(LAS VEGAS, NV. – Tuesday, July 6, 2021) Step Up, a national mentorship nonprofit that believes all girls should have the opportunity to pursue their dreams of success has teamed with the Extreme Football League (X League) through the 2024 season. X League’s league office, its member teams, and athletes are joining a growing list of powerful women who have partnered with Step Up, including celebrities and C-suite executives alike.

 

Step Up’s mission aligns with the X League’s core brand position of empowering women through opportunity. The national nonprofit mentors girls who may be facing systemic barriers, enabling them to gain confidence while preparing them for post-secondary pursuits, meaningful careers, and becoming the next generation of leaders.

 

“Step Up is inspired by the opportunity to partner with X League in creating new opportunities for the next generation of women leaders to gain experience working in sports,” Step Up CEO Delores Morton said. “Our work centers around the belief that all girls should have the chance to pursue their dreams of success. X League makes that possible on the field, on the sidelines, in the broadcast booth, in the front office, and for the next generation of women currently participating in Step Up programs.”

 

X League athletes will get involved nationally with Step Up in the coming years to mentor young girls, alongside business internships within the league, allowing girls to pursue multiple fields within sports and business. Los Angeles Black Storm’s Marissa and Miriah Lopez have been selected as lead spokespersons for the X League partnership with Step Up.

 

“This is an incredible honor and opportunity for us and our fellow athletes across the league to use the momentum building behind the X League and women’s sport to impact the lives of generations of future girls. We grew up in a single-parent household, on Section 8 housing and food stamps. Despite those challenges, we were the first generation in our family to attend and graduate college. We are now thriving having launched our own business and we are representative of many athletes across the X League that came from under-served communities and are now successful as moms, business professionals, teachers, military personnel, lawyers, doctors, and other prominent roles. We athletes can serve as true role models to the girls of Step Up”, said Marissa and Miriah Lopez.

 

As part of the X League’s initiative to be active in charitable and philanthropic activities that directly impact the lives of girls and women, the X League will be partnering with several national and local charity partners.

(LAS VEGAS, NV. – June 24, 2021) Extreme Football League (X League) officials have teamed with a leading sports technology partner, Sway Medical as its official technology partner aiding in the diagnosis of head injuries.

 

Sway Medical and its Sway System combines objective balance and cognitive measures that will support X League team medical staffs in performing accurate and informed evaluations of head injuries. The Sway platform is an all-in-one accessible mobile solution to collect rapid objective data. The Sway System includes Sway pioneered Balance Testing with its patented technology allowing medical professionals to administer a medical-grade balance test in virtually any setting, Cognitive Testing with quick and easy tests of visual processing, reaction time, and memory, Symptom Tracking allows for a record of reported symptoms on the sideline using a (22) standard symptoms checklist with time-stamped entries using a 6-point subject scale, Baseline Testing allows for baseline sessions and baseline resets features, Quality Software that meets HIPAA and FERPA privacy standards, and Reports that provide in-depth reporting with dynamic digitally printed reports for each athlete.

 

“Unfortunately, injuries are part of football, and certainly head injuries are a primary concern for any full-contact sport. The X League is building a comprehensive medical support system for its athletes which will include our technology at Sway leading the way, insuring accurate, real-time diagnosis of any athlete suspected of sustaining a head injury”, said Chase Curtiss, CEO, Sway Medical.

 

Sway Medical will be working closely with X League’s medical group partners around the country in advance of each X League season holding a symposium with each team and its associated athletes as well as training X League medical staff on its technology.

 

“The X League will feature some of the world’s greatest athletes who will be competing at the highest level, we as a league and our teams are committed to supporting our athletes with preventative measures as it relates to injuries as well as diagnosis and treatment. Our partnership with Sway Medical speaks to our commitment to our athletes and their health and safety”, said Mike Ditka, Chairman, Extreme Football League, LLC.

