Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-09-16
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Game on: Force looks to regain championship form
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

There are a lot of new faces this season on the Chicago Force roster, including recruits from local flag football leagues and several international players.

But the team carries the same drive to land back in the championship game of the Women's Football Alliance ( WFA ).

This is the team's 14th season and the Force has been nothing short of a perennial powerhouse. Chicago entered the season with a 108-25 overall record, and has already won its first two road games of the season. Just consider the power of this Force:

—The team has never had a losing season.

—The team has won eight division titles, three conference championships and one national championship.

—In the history of women's football, Chicago holds the record for most points scored in a season ( 771 ), largest margin of victory overall ( 3,728 ) and in a season ( 643 ) and largest margin of victory in a playoff game ( 84 ); it is also tied for most shutouts ( 55 games ).

"On paper, we look pretty good [this season], although you never have as much depth as you'd like," said Force owner Linda Bache. "If we can avoid injuries, I like our chances. Our goal every year is to win the national championship and that's an attainable goal for us."

But it certainly won't be an easy road. "This is by far the most competitive regular-season schedule we've had," Bache said. "We play three of the top teams in the league: Boston Renegades, Pittsburgh Passion and the defending champion DC Divas."

The Force home opener is Saturday, April 30, against the Columbus Comets. Kickoff at Lane Stadium on the campus of Lane Tech High School, 2501 W. Addison St., is at 5 p.m.

"We've lost a handful of veteran players for various reasons," Bache said. "Roz Bennett ( OL ) retired. Jeanette Gray is our all-world receiver and it's not yet clear if she will be able to play this season. Due to work conflicts running backs Cassey Brick and Brandy Hatcher are unlikely to play this season. And linebacker Melissa Nelson is in the police academy and thus unable to play.

"We've done a very good job bringing in more talent, but it's hard to replace that level of talent and experience."

Some key newcomers who have joined the Force from flag football are Tamika Robinson ( RB ), Emma Vanderheyden ( RB ), Ashlea Lane ( WR ) and Alli Alberts ( WR/S ). The team also has a contingent of seven international players, including second-year players Sonja Drangsholt ( Norway ), Anke Kutzscher ( Germany ) and Aynslee Rodger ( New Zealand ).

Drangsholt was the defensive rookie of the year last season.

Chicago also features Mariola Weiser ( Czech Republic ) and three Australians: Zoe Barnes, Daniela Stosic and Tracy Day.

"Football is an American sport that is becoming huge internationally," Bache said. "We are committed to being a leader in providing opportunities for women from all over the world to come to Chicago to receive top coaching and to play against elite competition."

The Force is once again coached by John Konecki, who is in his eighth season and boasts an .8625 winning percentage. The assistants are Mario Coleman, Bill Smith, Al Maldonado and Carlos Jones.

"We have greater team speed than ever before," Bache said. "The key for the new players is getting as many reps as possible to accelerate the learning curve, which means they have to attend practices, study film and prepare consistently."

The Force went 9-2 last season and fell one game short, losing in the conference championship to the eventual champion.

Quarterback Rasan Gore returns to lead the Force attack. She was the Conference Offensive Player of the Year in 2015, throwing 32 touchdowns and also rushing for 23 TDs.

"Our offense this year is designed to utilize our speed by forcing teams to play sideline to sideline," Bache said. "Gore is a threat on every play, so opposing defenses have to account for her at all times."

Last year's team MVP, Jamie Fornal, returns at receiver, kick/punt return and will also see some action on defense.

The backfield features two rookies: Tamika Robinson and Emma Vanderheyden. The offensive line has three returning starters: Dawn Pederson, Cat Converse and Leeann Bluske.

Second-year receiver Kelly Moore has looked very good thus far and newcomer Alli Alberts will have an impact at receiver and/or safety, Bache said. First-year Aussie import Zoe Barnes could get a lot of touches on offense and fellow Australians Tracy Day and Daniela Stosic can play offensive and defensive line. Sure-handed Carolyn Lee returns at receiver and is also helping out on defense. Last year's Most Improved Player, Jill Airaki, will be contributing on offense, defense and special teams.

"Our defense is also emphasizing speed this season," Bache said. "We have some key veteran talent returning in Kelsey Casey ( Defensive MVP ), Angel Smith ( Defensive Lineman of the Year ), Kim Marks, Elisha Okrey, Mary Choules, Jill Airaki, Dorian Bridges, Jamie Menzyk. Tami Engelman and Sonja Drangsholt. In addition, first-year linebacker Ericka Johnson will contribute and former Force defensive specialist Jen Dulski is back on the team and will be an impact player.

"We want special teams to be a contributing factor for us every week," Bache said. "Our kick coverage teams have to be solid and our kick return teams should provide good field position and hopefully some scores as well. Jamie Fornal is our veteran kick returner and she needs to take charge and be assertive."

The WFA is using a new playoff format this year and is dividing the league into three divisions. "We play in the top division which will feature the best 12 teams in the league," Bache said. "The second division is for teams from mid-size markets with average roster size and several years of experience. The third division is for newer teams with smaller rosters."

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Red Stars rout Sky Blue 4-1 2020-09-21 - In a National Women's Soccer League match, the Chicago Red Stars had three different players score as they defeated Sky Blue FC 4-1 ...

Gay News

Sky's season ends with loss to Connecticut 2020-09-16 - The Chicago Sky's season came to an end Sept. 15 with a 94-81 loss to the Connecticut Sun in the single-elimination first round ...

Gay News

Out Illinois State coach dives into new position 2020-09-16 - Logan Pearsall, an accomplished college diver who has since transitioned into master's level diving, was competing at the 2017 FINA World Masters Championships ...

Gay News

Big 10 decides to start football season Oct. 24 2020-09-16 - On Sept. 16, The Big Ten conference ( which includes schools such as Northwestern University, the Ohio State University and the University of ...

Gay News

WORLD Argentina pro-trans move, Canada survey, Uganda groups, sports items 2020-09-15 - Argentina President Alberto Fernandez is now requiring 1% of public sector jobs be set aside for transgender people, LGBTQ Nation noted, citing Pagina ...

Gay News

Red Stars lose opening Fall Series match 2020-09-13 - The Chicago Red Stars fell to the Washington Spirit 2-1 in their NWSL Fall Series opening match. Chicago's lone goal came from ...

Gay News

Red Stars player making history as part of men's team 2020-09-09 - Forward Yuki Nagasato is heading to Japan, where she will make history as the first woman playing professionally for Hayabusa Eleven, an amateur ...

Gay News

Red Stars to play on CBS and CBS All-Access Sept. 26 2020-09-06 - The National Women's Soccer League released the remaining games of the 2020 NWSL Fall Series. The Chicago Red Stars will host the ...

Gay News

Quigley becomes Sky's all-time leading scorer, team has donated $17K 2020-09-03 - During the Chicago Sky's Sept. 2 game against the Minnesota Lynx in Bradenton, Florida, Allie Quigley surpassed Sylvia Fowles for first on the ...

Gay News

Local LGBTQ players deliver message with social-justice T-shirts 2020-09-01 - David Rill and a few friends joined a new team this summer in the abbreviated Open Sunday Softball League, run by the Chicago ...


Copyright © 2020 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.