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Valley Vixens Stories

by Lesley VazquezJanuary 29, 2015

Valley Vixens, let’s see some of the stories  …

Amy Jo Diaz

Age: 39

Jersey Name: Cyanide
Jersey #: 82
My name is Amy Jo Diaz. I’ve ALWAYS loved football. Football has always been huge in our family. One day, while on fb, I saw that one of my friends was tagged with something about football tryouts. Curious, I clicked on the post, did some investigating and came across the VALLEY VIXENS FB PAGE. I had seen that they had just had tryouts the week before and was a little disappointed that I hadn’t seen this page earlier so that I could have tried out. I inboxed the page to let them know that I love and appreciate what they are doing for the world of female athletes….especially since it was football….and FULL CONTACT FOOTBALL at that! Literally, about 5 minutes later, I got a reply and was asked if I was interested in being on the team. My response….”I am a 38 year old woman who hadn’t stepped foot in a gym for about….NEVER! As much as I love the sport and have only dreamed about being a part of something this special, I don’t think at this time in my life, I would be a good candidate. I am not in shape and don’t want to hinder the team with my lack of experience.” A couple of minutes after that I got a message saying…”How about you stop by at our practice tomorrow and if you feel like this is something you want to try out for, then great! And if not, that’s ok too. I just want you to stop by and give us a shot.” I agreed that I would stop by but was 75% sure I wasn’t going to try out because I knew I was so out of shape. The next day, I showed up, and the rest is history! I tried out that day, got the call from our GM the next day saying that I had made the team! Coach Roy said something that day of tryouts that has stuck with me… “Everyone here can do this! If you’re already in shape, if you’re out of shape, if you’ve ever played football or if you haven’t. Everyone here has the passion for this sport and by the looks of it, have the drive to push the limits. If you stick with this and push yourself… you will not regret it! You will be in the best shape of your life and will get to show everyone that girls can do it too. If this were easy, then EVERYONE would be doing it…. but not anyone can do this! We are a family here, we’re here to help and support each other. So family on 3! 1….2….3…. FAMILY!!!!” And from the day forward, I’ve been hooked!
Three words that best describe my life….GOD…FAMILY…FOOTBALL.  I am 39 years old, a full time single mother of 3 children. I have a 10 year old son, a 15 year old daughter and an 18 year old daughter, who plans on trying out for the team next year. She is going to major in Sports Broadcasting and hopes to take Pam Oliver’s job, lol.  She too loves football and probably knows more about the sport, stats and players, than most guys. My 15 year old daughter is going to go to college to be a Physical Therapist and plans on trying out for The Valley Vixens when she’s of age. My 10 year old son says he’s going to be a Navy Seal when he grows up.
I went to school for business accounting and own a small bakery business in Harlingen. My day starts at 4am for gym and runs all the way through til about 10pm for when I’m finally able to relax. Elementary, high school, college, work, practice, games, rest….that’s my day and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
As a kid, I grew up with 3 younger brothers and mostly male cousins. So naturally, tackle football was a common thing for us to play! And just because I was the only girl playing, my dad didn’t cut me any slack. My mother didn’t want anyone tackling me because “she’s a girl” she would say, but my father would reply with “hey, if she wants to play, let her. She’s tough and she’s just as good, if not better!” And til this day, my mother worries about me playing…and til this day, my father smiles with pride.
I absolutely LOVE these ladies on my team. As cliche as it sounds, We are honestly a family here. Each one of us has a story. Happy times, hard times… we are all strong women and we get through it.

Lisa A Leal

Valley Vixen /Offensive Tackle # 74

My name is Lisa A Leal a San Benito native with a passion for football and cycling. I’ve worked in Road Construction for the most part of my life 27 years to be exact of which 19 of those years I was blessed to work alongside with my dad who we recently lost in 2013. When I cycle, I dedicate half of my miles in his memory. I also dedicated my first season to him by putting his last name on my Jersey.

While walking out of the gym one day, I noticed a flyer announcing tryouts for the Valley Vixens. I challenged myself to at least go to the tryouts to check it out. That’s the best choice I have ever made because Coach Cordova came up to me and ask me if I was going to try out: I replied I wanted to but I wasn’t sure but he encouraged me to try out anyways. So I did and the next few days were nerve wrecking until I got my phone call from our General Manager Ms. Ramirez that I was a Vixen! With that said I’m a 50 year old with a continued passion for football playing with the Valley Vixens. I face challenges everyday not only because of my age and my physical health limitations but also because I am playing with and against players much younger than me.

I love competing and winning, so I’m in the game for as long as I can be.
I’m a quiet person but when that helmet goes on it’s time to play Vixen football and were a hard hitting team. When I am no longer able to stay in the game, I still plan to work with the Vixens in some capacity. I will keep them as motivated as they have me.