 

Sway Medical will be the exclusive and official technology partner aiding the diagnosis of head injuries kicking off with the Summer 2022 inaugural season of the X League through the 2025 season.

(LOS ANGELES, CA – Monday,  April 26) The X League’s huddle of broadcasters and worldwide television markets continue to grow as Saran Media Group joins the X League’s roster of media partners.

 

One of Europe’s most established broadcast groups, Saran Media Group, and its primary sports broadcast network S Sport which televises the NBA, UFC, WWE, Champions League, and Premier League will now air X League games and other short-form programming in Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, and the Czech Republic. The X League and Saran Media Group have agreed on a multi-year broadcast partnership through the 2023 season. S Sport is also available on the D-Smart, TiviBu, Turkcell TV+, VodafoneTV, and KabloTV digital platforms.

 

The inaugural season of the X League will debut in June with some of the world’s most athletic women competing in fierce 7-on-7 full-contact tackle football games at major arenas and stadiums across the US with a series of regular season games, playoffs, and its annual championship game, the X Cup.

 

“These are exciting times to be involved in women’s sport, specifically being on the forefront of introducing women’s tackle football to the world. Saran Media Group and our growing team of global broadcasters are providing women’s sport the opportunity to be broadcast alongside major men’s sport”, said Mitchell S. Mortaza, Managing Partner, X League.

(LAS VEGAS, NV – Friday, February 12, 2021) X League officials are announcing the Omaha Red Devils have agreed to terms to move the franchise from Omaha, Nebraska, to Scottsdale, Arizona for the 2021 season and beyond.

 

Due to the challenges that come with smaller markets like Omaha and what Scottsdale, Arizona offered to the franchise to move the team to the Valley of the Sun, league officials approved the relocation.

 

The Arizona Red Devils will be competing in the heart of downtown Scottsdale, Arizona, at Scottsdale Stadium. The team will be practicing at Arizona Sports Complex, including its upcoming ‘2021 Open Tryout Football Combine’ on Saturday, March 6, at 10:30 am.

 

The Red Devils have already hired on a coaching staff-led by veteran coaches Donte Booker, who has a background in women’s football, and BJ Wilson, who coached in NFL Europe.

 

“Omaha offered the X League what would have been a great city, arena, some of the best sports fans in the country, and good base of athletes; however, Arizona is more in line with the future growth strategy of the X League coupled with the opportunity to play at a beautiful stadium in the heart of downtown,” said Mitchell Mortaza, Managing Partner, X League.

 

The Red Devils will host their home-opener at Scottsdale Stadium on Saturday, July 10, vs. the Kansas City Force and finish their regular season on-the-road vs. the Seattle Thunder in Kent, Washington, on July 31.

 

Tickets to the Red Devils’ home-opener at Scottsdale Stadium will go on-sale to the public in March 2021.

Teammates, Business Partners, and Sisters. Miriah and Marissa Lopez of the Los Angeles Black Storm are ready for the inaugural season of the X League to kickoff as are hundreds of other X League athletes across the country. The Lopez sisters come into the 2021 season with the advantage of having played multiple seasons of tackle football as well as moving into more of leadership role in the locker room.

 

Off-the-field, they may appear as twin sisters and are very similar in many ways, however it’s what separates them, that draws fans to the Lopez sisters.

 

Even though they are two years apart by age (Marissa being 28 and Miriah being 26), often have different hair colors, and one has a baby bump, they still get mistaken for twins. Marissa says, “When we first got into the football three years ago, everyone mistook us for twins, and even today it happens.” If you want a hint at who is who, Miriah has bright blonde hair that you cannot miss on the field and Marissa often has fire-red hair.

 

The love of football for the sisters began when they were just kids. They were always active, playing any sports they could, whether it was softball, football, volleyball, you name it. “We were always outside until it got dark no matter the day or the sport,” says Miriah. Being raised in Texas was a key factor to becoming a football player, but it was the move to Los Angeles where everything skyrocketed. Now co-captains of the Los Angeles Black Storm it’s safe to say that the love of sports and the great outdoors carried them to where they are today.

