New women's football team in Jacksonville looks for support
Rebranded Legends Football League brings several changes
There's a new football team in Jacksonville, and when you picture a football player in your mind, this is probably not what first comes to mind.
It's a team made up of women who play in bikini-style uniforms.
Formally known as the Lingerie Football League, it has since rebranded itself as the Legends Football League. And the Tampa Bay Breeze team has relocated to the River City as the Jacksonville Breeze.
"It might bring some excitement back to football for football fans," KK Matheny, the team's quarterback, said of the move to Jacksonville. "It's definitely interesting when you come for the first time, you come out and watch one of our games, it's a lot faster paced."
IMAGES: Legend Football League team coming to Jacksonville
The league has a new name, and with that comes changes. Players will wear Performance Wear instead of lingerie uniforms, and the new logos don't include any sexy female figures. The shoulder pads have also been redesigned to increase protection.
The reasons for all the changes? To take the sport more seriously. Matheny (pictured, right) says she wants fans to view them as the real athletes that they are.
"We knew that we were great athletes, but kind of with that lingerie in front of it really put boundaries on where we could go with the league," she said.
Matheny admits some people don't approve of women playing sports in undergarments, and she hopes their new uniforms will convert those people over.
"We were kind of being viewed in some places as a gimmick," she said. "Now if you came to a game or if you played in the league, you know the girls that play in this league, most of us were former collegiate athletes."
The new Performance Wear uniforms compare to bathing suits.
"Let's just be honest: The females, whenever we are working out, we might just be in sports bras and Spandex, and what we're wearing now is no different," Matheny said.
The league has been around since 2009, and last season the Breeze went 4-2. Matheny hopes Jacksonville will embrace the Breeze.
"Give it a chance, come out, see a game," she said. "Once you come out and see a game and see how hard we work."
"I think the whole sex appeal thing is hard for some people to kind of overcome," Breeze rookie receiver and corner Taylor Hemmeter said. "Having that with real athletes, they kind of don't mix."
Hemmeter echoes Matheny hoping the Jacksonville community goes to the games and gives them a chance.
"I think a lot of people when they come to a game the first time, they are really surprised at how physical it is and how hard the girls hit, and it's really exciting for them," Hemmeter said.
The first game is April 6. Home games will be played at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
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