By Kevin J. Stone | New England Football Journal
Just seven years ago, the Boston Renegades were starting from scratch, doing whatever it took to get a team together.
Now, as the three-time defending Women’s Football Alliance National champions, the Renegades are the model of consistency in a league that continues to grow seemingly by the minute.
“We have grown from a small and desperate start up in 2015, to today where we are the premier organization in women’s football, a three-time national champion with nationally televised games, and a presence in the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” said owner Molly Goodwin earlier this week.
“We aim to get better every day and to help grow women’s tackle football.”
Boston opens the 2022 season on Saturday in Washington D.C. against the D.C. Divas. The Renegades have a six-game schedule from April-May before the postseason begins on June 11.
What the Renegades have done for girls and women looking to get into football locally can’t be over looked. Whether it was the Patriots and owner Robert Kraft lending the team the plane last season to head to the title game in Canton, Ohio or a number of games now being televised nationally each week, you can’t ignore the WFA or the Renegades. There is also a new scholarship foundation that will continue to help girls and women looking to get involved with the game.
Goodwin and the rest of the team, led by head coach John Johnson and assistant head coach Vernon Crawford, all understand the important part they’re playing as leaders and role models.
“Our mission is to empower women and girls through football,” Goodwin added. “Our vision is to mentor and develop female athletes into role models and leaders who give back to the community. To help meet this goal, we have established the Boston Renegades Foundation which will provide scholarships, funding and programming for women in the field of football. The Foundation will develop vibrant ecosystems, push boundaries, and create positive change in support of future female leaders.”
As for the on-field product, the Renegades are led by the best player in the league and most likely the best player in women’s history, quarterback Allison Cahill. Cahill’s accolades have been well documented and she shared her passion for the game with us last month on The New England Football Show.
Entering her 19th season, Cahill has won six total pro football titles and four league MVP’s. She’s thrown for over 20,000 yards and has her jersey hanging in the Pro Football hall of Fame after last year’s title win. The Renegades will go as Cahill goes, and that’s usually onward and upward.
Cahill is a captain along with wide receiver Stephanie Pascual, defensive backs Chanté Bonds and Brianna Gallo and linebacker Christina Riggieri. Pascual is a tight end and linebacker when called upon as well and is entering her sixth year with the Renegades. Cahill’s backup is Heather Marini, who has been coaching with Brown University and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Pascual and Adrienne Smith are probably the two biggest weapons at Cahill’s disposal, it’s a pretty deep position. Kyshani Dummott, who was the first woman to have played on Canton (Mass.) High School’s varsity football team in 2010, Megan McFadden, Sarah Tully, Renate Meckl are all capable receivers.
At running back, veteran Ruth Matta will lead the way along with Kate Falkowski and fullback Tytti Kuusinen, providing the Renegades with plenty of balance. More depth with the offensive line protecting Cahill should serve the Renegades well this year too. Led by names like Amanda Alpert (pro since 2007), Hilary Crook (pro since 2017), Olivia Taplin, Ashley Beckham (also punts) and Erin Truex, the QBs and backs should be in great hands.
Bonds has played professionally since 2009 and is basically the Troy Brown of the team. Bonds can also play running back and wide receiver and is pretty damn good at all of it. Bonds and Gallo, who began playing professionally in 2007 can also play a little receiver and the two of them form quite a duo on defense.
KD Ellison, Lisa Vincent, Odessa O’Neil, Latoya Saulters, Kara Gailiunas, Kristen Stone and Carmen Sacristen are all listed as DB’s on the roster as well, which means it’s another deep position…sensing a theme? There’s a reason this team has won so much.
Riggieri joined Boston in 2018 and will be leading a linebacking core that includes Lisa Swanson, Deanna Walsh, Allie Genereux Melisa Cadet, Erica Adams (also plays some DB), Natalia Cabezas, Charlene Casey, Spring Gamble and Shannon Singletary.
On the D-line, names like like Molly Winsten, Nicole Gordon, Erin Diette and Kelcie Kennedy-Smith will be pulling along some newcomers on the team, which should provide quite a bit of competition throughout the line.
Whether you’re a rabid fan or you’ve never seen a Renegades game before, do yourself a favor and head out to the home opener on April 30th or find a way to get to a game and experience the atmosphere these games provide. The “other” pro football dynasty in New England is making plenty of noise and should be right back in contention for a fourth straight title on July 10th.
At the very least, go see the only GOAT quarterback left around here while you still can.