 

Marissa Lopez is expecting to be a mother in March. She says, “Now being a mother and being pregnant, it definitely changed my mindset and I’ve grown so much while being so humbled to be able to pursue the pregnancy and still have it on my mind that I will come back and come back stronger.” With the season coming up, fans will get an opportunity to watch her  debut at the Quarterback position. As well as being a mom-to-be, Marissa is a big supporter of women in football and all sports across the field. She believes women empowerment is one of the strongest movements in the world today saying, “I want to continue to let women know that you can still have a baby and still have a career while striving for whatever goals you want in the endgame.”

 

As for Miriah Lopez, she will be with the team on Opening Weekend as the Black Storm  kickoff at Toyota Arena (Ontario, California). When asked how the team feels going into the season, “A lot of players have improved their skills in the last year, and we are just ready for the season to start already with everything going on in the world.” Miriah is also one half of the founding team of The Football Sisters, which she and her sister lead. The brand was started as a way for women to not be afraid to pursue a sport that is led dominantly by men. It has shown much success recently with a new clothing line released last year.

 

You can see both of the Lopez sisters on the field in action for the Los Angeles Black Storm this upcoming season, the Black Storm will be leaning on experienced sisters on the field as Miriah is projected as possibly the No.1 running back in the league while Marissa will be making her first-ever start at Quarterback.

(DENVER, CO – Tuesday, January 19) While the talk of the NFL playoffs has been about a particular 43yr old GOAT in the X League, a 44yr old Spain native is preparing to play her first season of American Tackle football a year older than the GOAT.

 

Having conquered the entertainment industry earlier in life, named Playboy’s ‘Playmate of the Millennium,’ Bernaola parlayed her early success’ into becoming a successful business woman en route to owning her own construction company.

 

“I have balance in my life because I focus 100% of my energy on what brings me complete happiness, which is my children, and doing something not many give me a chance at, playing tackle football. I want my children to witness what it take to pursue a dream and not allow excuses to get in the way of your dream,”, Bernaola.

 

The 44yr old athlete will defy the odds when she suits up for the Denver Rush opening their inaugural season at home vs. the Kansas City Force on Saturday, April 24.

 

“I’m excited about the upcoming season because it will be an opportunity to apply all of my football training to the field, for the first time in front of thousands of screaming fans. It will be an amazing moment to look up in the stands and see my children,”, Bernaola added.

 

“I believe that my heart and dedication will be my driving force; I feel that I have an advantage on some level because I am very centered in my approach and focused, that comes with maturity” When asked about the challenge of lacing it up at 44yrs old. Adding, “The only disadvantage from my perspective is that perhaps I will not be able to play the game I love for ten more years like most of my teammates.”

The Denver Rush will feature a young and untested roster and a first-year head coach in John Hassien. However, the Rush seem to have identified a franchise Quarterback in Vana Medrano and Liz Camack, projected to be one of the most dynamic running backs in the X League.

(AUSTIN, TX – Thursday, December 17) X League officials have announced that one of the most coveted coaches in women’s football, Mike Olvera, has been awarded ownership within the Austin Sound franchise.

 

In a short period, Coach Olvera has put together a stellar coaching staff, developed a comprehensive year-round program, and has had his athletes buying into his ‘team-first’ philosophy and culture.

 

In January 2020, the X League announced an equity ownership program that would reward athletes and coaches financially with equity stake within their respective franchises they help build. Olvera will now join Dane Robinson of the Atlanta Empire as two of the first to be awarded ownership stake within their respective teams.

 

“This is truly an honor and has myself and my staff even more committed to building a franchise in the Austin Sound that everyone points to as setting the highest of standards. Being part of the ownership group, will enable me to have a voice inside the board-room as key decisions are being made that will map the future of our football club”, said Mike Olvera.

