Washington, DC – In a historic first for women’s football, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama congratulated the D.C. Divas on winning the 2015 Women’s Football Alliance national championship in a White House ceremony yesterday. It is the first time that a women’s football championship team has been recognized at a White House event attended by the President of the United States.
The seeds for this groundbreaking moment were sown at last year’s White House Easter Egg Roll, where several members of the D.C. Divas met First Lady Michelle Obama. Wide receiver Ashley Whisonant and linebacker Tia Watkins invited Mrs. Obama to attend a Divas game. The First Lady responded, “I don’t know if I’ll be able to make it to a game, but if you ladies win the championship, we’ll have you out to the White House to celebrate!”
On August 8, 2015, the D.C. Divas defeated the Dallas Elite, 30-26, to capture the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) national championship in Los Angeles. True to their word, the Obamas invited the entire D.C. Divas team to the White House on March 28, 2016, to pay tribute to them on their national championship victory.
Over 40 Divas players, coaches, and staff members were shown around the White House before gathering in the State Dining Room for the ceremony. After much anticipation, the President and First Lady entered the room to thunderous applause. President Obama addressed the team and acknowledged his wife’s pledge, saying, “My wife Michelle promised you that we would invite you here if you won the title, and I’m happy to say we have kept our promise!”
“I want to wish you all congratulations on winning the women’s football championship. You have made us all very proud,” President Obama continued. “I wish the Divas the best of luck this season as well, but unfortunately, we won’t be in the White House to recognize the champions next year!”
The President and First Lady greeted team owner Paul Hamlin and head coach Alison Fischer, who presented them with the WFA championship trophy. The Obamas then took a group photo with the team.
After the photo, both the President and the First Lady greeted the Divas individually. President Obama shook hands with several members of the team, many of whom showed him their championship rings. The President complimented them, smiling and saying, “Hey, those are tremendous! Those are some very nice rings!”
As President Obama moved toward the door, he called back several times with a laugh, “Come on, Michelle! Time to move along!” Mrs. Obama, however, remained in the middle of the room, dispensing handshakes and hugs to every player who wanted one. The Obamas finally left the State Dining Room to the same level of applause with which they entered.
2016 marks the first time in women’s football history that a sitting president has personally recognized a championship team by attending a White House event in their honor. The D.C. Divas would like to extend their sincere thanks to the President and First Lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, for this tremendous event and for their outstanding support of women’s football.
The National Conference champion D.C. Divas (11-0) will take on the American Conference champion Dallas Elite (11-0) for the 2015 Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) national championship on August 8.
What: 2015 WFA National Championship Game
Who: D.C. Divas (11-0) vs. Dallas Elite (11-0)
When: Kickoff at approximately 7:00 PM PST (10:00 PM EST), August 8, 2015 (shortly after the conclusion of the 2015 Alliance Bowl)
Where: Los Angeles Southwest College Stadium, 1600 West Imperial Highway, Los Angeles, CA (main entrance located off of Western Avenue)
The 2015 WFA National Championship Game is the culmination of three major events held at Southwest College on August 8, featuring the best in women’s football! The day kicks off at 10:00 AM with the WFA All-American Game, featuring the very best women’s football players and coaches from all across the United States.
At 4:00 PM, the 2015 Alliance Bowl kicks off, with the Atlanta Phoenix battling the Central Cal War Angels in the WFA’s premier postseason bowl game. At the conclusion of the Alliance Bowl, the D.C. Divas and Dallas Elite will finish off a women’s football triple-header as they battle for the 2015 WFA national championship.
Tickets for the 2015 WFA National Championship Game can be purchased ahead of time online at www.wfastore.net. Tickets are $20 and include admission to the 2015 Alliance Bowl. Fans call also purchase an all-day ticket for $25 that includes admission to the All-American Game, the Alliance Bowl, and the National Championship Game.
The 2015 WFA National Championship Game will be streamed online by PSB Media. More details to come, or visit their website for the latest information.
Washington, DC – Games like this are what women’s football is all about. Two highly-rated teams collide in a game with major playoff implications when the D.C. Divas square off against the Cleveland Fusion Saturday night.
