Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-06-09
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Former Chicago Force star gets taste of NFL
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2018-10-10

This article shared 2 times since Wed Oct 10, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos


Darcy Leslie spent eight years playing for the now-defunct Chicago Force, establishing herself as one of the best women to ever put on the pads. She was a national champion, and was decorated with many individual awards every season, including perennial team Defensive MVP and league All American. She also was Women's Football Alliance ( WFA ) Conference Player of the Year in 2013.

"My Force [career] entails some of my greatest athletic accomplishments," said Leslie, who lives in Chicago's Rogers Park neighborhood and is a general manager for Canine Crew and CrossFit Coach at Hardware Crossfit.

Football is still in her blood, though now retired from playing. Leslie was a Summer Scouting Specialist for the New York Jets.

Yes, the Jets of NFL fame.

"Last year, I applied for the Women's Careers in Football Forum, [which] helps the NFL identify qualified women to join its next generation of leaders," Leslie said. "I was accepted and went to Orlando [this past] January for two days of panel discussions, presentations and breakout sessions. It was a very educational experience and it helped me gain knowledge about various fields within the NFL that I was interested in, such as strength and conditioning, scouting and coaching.

"That weekend help solidify my desire to pursue a career in the NFL. Since then, I was able to make some invaluable connections, with individuals such as Sam Rappaport, NFL senior director of football development, and Scott Pioli, assistant general manager of the Atlanta Falcons. Sam and I have been in contact since the Forum and she was a huge advocate of mine. Because of her advocacy I was able to go to the Chicago Bears' training facility to watch practice and meet some of the players and coaches. After that experience, the opportunity to intern with the New York Jets was introduced to me and it is an offer I could not be more grateful for."

Leslie assisted the Jets' Scouting Department throughout training camp. "I was responsible for learning the ins and outs of football scouting, operations and analytics," she said. "The Jets taught me how to identify and differentiate between players. I learned how to evaluate the talent of football players and the critical factors for each position. With that, I was then in charge of writing weekly scouting reports for the position group I was assigned. In these reports, I had to differentiate and articulate different athlete body types, list their strengths and weakness and evaluate where this player stood on making our roster. It warranted a high attention to detail and helped me look at football from a different lens."

Leslie spent six weeks with the Jets, throughout training camp.

"I also learned that football at this level is made possible by the countless efforts of hundreds of people," she said. "Everyone is here putting in the long hours to help do what they can to make the team successful. It was pretty unreal to get a glimpse of what all goes on. I love football and have been a fan of the sport my whole life. As a fan, we just see what happens on game day. I had the pleasure of interacting with so many different departments while I was here, whether you are in the business department, equipment, operations, video etc, [and] everyone is working extremely hard day in, day out. It was truly one team, one goal around here."

Leslie, with a strong passion for fitness and nutrition, asked the Jets' strength and conditioning coach out to lunch to talk about his role and what his workload entailed. "I was expecting a 'No,' but instead, Coach [Justus] Galac welcomed the opportunity to share his knowledge. I learned so much in that hour about his role and how he manages to balance his job and family. He then invited me to sit in on the players' workout. It was definitely one of my highlights while being here. Justus and his two assistant coaches, Aaron [McLaurin] and Joe [Giacobbe], were very knowledgeable. They are always busy, but were so open to answer any questions that I had and I was never made to feel like I was wasting their time. I was grateful for that."

Leslie is convinced that women are capable of holding more "nontraditional" roles in the NFL. "We might have to work harder to get there, but it is not unrealistic," she said. "I learned that the most important thing is winning. If what you bring to the table will help the success of the team, then you are an asset, regardless of your sex.

"Some people are skeptical when it comes to having women in football and as a woman, when you get your foot in the door, there tends to be an even larger focus on the fact that you are a woman. My focus is putting in the work and making sure I work hard and have there be no question whether or not I belong there. I wish I could say me being a female shouldn't matter, but it does. It matters to me, it matters to the other women trying to pursue a career in this field and sports in general and it matters to that little girl that turns on the television. It's crucial that our young girls can see representations of women in the media, that they can see a female referee or coach during an NFL game and ultimately see what is possible."

Leslie also is a proud representative of the LGBT community, as she's an out, married lesbian.

"I was open about my sexuality my entire time with the New York Jets and was never once made to feel uncomfortable or less than," she said. "I shared with some of the coaches, players and staff that my wife was pregnant with our son and I got several congratulations and tips on the best products my wife and I will need once our son is here. Several of them also gave me insight on what life would be like having a career in the NFL while trying to make time for your family. I am grateful for their inclusivity and affirmation of the LGBTQ community."

Leslie added, "I'm so grateful that Sam Rappaport and the New York Jets saw something in me that allowed me to earn this opportunity. Being a minority in nearly every space I have played sports in, worked in, and trained in, I understand the importance of including as many people from different walks of life as possible. What people see on camera and on sports teams is what they see as possible. Without such representation, future generations won't know what is possible. My son will be here in November and when he grows up, I want him to be able to turn the television and see someone who he can relate to and I hope I could offer that now to some little girl or boy."

Despite a taste of NFL life, Leslie has certainly not forgotten her Force roots.

"The Force is the reason why I'm experiencing this amazing opportunity," she said. "I was coached by the best coach in women's football, [John Konecki]. I learned so much from Coach K and I believe having him as my coach and utilizing all that I've learned from him will help me on my path to a career in the NFL. I would also say, the Force helped me grow into the woman I am today. I started on that team at a very young age. I had the opportunity play and be mentored by some amazing women who were older and wiser than me. Linda Bache, Rosalyn Bennett, Pam Schaffrath, Jessica Mcpeake, and Keesha Brooks played pivotal roles in my development as a player and a young adult. If it wasn't for them and the Force, I'm not sure what my life would look like today."

