This professional football team is challenging assumptions about women in sports.

It may be spring, but there's one football league already back on the gridiron.

The teams are athletic.


All images and GIFs via Upworthy/YouTube.

The runs are epic.

And the players are women.

Don't worry, that's a look Callie Brownson is all too familiar with.

It's the face she gets when she tells people she plays women's professional football. Most people don't expect it, but Callie and her teammates hope to change that.

Callie Brownson gets ready to take the field.

Callie is a wide receiver for the D.C. Divas, a team in the Women's Football Alliance.

The professional league includes 45 teams, divided into two conferences and four divisions, similar to the NFL. The teams play an eight-game season, followed by intense conference playoffs and a national championship.

In 2015, the D.C. Divas went undefeated.

Despite their prowess on the field, some people still have their doubts.

A women's football league challenges many outdated notions of femininity, athleticism, and strength. No matter how popular women's sports get, the athletes remain hyper-sexualized and undercut at every turn — like this piece last year from FIFA about soccer forward and children's book author Alex Morgan, calling her "a talented goalscorer with a style that is very easy on the eye and good looks to match."


The athletes in the Women's Football Alliance are playing a game they love, and they compete with ferocity. The blocks are hard and loud, the passes are on point, the games are just as competitive and fast-paced as any other semi-pro league, and none of the women have time for your hangups.

Or as Callie put it:

She doesn't let that stop her. It only drives her to play harder.

Because it's not just about her. It's about the kids who see Callie and her teammates as role models.

The next generation of athletes — maybe even football players — watch the D.C. Divas' every move on and off the field. It's a responsibility the players don't take lightly.

"If you remember being a kid and looking up to somebody doing something that you wanted to do, if they were a positive role model and they made it seem like that dream was possible, you wanted to do it," Callie told Upworthy. "And that's what we have to continue to do. We have to continue to fight the good fight."

A future Diva keeps an eye on practice.

You can join the good fight by checking out a women's football game (or any women's sport, for that matter) in your area.

Bring your family, go with friends, and make a day of it. Just take some time to support the athletes and competitors who don't always get the accolades or attention they deserve. Your presence and your ticket dollars can go a long way toward keeping opportunities like this around for years to come.

Watch Callie tell her story and see the D.C. Divas in action in this Upworthy Original video.


True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

Sir David Attenborough has one of the most recognized and beloved voices in the world. The British broadcaster and nature historian has spent most of his 94 years on Earth educating humanity about the wonders of the natural world, inspiring multiple generations to care about the planet we all call home.

And now, Attenborough has made a new name for himself. Not only has he joined the cool kids on Instagram, he's broken the record for reaching a million followers in the shortest period. It only took four hours and 44 minutes, which is less time than it took Jennifer Aniston, who held the title before him at 5 hours and 16 minutes.

A day later, Attenborough is sitting at a whopping 3.4 million followers. And he only has two Instagram posts so far, both of them videos. But just watch his first one and you'll see why he's attracted so many fans.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


There are very few people who have had quite as memorable a life as Arnold Schwarzenegger. His adult life has played out in four acts, with each one arguably more consequential than the last.

And now Schwarzenegger wants to play a role in helping America, his adopted home, ensure that our 2020 election is safe, secure and available to everyone willing and able to vote.

Shortly after immigrating to America, Schwarzenegger rose up to become the most famous bodybuilder in history, turning what was largely a sideshow attraction into a legitimate sport. He then pivoted to an acting career, becoming Hollywood's highest paid star in a run that spanned three decades.


Keep Reading Show less

One night in 2018, Sheila and Steve Albers took their two youngest sons out to dinner. Their 17-year-old son, John, was in a crabby mood—not an uncommon occurrence for the teen who struggled with mental health issues—so he stayed home.

A half hour later, Sheila's started getting text messages that John wasn't safe. He had posted messages with suicidal ideations on social media and his friends had called the police to check on him. The Albers immediately raced home.

When they got there, they were met with a surreal scene. Their minivan was in the neighbor's yard across the street. John had been shot in the driver's seat six times by a police officer who had arrived to check on him. The officer had fired two shots as the teen slowly backed the van out of the garage, then 11 more after the van spun around backward. But all the officers told the Albers was that John had "passed" and had been shot. They wouldn't find out until the next day who had shot and killed him.

Keep Reading Show less