The D.C. Divas (6-0) are ranked #1 in the Women’s Football Alliance and hold the top ranking in the sport for the first time since 2011. The Divas kept their undefeated record alive last Saturday with an impressive 54-0 road victory over the Atlanta Phoenix. The Divas overcame three uncharacteristic first half fumbles and dominated play coming out of the halftime break to earn a hard-fought victory.
“We didn’t start out the way we wanted to or planned,” Divas head coach Alison Fischer confessed. “We got off to a very slow start in the first half. We had some turnovers and had a little bit of trouble running the ball. But we picked it up offensively towards the end of the first half and into the second half.”
The Divas’ defense set the tone for the game by recovering seven Atlanta turnovers, including five in the third quarter alone. The Divas have held five of their six opponents this season to less than seven points.
“Defensively, I thought we did pretty well, and that kept us in the game. The defense held when they needed to,” Fischer said. “Our defense continues to gel and get better every week, and that’s what we’re looking for. As long as they continue to hustle and get to the ball, we feel confident they’re going to make plays.”
The Divas now return home for their final two games of the regular season, including Saturday’s clash with the Cleveland Fusion. The Fusion (5-1) are ranked #5 in the Women’s Football Alliance and have historically been rated as one of the top teams in women’s football, year in and year out. Yet despite their storied histories and close geographical proximity, the Divas and Fusion have only met one time, over ten years ago: an 18-0 Divas victory on April 16, 2005.
Offensively, the 2015 Fusion have some outstanding playmakers, led by Beth Andrasik, who in her fourth season has developed into one of the top quarterbacks in women’s football. She has thrown for over 1,000 passing yards each of the past two seasons and has improved every year under center. Andrasik threw 19 touchdown passes to 13 interceptions in 2013 and improved on that ratio last season when she tossed 20 touchdowns against just seven picks. So far this year, Andrasik has 14 touchdown passes to only two interceptions.
Andrasik’s emergence as a top quarterback in women’s football has coincided with the establishment of third-year Fusion wideout Maria Jackson as one of the best receivers in the women’s game. Jackson leads the WFA in touchdown receptions with 14, already setting a career high in that category and reaching the double-digit mark in touchdown scores for the third straight year. In addition to leading the league in touchdown receptions, Jackson ranks second in the league in overall catches and receiving yards behind Kansas City’s Liz Sowers.
The passing connection of Andrasik and Jackson has been complemented nicely by the running of newcomer Mercedes Ephraim. Ephraim is currently leading the WFA in rushing with 921 rushing yards on the season. Overall, these three standouts have helped the Fusion compile one of the top scoring offenses in the WFA.
On the other side of the ball, Cleveland has been very solid defensively, boasting the #2-ranked defense in women’s football. The Fusion’s defense is ranked behind only the defense of the D.C. Divas, making Saturday’s game a clash between two of the best defensive units in the sport.
“They’re a very solid team,” Coach Fischer noted. “They have some really good athletes, and they’re very disciplined and well-coached. They’ve got a very high ranking, and they deserve it.”
The contest Saturday will largely decide the Mid-Atlantic Division championship. If the Divas want to extend their women’s football record and capture their 12th division title in 13 years, they will need to give their best performance against an elite opponent.
“We expect this to be a real dogfight,” Fischer continued. “We know they are going to bring their A-game. We’re going to give it right back to them, and it should be a great game.”
The playoff implications for this contest are enormous, as Coach Fischer well knows. “It looks like the winner of this game will likely have home field advantage for the first two rounds of the playoffs, and the loser might have to travel immediately in the first round. You always want to be at home during the playoffs and not make that road trip, so this game is absolutely huge as far as playoff seeding is concerned.”
In their quest to obtain home-field advantage through the first two rounds of the WFA playoffs, the Divas have one distinct edge over the Fusion: the Divas get to play this critical match in D.C. “It’s great playing at home,” Fischer said. “It’s a huge advantage and we’re happy to have this game here.”
