Team will hold tryouts Saturday and again next month
Asia Wisecarver played football with the boys in middle school, growing up in the Stevenson-Carson School District.
It was a blast, she said. She loved the experience. Still, she pretty much figured there was no future for her in the sport.
Until, when she was in college, she saw a small ad for women’s football — full contact women’s football.
“I’m just going to go and try out and see what happens,” she said.
That decision was a game-changer.
She became the team’s quarterback. She had caught the football bug again.
This time, it stuck.
Now living in Vancouver, Wisecarver has been named the head coach of the Portland Fighting Shockwave, a full-contact women’s semi pro football team that is part of the Women’s Football Alliance. The team originated in 2002.
Later this week, and again in December, the Fighting Shockwave will be holding tryouts for the 2020 season.
Wisecarver is always on the lookout for women who want a new adventure. There are athletes in their 20s and there are athletes in their 50s who play.
“Usually, I try to say, ‘Hey, my name is Asia. I coach a women’s football team. Are you interested? Or, ‘Hey, you look like an athlete. You have any interest in learning about women’s football?’”
Crystal Steinmueller won a state championship as a softball player at Prairie High School in 2000. After high school, after college, she still had the itch to compete. But football?
“I was a little scared,” she acknowledged.
Women’s full-contact football tryouts
The Portland Fighting Shockwave will hold tryouts at combines on Nov. 16 and Dec. 7 at the Wilson High School gym in Portland (1151 SW Vermont Street). Cost is $25 for one or both, and that includes a T-shirt. Pre-registration is at 9:45 a.m. both days, with the combine beginning at 10 a.m.
For more information: https://www.portlandfightingshockwave.com/
She watched practices at first before giving it a shot.
“I was hooked,” said Steinmueller, who now works for Battle Ground Public Schools. “It’s a big-time commitment, but it’s super fun. I met some really great ladies playing.”
There are very few sports for women to play that allow for so much contact.
“There are not a lot of opportunities to lay somebody out on the field and not get in trouble,” she said with a laugh.
Oh, and not-so-coincidentally, Steinmueller played linebacker.
Steinmueller no longer plays the game, but she remains involved with the Fighting Shockwave, volunteering on game days. And she, much like Wisecarver, are ambassadors of the sport, too.
“When other people hear you play football, they say, ‘Oh, I could never do that.’ But they can,” Steinmueller said. “We take everybody with all skill levels.”
That, too, is one of the draws to the game, according to Wisecarver. Most girls did not grow up playing football, so many women come into the league as novices. That makes it so intriguing to coach in the league, she said.
“I like the intellectual side of the game,” she said.
So when it was time for her to stop playing, she found coaching.
“Coaching women is a unique opportunity. It is all over the board in terms of their level of experience. It’s so rewarding. I really love the building of fundamentals and giving people the opportunity to do something they always dreamed of but never thought it was a possibility.”
Steinmueller said it is more than just a game. It is a gathering for friends.
“No matter what your hesitation is, come out and give it a try,” Steinmueller said. “I met some really great women through football.”