 

The Austin Sound has agreed to a lease agreement with H-E-B Center in Cedar Park, Texas, to host its 2021 home games, which kick off on Saturday, June 5, vs. Denver Rush.

 

“Mike Olvera exudes professionalism, dedication, passion, and results. We all knew the battle before us from day one, building a football league from the ground-level. Every start-up needs leaders who lead through their actions. Mike has never wavered in his loyalty to the league, his team, and athletes; we take great pride in welcoming Mike into ownership”, said Mitchell S. Mortaza, Managing Partner, X League.

FREE TO ATTEND | COVID PROTECTIONS PROVIDED | WEAR ATHLETIC ATTIRE / CLEATS

2021 OPEN TRYOUT COVID PROTOCOLS FOR PARTICIPANTS

  • No one outside of the team and League, including family members, are allowed to be in the practice area.
  • Prior to entering the open tryout area every person should log their symptoms if any, as well as body temperature.  No one with any symptoms of COVID-19 nor a body temperature over 100.4 F will be permitted in the practice area.
  • Hand sanitizer, masks, gloves, and disinfectant, will be provided by the team for the open tryout.
  • Masks are to be worn at all times in the indoor open tryout setting, and outdoors anytime 6 ft of social distancing cannot be maintained.
  • When performing drills that will involve a ball, the quarterback is the only person who is allowed to touch a ball without gloves on, receiving gloves will count.  After these drills it is important that balls and hands are sanitized.
  • Athletes should bring their own water bottles.
  • Players will have a designated spot to place personal belongings, and this should also serve as their socially distanced spot for stretching, and any instruction that might occur on-field.
  • All Athletes need to complete the signed waiver which includes provisions for COVID-19, and anyone who has previously had COVID-19 must produce a clearance for return to sport activity.
  • There should be no congregating before or after open tryout, athletes should arrive just prior to the registration time, and leave immediately at the conclusion of the open try-out

LOS ANGELES BLACK STORM

SAT, JAN. 9

Registration 9:30AM
OPEN TRYOUT 10:00AM – 1:30PM
Lomita Park
24428 Eshelman Ave.
Lomita, CA 90717

ATLANTA EMPIRE

SAT, JAN 23

Registration 7:30PM
OPEN TRYOUT 8:00PM
One Touch Soccer
3200 Atlanta Industrial Pkwy.
Atlanta, GA 30331

AUSTIN SOUND

SAT, JAN 23

Registration 9:30AM
OPEN TRYOUT 10:00AM – 1:00PM
Soccer Zone
Lakeline 920 Old Mill Rd.
Cedar Park, TX 78748

CHICAGO BLITZ

SAT, JAN 23

Registration 10:30AM
OPEN TRYOUT 11:00AM – 1:00PM
McCook Athletic & Exposition
4750 S. Vernon Ave.
McCook, IL 60525

KANSAS CITY FORCE

SAT, JAN 30

Registration 8:30AM
OPEN TRYOUT 9:00AM – 12:30PM
Blue Springs Fieldhouse
425 NE Mock Ave.
Blue Springs, MO 64014

DENVER RUSH

SAT, JAN 30

Registration 12:30PM
OPEN TRYOUT 1:00PM
Golden Goal Sports
Complex 2650 Alkire Street
Golden, CO 80401

SEATTLE THUNDER

SUN, MAR 14

Registration 2:30PM
OPEN TRYOUT 3:00PM – 5:00PM
Tacoma Soccer Center
2610 E Bay St,
Tacoma, WA 98421

ARIZONA RED DEVILS

SAT, MAR 6

Registration 10:30AM
Arizona Sports Complex
3555 W Pinnacle Peak Rd
Glendale, AZ 85310

FOR THE LOVE OF THE GAME AND SANITY by Justin David Kish

 

For a sports athlete in 2020, it has been the ultimate struggle. The struggle has also been real in the upstart X League as well; getting ready for the upcoming season in the middle of the worldwide pandemic has put its athletes to the ultimate test. The ultimate test of preparing yourself during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

This week, I went behind the scenes and spoke with the athletes about how are they preparing for the upcoming season and dealing with the pandemic during their workouts. You will hear from athletes like Ashley McCaughan (KC Force), Lauren Crouch (Omaha Red Devils), and Aneshea Shali (Austin Sound).