The Divas’ 2015 Homecoming contest is tomorrow night, Saturday, June 6, against the Cleveland Fusion. Kickoff will be at 6 PM at the Prince George’s Sports Complex in Landover. Homecoming festivities will be highlighted by a halftime ceremony honoring the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame Class of 2015: Tessa Nelson, Gayle Dilla, Vickie Lucas, and Coach Ezra Cooper. Single-game tickets are $12 with discounts for seniors, students, and service members. Buy your tickets online today!
Washington, DC – The second half of the D.C. Divas’ historic 15th season is set to begin, and the challenges are getting bigger as the season moves along.
The D.C. Divas will make their home debut on Saturday, May 16, at 6 PM against the Columbus Comets at the Prince George’s Sports Complex in Landover. The D.C. Divas are undefeated at the midway point of the regular season and are ranked #1 in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) for the first time since 2011.
The Divas (4-0) claimed a statement victory the last time they took the field, going on the road to defeat the Boston Renegades, 32-27. The Renegades’ roster was stocked with players and coaches that won last year’s WFA championship, but the Divas went into a hostile environment and became the first team to win a game in Boston in six years. The victory in Boston stamped the Divas as legitimate national championship contenders at the halfway mark of the 2015 season and handed them the #1 ranking in the sport.
The second half of the season, however, will present even bigger obstacles for the Divas. Although the Divas have claimed hard-fought victories over the Columbus Comets and Boston Renegades so far this season, the back half of the Divas’ schedule includes rematches with both of those teams as well as contests against two more strong opponents, the Atlanta Phoenix and the Cleveland Fusion. Moreover, the Divas now have a target squarely placed on their backs; the Divas’ strong start and high ranking ensures that all of their opponents for the rest of the year will be appropriately motivated when the Divas line up against them.
The D.C. Divas will square off against the fearless Columbus Comets Saturday in the Divas’ 2015 home opener. The Comets (0-4) are winless on the season so far, but this is not reflective of their talent; it is largely due to their incredibly tough strength of schedule so far this season. Despite their overall record, the Comets are currently ranked #13 in the WFA and remain a strong contender to qualify for the WFA playoffs, thanks largely to their willingness to play one of the toughest schedules in women’s football.
The Divas defeated the Comets in the 2015 season opener, a 40-6 victory in Columbus on April 11. The Divas played a strong first half before struggling with penalties after intermission.
“It felt good to get the win,” Divas head coach Alison Fischer remarked. “I thought we started off pretty well overall in the first half, and then in the second half, we seemed to lose focus a bit, played sloppy, and made more mistakes. We have to clean that up going into this game.”
The Divas were led offensively in the first Columbus contest by Kentrina Wilson, who caught seven passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns. Ashley Whisonant also added two touchdown receptions against the Comets.
“I thought we moved the ball pretty well offensively in the first half. But we had a couple of drops and penalties that called some plays back, so we definitely have some things to work on,” Fischer cautioned.
Defensively, the Divas put together an excellent team effort, with 20 different players registering tackles. Trigger McNair (8.5) and Tia Watkins (seven) led the team in tackles, while Cherre Marshall (four tackles for loss) provided constant pressure. “On the defensive side, I think we played pretty well,” Coach Fischer said. “We made some mistakes on that side of the ball too, but they overcame it because they showed so much hustle in getting to the ball. When we play with that kind of effort, we can make up for some of those mistakes.”
“We need some work on special teams, too,” Fischer added. “We have a lot of new folks playing on special teams, and we need to teach them the rules a little bit better and get them up to speed so that we can eliminate some of the penalties and other mistakes we made in the first game against Columbus.”
But overall, Coach Fischer is hoping to see similar energy from her team in their rematch against Columbus. “I was pleased with the effort. We showed a lot of hustle, so we were pleased with that,” she said.
Because the Central Maryland Seahawks forfeited a scheduled home-and-home series with the Divas, the Divas are making their latest home debut in franchise history on May 16. The team hopes to make up for lost time by putting on a good display of football. “It’s always good to be home. We are looking forward to being there,” Coach Fischer said. “We have some great fans, so it should be a terrific night of football all around.”
