Photos and story by Chris Stone
As an AFC championship game was being played in Denver, the San Diego Surge women’s football team was gearing up for another title run with tryouts Sunday morning in San Diego.
In the shadow of Qualcomm Stadium, women ages 18 to 43 ran, jumped, caught and threw in an attempt to prove that they have what it takes to compete in full contact football. The average age of those trying out is 26.
About 10 veterans joined 45 others who were trying to impress coaches enough to make the team, according to team owner Christina Suggett, who bought the team in 2011. About 10 players won’t make the cut.
The Surge, which plays home games at Santana High School, won the women’s version of the Super Bowl in 2012, beating the Chicago Force 40-36 for the Women’s Football Alliance championship. The semipro league now has 52 teams.
Coaches are looking for athleticism, a willingness to learn and determination not to quit, Suggett said. Potential players now compete on college basketball, track and softball teams.
On March 1 and 2, chosen players will attend a “very intense” mini-camp in El Centro. Their season starts the first week of April.
Surge veteran player Knengi Martin, a coach at San Diego High School, says her life is “football, football, football.
Veteran Tanya Paaluhi, who has been playing woman’s football for six years, said her whole family players football in various cities.
Paaluhi, from Los Angeles, sums up her love of football: “I love hitting.”