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Female Professional Sports are Worth the Watch

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Female professional sports are underrated. Sure, women might not be as strong as some of the men or jump as high, but they play just as hard and want to win just as much. Most people aren’t even aware of the professional leagues that women play in. Soccer has the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL). Basketball has Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA). Football has the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA). Softball has the National Pro Fast Pitch (NFP, previously Women’s Pro Softball). Hockey has the National Women’s Hockey League (NWHL).

The Women’s National Basketball Association consists of 12 teams from across the country.

Tip-off of Game 5 of the 2017 WNBA Finals (courtesy of WNBA.com)

Recent champions included Phoenix Mercury (2014), Minnesota Lynx (2015 & 2017), and the Los Angeles Sparks (2016). These three teams have pretty much dominated the league for the past few years thanks to players like Candace Parker, Nneka Ogwumike, Brittney Griner, Diana Taurasi, Sylvia Fowles and Maya Moore.

Despite these women killing it on the court, the fan base is small. Did you know we have a team in DC? The Mystics made it to the semifinals! If they had won that series it would have been the first time in Mystics history that we would have made it to the finals. The season kicks off again in April, be sure to check these ladies out!

The National Women’s Soccer League was formed in 2012 after several other attempts at

The Portland Thorns celebrate winning the 2017 championship (courtesy of nwslsoccer.com)

forming a women’s professional soccer league in the U.S. The league consists of 10 teams from across the country. The most recent champions are the Portland Thorns, who consist of two US Women’s National Soccer team players (Allie Long and Linsey Horan) and several national team members who were not on the roster for the October friendlies (Tobin Heath, Meghan Klingenberg, and Emily Sonnett).

The DC team is the Washington Spirit. Last season didn’t go as well as expected, winning only 5 of the 24 games. However, during the 2016 season, the Spirit made it to the championship game, losing to the Western New York Flash because of penalty kicks. The Spirit also acquired Mallory Pugh, the number 1 recruit out of this years NWSL Draft. Pugh had a big season, scoring 6 goals in 16 games. Needless to say, the Spirit has the talent, they just need to work on their chemistry and focus on results.

The Women’s Football Association is a profession tackle football league for women across the country. The league has 65 teams for the 2017 season across 3 divisions in 33 states and Quebec,

DC Divas offensive line sets up against the Atlanta Phoenix (courtesy of wfaprofootball.com)

Canada. The most recent champions for the top division are the Dallas Elite who defeated the Boston Renegades, 31-21.

 

The DC Divas are our local WFA team. They are 6-time division champions and 2-time national champions. The D.C. Divas play local, on their home field at Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex. The won the national championship in 2015 and 2016, but their reign finally fell this season to the Boston Renegades in a 24-27 loss.

The National Fastpitch, formally the Women’s Pro Softball League, is the only women’s professional softball league in the United States. There are 6 teams: The Akron Racers, Chicago Bandits, Shougang Eagles, Scrap Yard Dawgs, Texas Charge and USSSA Pride. The season is during the summer, from June through August. The most recent champions are the Scrap Yard Dawgs beating the USSSA Pride, 2-1.

Kelsey Nunley, (USSSA Pride) winds up for the pitch (courtesy of profastpitch.com)

The Shougang Eagles are a new addition to the league this year. The team is managed by the Chinese National Softball team and a majority of the team are based out of China, with one player from the USA. They are playing to improve their skills and get better for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The rules of professional softball are very similar to those of professional baseball but there are a few differences. For example, they only play 7 innings. The NFP is in partnership with the MLB and sometimes has games on TV. They also are on mlb.com and NFPTV.

The National Women’s Hockey League was founded in 2015 and is the only professional women’s hockey league in the United States. There are 4 teams: Boston Pride, Buffalo Beauts, Connecticut Whale, Metropolitan Riveters. Since all the teams are located in New England, that is where all the games are played. Women’s professional sports never receive the support the men’s leagues do but the NWHL struggles, even more, to gain national support because the teams are located in such a small part of the country. The season has just started and will run through March.

Cydney Roesler, defender for the Connecticut Whale, goes to bock a shot (courtesy of www.nwhl.zone)

Currently, the Riveters are in first place, with the Beauts and Whales tied for second, and the Pride rounding the league out in 3rd place.

The NWHL prides itself on being the first professional women’s hockey league in North America to pay its players. The National Women’s Hockey League Players’ Association (NWHLPA) was created during the inaugural season in 2015. The league also has a transgender player policy, which states that the players must identify as females and the athlete’s testosterone levels must remain in within the typical levels of a female athlete for as long as they wish to compete in the league.

All this action happens, all these amazing women play their hearts out, and you could be there to witness it all.

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Female Professional Sports are Worth the Watch