The Divas’ 2015 home opener is tomorrow night, Saturday, May 16, against the Columbus Comets. Kickoff will be at 6 PM at Prince George’s Sports Complex in Landover. The Divas are offering a special three-game season ticket package, but it is only available until kickoff tomorrow night. This is your last chance to purchase season tickets for the 2015 D.C. Divas, so make sure to reserve your season or single-game tickets today.
Washington, DC – In conjunction with the team’s historic 15th season, the D.C. Divas are proud to announce the formation of the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame. This new Hall of Fame will showcase the best and brightest players, coaches, and staff members who have contributed to the D.C. Divas organization throughout the team’s history.
Four new members will be inducted annually into the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame. Most importantly, like any true Hall of Fame, members of the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame will be selected through a voting process, and Divas fans and alumni will be the ones casting the votes!
D.C. Divas Hall of Famers will be elected through a two-tiered voting process. Current and former players, coaches, and staff members of the D.C. Divas in good standing will conduct a separate alumni voting process and elect three individuals into the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame. However, one member of this year’s D.C. Divas Hall of Fame class will be chosen by you…the fans!
Over the next month, we will announce the 20 finalists for the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame fan vote. These finalists have been selected by the D.C. Divas front office and represent some of the best eligible players, coaches, and staff members in Divas history. After the 20 finalists have been announced, fans will be given an opportunity to vote for the one finalist they think should be elected to the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame. The finalist who gathers the most votes will be introduced as the Divas’ newest Hall of Fame inductee!
For more information about the eligibility requirements and voting process of the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame, please visit the Hall of Fame page here on DCDivas.com. Stay tuned over the next few weeks as we reveal the 20 fan finalists for the D.C. Divas Hall of Fame!
Washington, DC – The D.C. Divas announced their 2015 league schedule today, and as usual, it features some of the strongest competition in women’s football. The Divas traditionally play a very challenging schedule, ranking first or second in overall strength of schedule each of the last six seasons, and the 2015 schedule once again brings some of the best teams in women’s football to D.C. to face the Divas.
The Divas’ home opener will take place on April 25 when they host the Central Maryland Seahawks. It will be the Seahawks’ first trip to the nation’s capital. The Divas faced the Seahawks in Baltimore in 2013 and triumphed in a hard-fought contest. After a one-year hiatus, Central Maryland will return to the field for another regional matchup with the Divas.
On May 16, the Divas will host their long-time rivals, the Columbus Comets. The Comets are one of the strongest teams in women’s football, finishing the 2014 season ranked #7 in the sport. It was Columbus’ second straight top ten finish in the national rankings; the Comets ended the 2013 season ranked at #10.
The Divas’ regular season schedule concludes with two home games in June. On June 6, the Cleveland Fusion will come to D.C., the first meeting between the Divas and Fusion in a decade. Cleveland and D.C. have only met once previously, when the Divas narrowly edged the Fusion in the team’s 2005 season opener. Cleveland finished last season ranked #5 in the nation, their second straight top ten finish after ending the 2013 season ranked at #9.
One week later, the Divas’ 2015 regular season schedule concludes with a June 13 home game against Boston. This offseason, the Boston Militia organization was discontinued, but the Militia players quickly rallied together to start a new team and are eager to defend their national championship. For the second straight season, the Divas will end their regular season with a home game against a Boston club, and this new team promises step right into the Militia’s shoes as one of the top teams in women’s football and the Divas’ biggest archrival.
The Divas will open their historic 15th season on the road in Columbus on April 11. The Divas will also travel to Boston and Central Maryland on consecutive weekends on May 2 and May 9. Finally, the Divas will head south on May 30 for a contest against the powerful Atlanta Phoenix. It will be the Divas’ first appearance in Atlanta since facing the Atlanta Xplosion in a playoff game in 2007.
Season tickets for the D.C. Divas’ 2015 campaign are now available for purchase online. The Divas offer affordable prices with discounts for seniors, students, and service members. With one of the most talented teams in women’s football playing top-flight competition, it’s an opportunity no D.C. sports fan will want to miss!
