We challenged our rookies to enter their inspirational stories for a chance to win the March Player of the Month title and would like to share the winning story with you here. Angie Martinez' story is happy, sad, moving, and encouraging! We are proud to announce her as the winner and to have her as an Indy Crash rookie!
Indy Crash is proud to present Rosie the Rhino!!! Rosie is the official Indy Crash mascot. Keep an eye out for her at events and games.
LEA KASZAS, #7, QUARTERBACK
Lea first started playing football in 2007, in Toledo, Ohio, for Thee Toledo Reign. She hadn’t thought of playing football until she met a group of girls who played for the team and convinced her to give it a shot. Although a multi-sport athlete in high school, Lea didn’t play back then because football was not a popular sport in Canada; she certainly hadn’t heard of girls or women playing. Lea has been playing women’s tackle football for eight years; this will be her seventh season playing for Indy.
Lea acknowledges that she was glad she gave football a shot back in Toledo. “Football pushes me to my limits; it makes me want to be better every year. I love the physicality, the necessity of teamwork, the camaraderie, and being a student of the game. There is nothing more exciting than taking the field Saturday night and after seven seasons; I still look forward to practice every week.”
Lea believes the team’s biggest challenge is recruiting players and getting the team’s name out there to potential fans and sponsors. While she recognizes the challenges faced by most women’s pro teams, such as obtaining all of the necessary organizational and financial resources to run a team, Lea worries more about memorizing the play calls and working out as well she should. According to Lea, the players should worry about playing and keeping their bodies healthy.
As far as football is concerned, Lea’s most influential mentor was and is her first coach, Mitchi Collette. The sport was completely new to Lea, but she said Collette believed in her every step of the way. In Lea’s first year, Collette helped her make the ALL-PRO team where she excelled and earned MVP. Lea continues to remember the skills Collette taught and is inspired by her passion for the game. Since then, she has had many other amazing coaches who have all contributed to her growth.
Lea graduated from École Maurice- Lavallée in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, where she played all sports ranging from badminton to basketball; she played soccer and volleyball all six years from junior high through high school. Lea graduated from IUPUI with a degree in elementary education and currently teaches first grade for Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS). Lea says, “I love my kids and my job!”
Through football, Lea has met some of her closest friends, many of whom she believes will remain friends long after her years of playing are behind her. Lea is appreciative of her partner, Irune for supporting her. Lea’s niece and nephew grew up watching Lea, their mom, as well as an entire group of strong and important women play football. It is clear that football has played just as much of a part in the lives Lea’s family members as it has in her life.
Please help the team and Lea. Anything you give this month will be split 50/50 between the Indy Crash to prepare for the 2016 season and to help pay Lea’s 2016 player fees. You can make donations on our GoFundMe.
Kiva Thomas, #22, Running Back
Kiva has been playing pro football for 13 years. She grew up surrounded by boys and always played football in the neighborhood and could beat all the boys, but she grew up in a time when women were not football players--they were cheerleaders. Her dad wouldn’t let her play, because… girls just didn’t play football. Kiva got stuck being a cheerleader, and she hated every minute of it.
Kiva loves the camaraderie with her teammates but says the biggest challenge is that the players come from many different skill levels and backgrounds. Veteran players, who have been around 10+ years, grew up in a time when playing football as a girl was never an option, but times have changed, to an extent, as the younger generation of 20-somethings have experienced opportunities to play on pop warner leagues. Women of Kiva’s era did not have the opportunities that exist now, and she is proud to have been a part of this transition, watching a sport like football come to embrace female athletes. Regardless of skill level, background or a society that may still struggle with women in pads and helmets, Kiva recognizes that “you work, ya just do it-come together, suck it up and knock it out.”
Kiva credits her dad and brothers for being there, encouraging her and making her tough. She learned strength through support from a huge gamut of men and women in her family, her friends and her coaches. Aside from her love of football, she played basketball at the University of Louisville, majoring in computer engineering. She currently works as a web developer/business analyst. Kiva thanks her family and friends for standing by her.
Please help the team and Kiva. Anything you give this month will be split 50/50 between the Indy Crash to prepare for the 2016 season and to help pay Kiva’s 2016 player fees. You can make donations on our GoFundMe.
Brittany Langley, “Lang Bang”, #17, Corner
Langley is a woman of few words, but she makes a huge impact. She explains that, “football got me interested in football.” And, that about says it all! She loves the game, her teammates, her family’s support, and the support of her community. Langley credits her father and mentor, Coach Kenny Haworth, for teaching her on and off the field.
Kenny is humble about his daughter and tried to keep “coach” separate form “dad”. He credits her for being her own person and making the right decisions on her own. He says, “she is a team player and a leader; her military background has contributed to how hard she works and the sacrifices she makes as a player.” Langley is an army veteran and worked as military police.
Kenny shared a story about Langley’s rookie season. Apparently, she contacted Kenny for help, frantically telling him. “you have to meet Coach Priest,” because they only had one week to coach her to be a quarterback against Chicago, one of the largest, toughest teams in the league. ”She kept getting slammed down but got up with a smile every time,” said Coach Kenny.
Langley loves having her dad be a part of her career in football. When asked, she said, “it’s always great to have my father on the field with me, but it’s more important to have a great coach and a mentor, who happens to know me as a person and as an athlete.” Growing up, she remembers his constant support from the sidelines and the bleachers.
Langley has been playing on the Indy Crash for 4 years and will be traveling to LA in August, along with a few other players, representing the Indy Crash in the All American game. This is her first appearance as a voted all pro, and her team is proud of her-not only for how she plays on the field but for how she treats people and her willingness to volunteer to help the team any chance she can get.
Indy Crash would like to devote this featured player of the month to Langley for her devotion, positive attitude and work ethic and to also thank strong men-- fathers, husbands, sons and brothers, who stand up and support strong women in sports.
Please help the team and Langley. Anything you give this month will be split 50/50 between the Indy Crash to prepare for the 2016 season and to help pay Langley’s 2016 player fees. You can make donations on our GoFundMe.
Article about the Indy Crash was featured in the Broad Ripple Magazine. Make sure to get your copy!
"The team welcomes all women. Football has a place for these women regardless of size, height, weight, speed, background and level of ability. Women are not placed in a box or asked to change or adapt to societal norms. These women send a message stronger than just the sport of football itself."
Read the full story here.
Great article on WFA Nation about Defensive Back Jenessa Anderson.
Jenessa started playing football as a kid, on a pop warner team with the boys. When a girl from her military ROTC program mentioned a women's team, Jenessa jumped all over the opportunity and has been playing ever since. For her, it's the adrenaline rush that comes with every play of involvement and the connections built with the team that keep her coming back every season. "It's a lifelong chance to have that second family bond that most lose after school, once they get their own careers and families." Her athleticism shines on the field; she is small but powerful and they call her mighty as she tackles players five times her size.
Read the full story here.