing football and say they want to play professionally someday?
FS- Marissa- Hard work shows, you can’t cheat that so work hard! Miriah- Hard work and dedication, lead by action, pursue the passion, commit with heart in all that you do, and you’ll succeed!