Photo submitted by the River City Sirens
Empowerment: River City Sirens embrace motto, look to build strong community
NEW BRAUNFELS — It’s a cold, drizzly Monday night at the HEB Soccer Complex in New Braunfels.
The sounds of pads popping and cleats plopping on the muddy field fill the air. The conditions are less the ideal but that’s not stopping the River City Sirens from practicing.
The Sirens — an all female football team that plays in the Xtreme Female Football League — worked through drills, conditioning and plays for an upcoming game.
No, this isn’t two-touch football, or even flag. This is eight-on-eight, tackle football, and the Sirens want to make sure that’s understood.
“It is actual football,” said Dionna Rodriguez, 34, a mother of six. “We get that a lot. Like, they wouldn’t know what the experience of that until they come out and see it. So, some of my family members would come out and they would be like, ‘Oh, you’re playing football, football. Like, you’re getting tackled. We didn’t know it was like that.’ They thought it was either flag football or two-touch. So, I mean, it’s an experience.”
River City has 21 women on its roster — they span from late teens to early 40s. The players come from the New Braunfels, San Marcos and Seguin area.
Their motto is “Women Empowering Women” and they full embrace it.
“I think we carried over the strong women empowerment from last year, the dedication from last year to this year,” Rodriguez said. “So, it’s continuing that with new faces. So, the new girls that came into this team also brought in that positivity, that women empowerment, that strong, you know, ‘we’re going to take you down however we can’ type of mentality but we’re also going to help you back up.”
This is River City’s second year of existence. The Sirens struggled last season, going 0-10. This year, however, they believe they can compete in the XFFL. River City started off the season with a 55-6 win over the Texas Lady Spartans on Feb. 9 and a 26-14 victory against the Laredo Lady Warhawks on Feb. 23.
“We’re going for the rings,” head coach Nate Rodriguez said. “We’re going for the championship. We’ve put these girls in a position and they’ve put themselves in the position to really push and make a legitimate fight for the championship.”
The Sirens play their first home game on Saturday against the Corpus Christi Divas at the CFPO Football Complex in San Marcos at 7 p.m.
River City wants fans to come out and support women who are trying to buck the idea that only men can play football.
“We take it very personally and not lightly that we can come in here and work our butts off because last year we showed the heart, we went to every game for the love of football, for the love our sisters,” said Brianna Salazar, 21. “So, to come in here and have more people that share the same passion that we do, it’s been amazing.”
The Sirens are looking forward to showing the community just what they can do on Saturday.
“This is our sisterhood,” Dionna Rodriguez said. “This is our family. So, if something happens to one, it’s happening to all of us. So, we’re trying to build a brand here that will hopefully continue throughout the years. This isn’t going to be the last that you hear about the Sirens.”