 

 Nicole Lynn Hernandez

Age: 25

Jersey Name & Number: *Torpedo #5*

Occupation: Dental Field, Full time Single mom, & Part- time student

Super Talent: Playing for the Valley Vixens Women’s full contact football team

I have always been very athletic; playing sports ranging from softball, to coaching and playing volleyball, to flag football and helping coach my daughters’ t-ball team, even trained in cross fit and competed a few times. When I heard about women’s full contact football, I did give a thought! However, that was about it. I asked several friends and coworkers and family members who gave me both pros and cons to consider. After being asked twice to consider playing, I finally gave in and showed up to a practice try-out. Needless to say, I not only made the team, but took on all my other roles as well, and am now a returner to the team! I also got the amazing experience to meet many talented woman & coaches from other teams as well, and play in my first ever All-Star game in Corpus alongside some more amazingly talented and motivated women! Very proud to say I also won two awards, first being “best dancer” on the team, and second for “Best Receiver” on the team! Two awards that I will say, I am honored to have received and will continue to work hard for, in our 2015 season! Blessed, Talented, & amazing…Three words that best describe my Valley Vixen 2014 Season.

 

Tonya “TK” Castillo

#20
Second year with the Valley Vixens.

I play quarterback and corner on defense. Growing up I have always been a tomboy and loved play football and any sport really with my family and friends. There is something about competition and physical contact that you just cannot beat and that is what I love. When I first heard of the league I was kind of iffy on the uniforms and wanted to get into better shape before trying out. Also was not sure if I wanted to travel to Mcallen every day. Then random I saw on facebook that someone tag a friend of mine to try out for the valley vixen here in Harlingen. This was my opportunity so, I showed up to a practice and gave them all I had. I am glad I decided to join the Valley Vixen because it is the best team any girl could have with the best coaches and general manager. This team is my second family with awesome friends that support, fight and protect one another on and off the field. And from that first day I could tell and though I wasn’t in the best shape when I tried out, I put that behind me along with the uniform because I knew I had the support from my team, coaches and our rock, our general manager. This is just not a man’s sport but also a woman’s sport, and I am living one of my dreams from when I was young.

DWOWW

Linebacker #28

Hi my name is Diana Gallo I’m 30 years. I’m not your average female. I’m your hard working, out going, adventurous kind of female. I like to get myself in different things the key is to wanting to learn and do it. By day I’m a certified surgical tech at Valley Regional Hospital , a fitness instructor at Gold’s Gym Brownsville, a Safety Range Officer at South Texas Tactical Brownsville and of course I’m a Valley Vixen by night. it may seem a lot but I enjoy doing each one of them. I enjoy making people feel better and I love motivating members to push past there limits to a healthy life style. Also how can a girl not like to shoot, I like guns and rifles so I wanted to be more active in that too.  How I joined the team was through a friend, he told me about it and encouraged me to try out. And so I did I made the team and never looked back. I love the sport and the fact that we get to hit and show all ages of females that women can play football! I’ve
always wanted to play linebacker ever since I made the team, I like to be on pursuit and make the hit.

Melissa Ann Rios

Age: 30
Occupation: Administrative Accounting Coordinator for the Valley Baptist Health & Fitness Center
Jersey Number: 13

I was born on December 8, 1984 in Houston Texas. I’m a full-time mom to my 12 year old daughter, a full-time student and a full-time employee. I’m pursuing a career in Occupational Therapy. I live an active lifestyle. I love being outdoors. My passion is health and fitness. My hobbies include football, volleyball, kickball, softball, 5K and 10K races, mud runs, and just getting in a workout at the gym.

 

Lorie Ramirez

Owner and General Manager of Valley Vixens

Everyday consists of working full time as an Occupational Therapist in addition to preparing the Valley Vixens for the upcoming football season. Last year we put this team together mid-season so things were a little hectic. We ended up not receiving our helmets and pads until the Wednesday before our first game that Friday. We only practiced for a little over a month, but we played with a lot of heart and determination throughout our season. Although most of the girls were new to the game and had no idea what to expect they showed a great deal of enthusiasm for what is typically a male dominant sport, and worked hard to prepare for the upcoming games. For our first season we played well, in which we won 3 out of 4 games that were played. Now we are definitely much more prepared and eager to start our second season. We have a fantastic group of girls returning from last year and some new ones that have tried out and joined the team, eager to participate in the upcoming season. The Vixens are also trying to reach out to the community to give back in any way that we can by volunteering our time when given the opportunity. Our goal as a team is to encourage women to build strong bonds with other women while allowing them the opportunity to play a non-traditional sport on a higher level of competition. The team is already hard at work and has begun their intense practices. We are looking forward to being a stronger and more fierce team than last year, and hoping to continue to give our fans something to be proud of. The football season kicks off this May 2015.

We invite all of the Rio Grande Valley to watch and support our team this 2015 season.

GO VIXENS !!

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