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Local women play for Everett Reign
MARYSVILLE — With equality becoming more mainstream in sports, women’s football is on the rise.
Not flag-football, not two-hand touch, but 11-on-11 full-contact gridiron football.
Two women from Marysville participate in the sport locally — LeAnn Layman and Melissa Hendren.
Layman has played center for Everett’s Women Football Alliance team, the Everett Reign for a year.
“Women’s football is one of the fastest growing sports right now,” Layman said.
Like the other women on the Everett Reign, Layman does not get paid. “We all just play this because we love it,” she said.
Layman got involved with football to help her son with football as a single parent. “My son wanted me to play football,” she said.
Now, with her son as a freshman in high school, Layman feels she has achieved that. “I’m not for sitting around,” she said.
Layman has played full-contact football for five years. She was involved with Tacoma Trauma before playing for the Everett Reign. The Reign began its second season this year. Last season, the Reign went 5-7, including preseason.
Layman was also part of USA Football, an event that was the first of its kind to allow women football players from around the world to compete in Dallas, Texas.
Prior to her career in football, Layman participated in track and field, and cross country in high school.
She was discovered by the Reign’s head coach, Billy Russo, during a powder puff game. When she was appointed as captain due to her prior experience in women’s football, she was honored to take it on.
Now playing as team captain of the offensive line for Reign, Layman assists her fellow players in understanding the plays, and pushes her team members to do better. “I help educate and teach technique for the rookies,” she said. “I’m always there anytime when they need that extra help.”
Hendren is also from Marysville. Hendren is a rookie and does not have any prior experience playing the sport.
Hendren played softball in high school, but decided to give football a try very recently.
Hendren likes the sport for obvious reasons. “I love learning the sport and tackling,” Hendren said. “It’s something new that I have never experienced before. I absolutely love it.”
She tried out one day and knew she made the team when coach Russo gave her a call.
Hendren currently plays guard and tackle on the offensive line, with Layman as her mentor. “She is awesome. She is amazing,” Hendren said. “She makes sure we understand every single play.”
The Everett Reign had its first preseason game on March 1 in Las Vegas against the Showgirls, but lost 28-0. The team plays at Everett Memorial Stadium, hosting five home games. The Reign’s next home game will be March 22 against the Utah Falconz.
To learn more about the Everett Reign, visit its website at www.everettreign.com for its roster, game schedule and how you can donate.