2015 D.C. Divas WFA Schedule
April 11 – @Columbus Comets
April 25 – Central Maryland Seahawks
May 2 – @Boston TBA
May 9 – @Central Maryland Seahawks
May 16 – Columbus Comets
May 30 – @Atlanta Phoenix
June 6 – Cleveland Fusion
June 13 – Boston TBA
June 27 – National Conference Quarterfinal Round
July 11 – National Conference Semifinal Round
July 25 – National Conference Championship Game
August 8 – WFA National Championship Game
Washington, DC – Willie Bennett, Eric Evans, and Greg Gaskins have been named as coordinators on the D.C. Divas 2015 coaching staff, the team announced today. The announcement was made by Divas head coach Alison Fischer. Bennett, Evans, and Gaskins have all served on Coach Fischer’s staff in previous years, and all three have outstanding track records in women’s football.
Willie Bennett has agreed to return for his second season as the defensive coordinator of the D.C. Divas. Bennett played college football at Hampton University before embarking on his coaching career. He coached college football for 12 seasons at Alabama A&M and North Carolina A&T. While at Alabama A&M, Bennett coached Robert Mathis, the NFL’s 2013 AFC Defensive Player of the Year and the all-time career sack leader for the Indianapolis Colts.
Last season, the D.C. Divas defense improved greatly under Coach Bennett’s tutelage. The Divas surrendered fewer than 24 points per game last season after giving up 32 points per game the year before Bennett’s arrival. Coach Bennett is currently an assistant athletic director for the D.C. Public Schools (DCPS) system.
“Coach Bennett has a history of building and implementing successful defenses everywhere he has coached, and his defensive system is a perfect fit for the D.C. Divas,” Coach Fischer said. “I look forward to working with Coach Bennett again this year and expect our defense to thrive under his leadership.”
On the offensive side of the football, Coach Eric Evans and Coach Greg Gaskins will be co-offensive coordinators for the Divas this season. “We are very fortunate to have these two outstanding coaches leading our potent offense in 2015,” Fischer noted.
Eric Evans played quarterback at Morgan State University. He was the Divas’ quarterbacks coach in 2009 and 2011 before serving as offensive coordinator in 2012 and 2013. The Divas’ offense exploded during Evans’ two-year, 20-game stint as coordinator; the offense topped 34 points in 17 of those contests and surpassed 40 points 13 times. After a one-year hiatus, Evans has agreed to return to the Divas as a co-coordinator in 2015, his fifth season with the team.
Greg Gaskins has also earned a promotion to the co-coordinator role after coaching the Divas’ offensive line the past two seasons. Coach Gaskins played on the offensive line at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a teammate of future Philadelphia Eagles running back LeSean McCoy. Under Coach Gaskins’ leadership, the Divas’ offensive line has played an integral role in the team’s offensive success the past two seasons. He currently coaches at Gonzaga College High School in northwest DC.
Washington, DC – The D.C. Divas announced today that Alison Fischer will return as their head coach for the 2015 season. It will be Fischer’s fourth season as the team’s head coach and her 14th season overall with the Divas as both a coach and a player.
Alison Fischer first joined the Divas in the team’s inaugural season in 2001, earning praise as a standout defensive back for ten seasons. She was recognized as a leader on the field by her teammates and was a three-time team captain. After her retirement, Fischer was hired in 2012 as the head coach of the D.C. Divas, becoming one of the few female head coaches in women’s football.
“I’m thrilled that Alison Fischer has agreed to continue as the head coach for the D.C. Divas,” said D.C. Divas owner Paul Hamlin. “As a former top player for the Divas, she brings skill, knowledge, and enthusiasm for women’s football that is unparalleled.”
Fischer has already experienced remarkable success as the head coach of the Divas from 2012-2014. She ranks second in team history in wins as a head coach, behind only legendary former Divas coach Ezra Cooper. In her first three seasons on the Divas’ sidelines, Coach Fischer has led the Divas to three division titles and three top-five finishes in the final women’s football national rankings.
“I am honored and humbled to continue to serve as head coach of the D.C. Divas,” Fischer said. “The 2015 season promises to be an exciting year, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this storied franchise.”