Former Force owner Linda Bache was the first person Leslie called to tell her about the Jets' gig.

"Linda has been a big part of my life since I joined the Force [and] the one who suggested I apply for the Forum in January, and she is the one who wrote my letter of recommendation," Leslie said. "She's always had my back and has only wanted the best for me. I'm not sure what will come from this internship, but I do know I am grateful for Linda and for all that she has done for women's football and all that she continues to do for me."

Leslie said she developed good friendships with some of the Jets, such as Leonard Williams and Trumaine Johnson.

"I was able to interact with the players and coaches daily," she said. "Coach [Todd] Bowles is a great man, very knowledgeable about the sport and his players. I would chat with him several times a week. Since I was there as a scouting intern, I would be assigned a different position group each week and had to write scouting reports about each player in that position. This meant that each week I was interacting with a new set of players. Daily I had the chance to spend time with Coach [Karl] Dorrell, Coach [Jimmie] Johnson, several of the other coaches and in time, all the players. I got to know many of the coaches and players on an individual level, as we ate all three meals together in addition to spending countless hours together on and off the field."


This article shared 2 times since Wed Oct 10, 2018
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Olympics: U.S. women's 3x3 basketball team wins gold
2021-07-28
The U.S. team of Stefanie Dolson, Allisha Gray, Kelsey Plum and Jackie Young won the first women's gold medal in the new Olympic sport of 3x3 basketball, The Chicago Tribune reported. Plum scored all five of ...


Gay News

'Filmmaking on the South Side' on Aug. 21
2021-07-28
On Aug. 21, 7-9:30 p.m., Chicago Humanities Festival and local partners from Sisters in Cinema, South Side Home Movie Project and the Chicago South Side Film Festival will host a conversation about the development of community-based ...


Gay News

9/11 Memorial Stair Climb and Walk taking place at Soldier Field
2021-07-28
In remembrance of the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, members of the public will join area firefighters to climb the stairs of Soldier Field in honor of the 343 firefighters from the FDNY who ...


Gay News

Olympics: Japan tops U.S. in gold-medal softball game
2021-07-27
In the Olympics, host country Japan beat the United States 2-0 to take the gold medal on July 27. Softball was added to the games at host country Japan's request, and from the moment it became ...


Gay News

NBC Sports apologizes for misgendering Olympian; GLAAD responds
2021-07-27
GLAAD responded to media coverage of the first several days of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo, including the misgendering of Team USA skateboarder Alana Smith. Smith made Olympic history July 25 as the first ...


Gay News

Olympics: Women's soccer team advances to quarterfinals
2021-07-27
United States women's national team (USWNT) forward Alex Morgan had a goal disallowed as the squad settled for a 0-0 tie with Australia in its final game of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics group stage, ESPN.com noted. ...


Gay News

Gay British diver wins Olympic gold
2021-07-27
The British team of Tom Daley and Matty Lee narrowly won the 10-meter synchronized diving competition on July 26 at the Tokyo Olympics, upsetting favored China and keeping the diving powerhouse from any chance of a ...


Gay News

Chicago Red Stars fall to Gotham 2-1
2021-07-26
The Chicago Red Stars' Makenzy Doniak scored in the second half's stoppage time—but the team ultimately lost to NJ/NY Gotham FC 2-1 at Harrison, New Jersey, on July 25. Allie Long and Midge Purce scored for ...


Gay News

NATIONAL California cases, trans woman killed, Pride staircase, sports law
2021-07-25
Proponents of Proposition 8 have to file a brief on or before Aug. 16 to show they have standing to appeal a district court decision to release tapes of the landmark Perry v. Schwarzenegger trial that ...


Gay News

Women's soccer: U.S. Olympic team bounces back with 6-1 win
2021-07-24
Days after Sweden snapped the U.S. women's national team's (USWNT's) 44-game win streak with a deflating 3-0 loss, the U.S. team scored a 6-1 victory over New Zealand on July 24, The Sporting News noted. The ...


Gay News

Gina Ortiz Jones, Shawn Skelly confirmed by U.S. Senate; both make LGBTQ history
2021-07-22
--From a press release - Washington, DC — The United States Senate today confirmed two historic LGBTQ presidential nominees by unanimous consent. Gina Ortiz Jones, confirmed for Under Secretary of the Air Force, will be the first out lesbian to serve ...


Gay News

Women's soccer: Sweden snaps United States' 44-game win streak
2021-07-21
In women's soccer, Sweden dominated the United States 3-0 on July 20 in Tokyo, snapping the Americans' 44-game winning streak in convincing fashion, Yahoo! Sports reported. The U.S. team entered this event as heavy favorites to ...


Gay News

Hockey prospect makes history by coming out
2021-07-20
Just weeks after the first active pro-football came out as gay, a professional hockey prospect has done the same. Nashville Predators prospect Luke Prokop has come out as gay, becoming the first active player under contract ...


Gay News

Trans model makes history with SI Swimsuit cover
2021-07-19
On July 19, Sports Illustrated (SI) Swimsuit announced this year's cover models: rapper Megan Thee Stallion, tennis player Naomi Osaka and model/actress Leyna Bloom—each making history in her own way. A press release sent to Windy ...


Gay News

Chicago Red Stars net 3-1 victory over OL Reign
2021-07-19
Vanessa DiBernardo and Kealia Watt celebrated league milestones as the Chicago Red Stars defeated the OL Reign at home (SeatGeek Stadium) on July 18. DiBernardo reached the 10,000th minute mark in her NWSL (National Women's Soccer ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.