Brittany Langley and her teammates on the Columbus Vanguards just want to play professional tackle football this fall.
Those wanting to support them or who are interested in playing with them or becoming a member of their coaching and support staff, can attend their meeting and player registration from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Eagles.
“I wanted to put this team together to give women in southern Indiana the opportunity to play tackle football,” Langley said. “I’ve loved playing tackle football for the Indy Crash, but I didn’t want to keep driving to Indianapolis twice a week for practice.”
As the team’s owner and one of its coaches and players, Langley began recruiting players and sponsors at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fair in July. She set up a booth that advertised the new team, and Erin Padgett, a local nurse, noticed.
Since she already was a member of Terrorz Roller Derby, Padgett was interested right away because of the similarities between the sports.
“In roller derby and football, you have the camaraderie of being part of a team, which I enjoy,” Padgett said. “In roller derby and football, you wear special footwear to help you chase after people. Both sports are physical, and you can hit people. I don’t like it when injuries happen, but I enjoy when I hit people hard at fast speeds, and we both feel it. It gives me an adrenaline rush.”
Langley felt a similar rush when she first suited up for the Indy Crash in 2012. It’s a moment she wants to help create for each member of her new team.
“Coming out of the Army, I missed the structure of family,” Langley said. “It was so exciting just to put on my uniform and strap on my helmet and be a part of that family. That’s what I’m going to bring to the team — a family atmosphere that women will want to be a part of. We’re all excited to play.”
Langley said anyone over 18 can play, and anyone over 14 can be on the staff.
A few questions must be answered before the football is snapped. A schedule must be put together, and a venue for home games must be determined after all the agreements with potential sponsors are finalized.
“We’re working on everything,” Langley said. “We’re going to try and have all of our equipment be paid for by sponsors. That would be a historic achievement. We’re finalizing things with a few local businesses.”
For each sponsor they attract, the team will donate one hour of community service to whatever cause the sponsor designates.
“We want young girls to see us as role models on and off the field,” Langley said. “We want to be part of this community and give back to it. When people support the Vanguards, they’ll be supporting Columbus.”
The Vanguards are interested in joining the Women’s Football Alliance, one of the three full-contact 11-on-11 pro leagues in the country. In all, about 6,000 women play tackle football in the United States, but it has caught on in countries like Finland and Brazil, as well.
Padgett believes it will be easy to attract people to games since they can have a life-changing effect on players and fans.
“I’m sure a lot of women will have their life changed by the Vanguards,” she said. “The opportunity to play football will empower them. Anyone who’s curious about should come our meeting Thursday and find out what we’re about.”
The Columbus Vanguards women’s professional tackle football team will hold a meeting for anyone interested in being a player, coach of support staff member from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Eagles.