 

The ultimate uncertainty of ever playing this year has been on the mind of the athletes of the X League and for Ashley McCaughan, she had some doubts that the season would not happen. “From the beginning of the pandemic, I had a gut feeling the season would not happen even though the league had teams on the stand.” McCaughan continued, “From an organizational standpoint, I can understand why the league wouldn’t want to make a quick to cancel or continue the season. It was somewhat frustrating to be in limbo, however, for myself, it has given me more preparation time as a rookie quarterback.”

 

For Lauren Crouch, “Personally, I haven’t been as frustrated as much due to my health conditions.” Lauren Crouch sustained a collarbone injury last season and has been recovering during the pandemic. “I’ve used this time to recover my body and get a leg up on the mental aspect of the game since I am newer or classified as a rookie.”

 

Missing the game and getting the itch to play football has been on the entire league’s mind, including Austin Sound’s Aneshea Shali. “I miss the game like crazy! I’m ready to get back on the field… Ready for the new era with X League, ready to hear the crowd, ready to prove people wrong and show them that women are out here making history!”

 

But what about COVID? Has COVID given these athletes an appreciation for the love of football? For Anesha Shali, it has given her a greater appreciation for life. “COVID has given me a greater appreciation for life! No question about it. We get so wrapped up in the things we can’t control, the failures instead of victories, we forget to give ourselves credit for how far we’ve come! I think of the lives lost, the people who will never be the same, unemployment, depression, and anxiety… and I think about football and how it has brought so many people together and I hope the X League does just that. It brings people back together, gives people something to talk about, something to smile about… I appreciate the people, the fans, the coaches, and the league.”

 

For Omaha’s Lauren Crouch, COVID has given her a greater appreciation for playing football saying, “Yes it has. I was a rookie when I got hurt, so this season I was supposed to come back stronger than ever, but because of COVID I couldn’t come back right away and show out! But this added more fuel and motivation to break out stronger when we get back on the field.”

 

What about when we get back to work? What are they most looking forward to upon their return to football? For Ashley McCaughan “when it comes to the season, I am looking forward to growing as a team and proving to the league that KC is not a team to take for granted.” McCaughan continues, “We have worked hard as a team to build chemistry and have created a very positive environment. We click on all aspects. Not only are we a team, but we also have each other’s backs. We are truly a family, and that will show on the field.”

 

For Aneshea Shali, “I am looking forward to seeing my kids and boyfriend in the stands cheering for me! Knowing what I’ve been through knowing that I pour my heart into this and that I’m seeing it all the way through. I look forward to getting my coach and my team a championship ring!”

 

For Lauren Crouch, “I’m looking forward to transforming my game while building a franchise team to work side by side with.”

 

In 2021, it’s a new year, a number of new first-year athletes will be playing the game of football, and for the veterans of women’s professional football, what advice would they give to the other athletes in the X League as they prepare for the 2021 season?

 

Aneshea Shali says, “Find your WHY! It’s more than just football. What motivates you to keep doing this? Early mornings, late nights, working that 9-5 then going to practice, good days, bad days, days you want to quit! You have to dig deep! Be able to see the bigger picture! You are a female athlete; you are the slim percent, set the example, be the example. There are little girls out there that want to be you, girls that didn’t make the cut at tryouts that are gunning for your spot next year! Show up and show tf out, you owe it to your teammates, the fans, YOURSELF!”

 

But for Lauren Crouch, she is ready to bring the hype into 2021. “Being in the learning phase, I wouldn’t say it is advice right now but more of the hype. I try to bring the energy throughout the team that will want everyone to work hard and push everyone to a win.”

 

The Beginning… Begins April 2021!