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Florida women's football team hopes to inspire others

League has rules similar to college, NFL
West Palm Beach Coyotes women's football team
Posted at 10:28 AM, Aug 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-19 10:28:17-04

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.

"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 at our own expense, so we'll do sponsorships, fundraisers," Hargreaves said.

West Palm Beach Coyotes player Rebecca Hargreaves
Coyotes player Rebecca Hargreaves talks about what it's like to compete in the Women's Tackle Football League.

The team is inspiring others.

"The majority of us are like the 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 West Palm Beach Coyotes player.

The women prove they can have jobs and 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.

West Palm Beach Coyotes football player Ace Ware
Ace Ware is among the women competing this season for the West Palm Beach Coyotes.

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.

Tania Rogers at WPTV first reported this story.