The motivation to repeat as national champions of the Women's Football Alliance ( WFA ) just became a little stronger for the 2013 champion Chicago Force.
Chicago, it was just announced, will play host to the 2014 championship game: Aug. 2, at Lane Stadium on the campus of Lane Tech High School ( 2601 W. Addison St. ).
"We're excited to have the opportunity to host the national championship," said Force owner Linda Bache. "We're hoping to be the first team in WFA history to win back to back championships. It would be an unbelievable accomplishment and especially memorable to do [so] in our home city."
The WFA's 2014 National Championship Weekend kicks off on Aug. 1, with the inaugural Alliance Bowl. Two teams that did not advance to their conference championship game will play in the 2014 Alliance Bowl.
The festivities continue on Aug. 2, with the fifth-annual WFA All-American Game, as the stars of the American Conference battle the top players from the National Conference.
The 2014 WFA National Championship game will start at 5 p.m., and for the fourth consecutive season, it will be broadcast on ESPN3.
"I decided to apply to host the championship for a couple of reasons," Bache said. "I thought it would provide great motivation for us to return to the championship in the quest for a repeat, for the opportunity to play for a title in front of our home fans, many of whom could not travel to San Diego last year to support us, and also as a way to give back to the sport by putting on a great championship event."
But that means it will be a lot of work to plan, organize and staff, Bache said, especially if the Force is again playing in the title game.
"We need sponsors, media coverage, support from the local community and volunteers to staff the event," Bache said.
The Force has submitted a bid to host the championship game three times in the team's 12-year historyand hosted the 2008 game at North Park University, which Chicago lost to Dallas.
"This [announcement] will serve as tremendous motivation for us to get back to the championship," Bache said. "As the defending champions, it would be a pretty difficult pill for us to swallow to host the championship for two other teams. The team's sole focus is to repeat our undefeated season and hoist the trophy again, but this time in our city with our fans."
Bache said that Ald. Bob Fioretti "was critical" in helping secure Lane Stadium for the championship weekend. Fioretti also was the sponsoring council member for the resolution from the City of Chicago designating January 5th, the day of the team's ring ceremony, as Chicago Force Day in honor of the team's perfect 2013 championship season.
"Team sponsors Dave Gassman and Andrea Raila enlisted the assistance of Alderman Bob Fioretti when we were seeking out an appropriate venue for the event," Bache said. "Dave Gassman has been a sponsor of the Force since its inception and continues to be our primary means of sponsorship. Andrea came on as a sponsor last year and has been a whirlwind of much-needed support. She was instrumental in creating more awareness of our achievements within the city and state."
Lane Stadium holds 4,000 and Bache said that, if the Force is in the championship game, it hopefully will be sold out, standing-room-only.
"It's a historic venue that was recently renovated with new field turf, lights, locker rooms and concession standsit's beautiful," Bache said. "A number of former NFL athletes played at Lane Stadium during their high school careers, [including] Fritz Pollard, the first African-American named to the Walter Camp All-American team. Pollard was one of the first two African-American players in the NFL and also the first African-American head coach in the NFL.