WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A West Palm Beach women’s football team loves winning, but it’s what the team is doing while on the field that’s inspiring others.
SPECIAL SECTION: Inspiring South Florida
“It’s a women’s tackle football team full contact, and we are part of a big league that’s a national league,” said Rebecca Hargreaves, a player on the West Palm Beach Coyotes team.
The Coyotes are fierce.
“It’s almost the same as college or NFL rules. There may be a couple that is different, but basically, we’re playing exactly the way the guys do, full shoulder pads, helmet,” Hargreaves said. “We don’t get paid to play at all. This is all on our own expense, so we’ll do sponsorships, fundraisers,” Hargreaves said.
The team is inspiring others.
“The majority of us are like mid-20s and it went as high as 50. But when we are out there on the field, honestly, you can’t tell the age. Everyone is hustling. Everyone is doing their part,” said Ace Ware, a player on the West Palm Beach Coyotes.
The women are proving they can have jobs, a family and still make time to play a sport they love.
“I go to work and then I leave and go have some fun. I go with my teammates, and I go and have practice. I want other women here to understand that it doesn’t have to be so serious. You can have something to look forward to after you have worked the eight-hour shift,” Ware said.
The West Palm Beach Coyotes practice on different fields in Palm Beach County, including at Howard Park in West Palm Beach.
“Our coach’s name is Paul Gonsalves, he’s very supportive,” Ware said. “If we are laughing, and if he stops in the middle and says take a lap, we are no longer laughing, we are taking a lap.”
The players are learning how to support and encourage each other.
“It taught me a lot of communication skills. I am one of the captains. I had to pick back up on my leadership, understand how to talk to my teammates,” Ware said.
“It’s something that most women have not gotten a chance to play, so to be able to bring that to Palm Beach County, where there’s also a lot of flag football, it’s amazing because hopefully, it will inspire not only other women but then their daughters and young women to eventually play when they get older,” Hargreaves said.