Nov 16, 2020
"BANG BANG DEFIANCE GANG"...That's the war cry of the San Diego Defiance, a women’s flag football team out of San Diego,California. The San Diego Defiance is taking the women’s flag football world by storm by breaking barriers on the stigma concerning gender equality and letting people know that women call ball out just like men.
The team first came about when the team captain, Sandi Dodd, was asked to be an alternative for a friend in a co-ed flag football game. After playing that game and being better then she expected, she became interested. An all women flag football tournament presented itself and she knew she wanted to participate and bring along women who could experience the thrill of flag football.
“We reached out to some of the girls from the other teams and some girls from the community that we knew liked to play football and the team just came together for this one tournament. We trained for about a month and a half to learn the schemes and went to the tournament and the girls balled out”
With unexpected success coming from the tournament, the women were wanting more and wanted to play more football. The bond that was created just off that tournament alone and the love of football motivated this group of women to create, what is now the San Diego Defiance flag football team.
Following the first tournament, the San Diego Defiance experienced their first taste of sweet victory after going undefeated to win the Turkey Bowl in California. This was significant because the tournament was for charity as well as the team's first tournament win. “Wining was great,” said head coach Nick “Turtle” Turnowicz. “To bring those schemes, tactics and knowledge and put it into a group of women and watch it unfold on the field and result in success is incredible”.
In addition to their victory at the Turkey Bowl tournament, the team becomes victorious once more in the Tournament of Legends in Nevada. Due to just having a child, both captain Sandi and head coach were unable to be there but the ladies got the job done. “The girls went out there without us and all the hard work that we put in, they were able to execute without us even being there and it's a testament to how amazing the girls are on this squad”.
With the massive emergence of women’s flag football in the west coast and across the country, head coach Turtle talks about breaking the stigma of gender equality and how rewarding it is to coach women’s flag football.
“The main thing is to drop the stigma of football being a man’s sport or anything being a man’s sport. To me it's a sport that athletes play and it doesn’t matter what it is. Lose that dialogue in general would be massive”.
“The passion that these women show when they are playing is more than just making the play, more than just scoring the touchdowns, every play they made out on that field you can see that they're not just fighting to win the game but they are fighting for equality.”
Because of the emergence of women’s flag football across the country, women now have a platform to showcase their skills and are eager to learn the game.
“We didn’t have that much opportunity in the past to play because we were women. More recently, we have had a lot more opportunities so we are hungry to learn because now we have it and so let's make something of it. It's a different type of hungry there now.” Sandi stated.
As the fight for gender equality continues and the emergence of women’s flag football is expanding all across the country, the San Diego Defiance continues to fight hard on and off the field defying the odds and standing up for gender equality in sports and life.
Check out the video below for the full interview