Thanks to her productivity on the field, Jeanette Gray has landed her a pretty cool perk off the field: she is one of the select Women's Football Alliance ( WFA ) players to be featured in the inaugural 2015 trading card series. Gray appears on card No. 4 in the 18-card base set and one of four WFA players to also have an authentic autograph card, numbered to 100.
WFA cards are produced by the Nebraska-based Doji Malo Trading Card company, named after the owner's family.
Gray was the team MVP for the Chicago Force in 2014 and the 2014 WFA Conference Player of the Year.
"The Women's Football Alliance was a league we were interested in as fans," said the company president, who requested to be identified simply as Doji Malo. "As collectors, we searched for cards to buy. When we could not find a WFA set, we contacted the league to see if we could work with them to create one. The WFA was open to the idea and the relationship is very positive."
The 2015 WFA cards, the first-ever cards for the tackle league, which operates on the same rules as the NCAA, will be an ongoing project. "The league gave us permission to work directly with the teams, but it is a daily process to find the right people to talk with on each team, decide on the players to include, get the images lined up, player bios, stats edited, etc. Our hope is to have players from each team in the set this year, and have the 2016 set mapped out in advance," Doji Malo said.
"The players [in the initial 2015 release] are selected based on input from the teams. Since we are funding this 100 percent upfront ourselves, we can't include every player; it would cost too much to create a set from scratch that way. So, we ask the teams to give us a list of a few players they believe should be included and go with that. Next year, we hope to be funded, so that we can create a more inclusive set."
Gray is the lone Chicago player featured in the initial release.
Kate Sowers, the quarterback for the Kansas City Titans, is card No. 1 in the seriesand she also has a separate authentic autograph card, also numbered to 100. Her twin sister, Liz, who plays wide receiver, also has a base card and an autograph card.
"The most important thing for the WFA set is to get cards in the hands of collectors and
fans," Doji Malo said. "The WFA needs exposure, and these cards are a time-tested way to create a buzz. Whatever we can do to get WFA cards into the hands of collectors is the top priority.
The plan is to have the 2016 set in process the day after the season ends in 2015, which is in early August.
The next cards in the works are players from the Everett Reign, Minnesota Machine and Portland Fighting Fillies. There also will be autograph cards for the Seattle Majestics, Orlando Anarchy, and West Michigan Mayhem that need to be reissued.
"New cards for 2015 are just going to be ready when they are ready. The nature of this year's process means we don't have a strict release schedule," he said.
The Hamlin and Gray cards have generated the most interest so far, Doji Malo said.
The base set is limited to 500 cards per player, and autograph cards to no more than 100 hand-numbered cards. Some players may have an ultra-limited run of less than 50 autograph cards and 100 base cards, Doji Malo said.
Robin Lee runs the Girl-Jocks.com website, which specializes in sports memorabilia for female athletes. She purchased the entire first set of WFA cardsand was impressed.
"The new WFA cards are pretty nice looking and are of good quality card stock. I really like the action shots on the front and the head shots on the back with the players stats," said Lee, who lives in Northern California. "It's a good startthe players, fans, friends and family will be very happy with the cards.
"I don't think they're going to be a huge seller outside of that group, but I'd like to be pleasantly surprised."
For more information about the WFA cards, the company can be reached at email@example.com .