The Bay State women’s football team is the cure to your NFL offseason blues
By Alex Newman, Patch staff
BOSTON – May 5, 2017 — By day, they’re lawyers, doctors, entrepreneurs and physical therapists. But on the gridiron, it’s all football for the Boston Renegades, Massachusetts’ semi-professional women’s football team. Boasting a 3-0 record this season, the three-time national champions are hungry for number four.
The Renegades compete in the Women’s Football Alliance, a league of 65 semi-professional teams from across the country playing full-contact tackle football. Three years ago the team rebranded from the Boston Militia after owner Ernie Boch, Jr. dropped out, and has been self-funded ever since.
The Renegades come from all types of professions and backgrounds, many of them rooted in sports. Most are former college athletes or women who played club sports, itching for another physical outlet. The one consistency? They all love the game.
Since they’re paying their own way, they have to.
“It’s a very expensive part-time job,” Brooke Goodman, who plays on the defensive line, joked. “But anybody on the team would agree that it’s worth it.”
Outside of football, Goodman works in analytical development for biotech company Moderna Therapeutics. Despite being no stranger to competing at a high level – she played soccer in college – Goodman described playing football as “completely different experience” than anything else she’s done.
“This is just on another level,” she said. “This is all just purely your own commitment to the team.”
The bond the women share is the heart of the Boston Renegades. Their dedication to each other extends well beyond four quarters, providing support on the field and in their personal and professional lives.
When Goodman had a death in the family, the Renegades rallied around her.
“It’s a family atmosphere,” she said. “It’s the most ‘team’ environment I’ve ever been in.”
The Renegades’ season consists of two or three hours of practice a week and six to eight games, on top of meetings and going over game film. Their coaching staff is helmed by veteran semi-pro coach John Johnson, who also serves as an assistant coach for the Framingham High School varsity football team, and former New England Patriots Vernon Crawford and Patrick Pass.
It’s been a winning formula so far. Despite a field change – the Renegades relocated from Somerville to the Catholic Memorial field in West Roxbury this season – the team has found its mojo. Erin Truex, who plays on the offensive line, hopes the team can parlay its success into growing its fanbase.
“Hopefully it’ll lead to furthering women in sports and furthering knowledge of women in football,” Truex said. “The Patriots offseason is going to be a very long time so we want to give [fans] some football to watch before the season starts.”
The Boston Renegades will square off against longtime rivals the D.C. Divas at Catholic Memorial School’s O’Connor Stadium on Saturday, May 6 at 6 p.m. The team will host a sock drive at the Pine Street Inn during the game to benefit the homeless.
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