Building an Empire
When you take time to build, you make sure to have the structure in place. You make sure to have as many things as well put together as possible for things to be as long lasting and consistent as possible.
On a windy, rainy evening (January 11, 2020), the early stages of "building an Empire" take place. Not necessarily about a conquest, but building a team that can be competitive at the highest levels possible of women's professional football, specifically the Atlanta Empire (formerly the Atlanta Steam), one of the teams that make up the X League (click HERE to visit their website).
Under the leadership of head coach and franchise partner Dane Robinson, a blend of league veterans and newcomers meet at One Touch Soccer (3200 Atlanta Industrial Parkway in Atlanta) as they brave the elements to showcase their skill sets. While names like Lauran Ziegler (a league Hall of Famer who is returning to Atlanta for an unprecedented 7th season), Mae Gamble (former TE and Legends Club Champion from the Chicago Bliss returning after a one-year hiatus), and Rachel Blacklock (returning for her second year after a previous injury) are among those who are part of the action, with the opening at quarterback due to the retirement of 7-year veteran Dakota Hughes, there's some roster opportunities for the taking.
However, like a number of things, it's not easy, and the competition is fierce.
A rigorous drill rotation not for the faint of heart (or not in top conditioning and shape), the first set of groups (5) are pushed through the combine tests (including the pro shuttle, L-cone, COD reaction drill, hurdles, and chaos drill). That in and of itself is a test that clearly is far some simple.
And then it amps up another notch.
With a series of positional drills including the skill positions (quarterback and running back/wide receiver assessments), offensive/defensive lines, and the defensive backs, those trying out are provided a workable array of options to showcase their talents. Doing so provides Robinson and his coaching staff a sense of athletes' transferable skills, as well as the proverbial understanding if they are teachable, focused, and have the inner drive to push themselves to higher levels of excellence and performance.
Given the demands, some may wonder why a number of female athletes that consider this path. Hearing from league veteran Melody Wyatt, there are some truly essential and meaningful reasons for their relentless pursuit.
Stay tuned as the team starts to take shape, round into form, and get prepared for the upcoming season.
Writer's notes: Make sure to add the Atlanta Empire on Facebook and visit @extfootball on Instagram and Twitter to find out more about the team and the league.