Coach Tessa Nelson

Coach Tessa Nelson

Season(s) Coaching the Divas: 2010-2017
Defensive Line/Special Teams Coach – 2017
Special Teams Coach – 2013-2016
Defensive Line Coach – 2012
Assistant Coach – 2011
Assistant Defensive Line Coach – 2010

Playing Experience:
D.C. Divas, 2002-2009

Coach Tessa Nelson Q&A

Why did you decide to get into coaching after your playing career was over?
I played eight seasons for the Divas. I started at linebacker and played three seasons there, but then I tore my ACL. That led me to be closer to the line, so I played my last five seasons on the defensive line, which was great as well.

It has always been in my blood to lead, in any way – on the field or off the field. Once I realized that my body could no longer take the pounding of playing football, coaching was the next best thing I could do to stay close to the game. Football is like an addiction. You can’t just leave it, you’ve got to be around it.

What has been your biggest adjustment from playing women’s football to coaching it?
The emotions! You have to channel the emotions you feel into a positive statement, so that your player understands what you’re saying and not what you’re feeling. That has been the biggest challenge for me. I could unleash a lot of the emotion I felt on the field when I was a player. As a coach, I need to relay that emotion to my players in a way that they will understand. It is a totally different beast.

What is your overall coaching philosophy? How would you like your players to play the game?
I tell my players: Pride, Respect, and Finish. Pride: take pride in what you do. Respect: respect each other, your opponents, and the game. And Finish: no matter what the outcome is, finish and never quit. As long as we finish together, regardless of what the outcome is, that’s a win.