History of the D.C. Divas
The D.C. Divas are one of the most well-known and successful teams in women’s tackle football. Over its ten-year history the Divas have a NWFA Championship in 2006, seven division titles, and a 73-22 win-loss record. Last year former Diva Natalie Randolph made international news as one of the first women to ever coach a boy’s high school football team. Also in 2010, a USA team won the first-ever Women’s World Championship against international teams. Three Divas, Okiima Pickett, Michelle Riddle, and Donna Wilkinson, were on the gold-winning USA team.
The Divas are playing in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) league beginning in the 2011 season. The Divas made the switch from the Independent Women’s Football League (IWFL) with eight other top teams, including the Boston Militia, New York Sharks, and the Pittsburgh Passion. For the first time in women’s football, all the top-ranked teams will be in the same league—the WFA.
From 2007 to 2010 the Divas played in the IWFL. In 2010 the Divas finished the season as the Southeast Division champions with a 6-4 record. The division championship represented the seventh division title in the Divas ten-year history. The team advanced to the Eastern conference championship for the second straight year and the fifth time over all, losing to the Boston Militia who went on to win the IWFL Championship.
In 2009 it was a different story when the undefeated Divas traveled to Boston to play for the Eastern Division Championship. In one of the most thrilling moments in Divas history, Tara Stephenson returned a kickoff 85 yards for the game-winning touchdown against the Militia with less than a minute to play. The Divas advanced to the IWFL championship game in Texas against the Kansas City Tribe. The Divas led the contest 10-7 in the third quarter but eventually fell 21-18 in an exciting fourth-quarter duel.
The D.C. Divas made their full-contact football debut in 2001 in the Women’s National Football Association (NWFA). Composed of women from varied professional and athletic backgrounds, the team was the first of its kind in the Washington metropolitan area. The Divas improved as women’s football grew and won their first division championship in 2003. Division championships in 2004 and 2005 led to an undefeated season in 2006 in the NWFA which at that time had over 40 teams. The Divas defense was once again dominant, allowing just six points over the course of the first nine games and only twenty for the entire season. The Divas offense was just as imposing, rolling to a scoring average of 47 plus points per game. On Saturday, August 5th, 2006 in Pittsburgh, the Divas faced the Oklahoma City Lightning in the Championship Game. A total team effort led to a hard-fought 28-7 victory and the team's first World Championship.
The Divas moved to the IWFL in 2007 and were undefeated during the eight-game regular season. Combined with the 11-0 regular season in 2006, that was a record-setting 19 straight wins over the two seasons. The Divas 2008 season was an exciting one against outstanding competition from New York, Boston, and Pittsburgh. The 4-4 season during which all four exciting and hard-fought defeats come in the last two minutes kept the Divas from recording their fifth straight undefeated regular season.
Ardent fan Paul Hamlin purchased the team after the 2004 season with some encouragement from his daughter, quarterback Allyson Hamlin, and other players. In November 2004 the Divas partnered with syndicated radio personalities "The Sports Junkies" for a highly successful charity game pitting the men vs. women on a football field. Over 8,500 fans turned out, which is believed to be the largest crowd ever to watch a women's tackle football game on a team's home field. The following season the team moved its home field to the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex.
The D.C. Divas have
appeared on numerous national news outlets, including ESPN, PBS, and the
CBS Evening news. The team has been featured locally in the Gazette, the
Washington Post, and numerous other media outlets. The D.C. Divas players
remain a very active part of the community, logging hundreds of community
hours and helping to raise thousands of dollars in the last several years.
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