2021 was a pivotal year for many teams and individual performers. We saw new faces on offense step onto the national stage, and dominate. While a few defensive stars lived up to the hype. An expansion team took top team honors, an east coast fan base won the hearts of us all, and a young coach from SD stamped his place as one of the top minds in the game.
COACH OF THE YEAR - BRANDON ARCHIE - San Diego Rebellion
Pacific Conference Champion Head Coach Brandon Archie is no stranger to the sideline. The young coach has been called a "wonder boy" on the sideline for his ability to pull together complex schemes and get the most out of his athletes. His abilities were on full display as the Rebellion plowed through the vaunted Utah Falconz defense to upset the defending 2019 Pacific Conference champions on their home field last season. Coach Archie transformed a 2-4 Rebellion squad into a championship contender who was undefeated in the 2021 regular season. Coach seems to be a man of few words, but all eyes will be on him and his Rebellion squad as they make another run at the IX CUP.
TEAM OF THE YEAR - Las Vegas Silver Stars Women's Football
The Las Vegas Silverstars finished the 2021 season with a winning record (4-3) after going winless in their 2019 inaugural WNFC season. The ladies from Vegas are truly looking to shine, with their largest roster to date. They are being led by newcomer QB Cindylou Rasiang and returning All-Pros RB Tone Zoutoumou, and trench star Barbriel Davis.
TOP FAN BASE OF THE YEAR - Philadelphia Phantomz
Dance teams, cheerleaders, food trucks, full stands, and an international fan base! That is what we saw from the top fan base in WNFC last season. This year the city of Philly is rallying around their Phantomz again, according to owner Star Wright, the 2022 Saturday night experience is going to be even better. Lit, will be an understatement!
OWNERSHIP GROUP OF THE YEAR - Florida Avengers
The Florida Avengers boasts a group of four proud owners. The team is one of the top in ticket sales, fan engagement, apparel sales, and more. The Avengers are building a powerhouse, on and off the field. The question remains if this will be their year to host and PLAY in the Atlantic Conference Championship!
GAME CHANGER AWARD - REGENA JACKSON - Mississippi Lady Panthers
On any given Saturday in Jackson Mississippi, you will find one of the most exciting dual-threat quarterbacks in the country. No, we're not talking about Shedeur Sander, we're talking about Regena Jackson. Affectionately known as "RJ3"...miss Jackson is a highlight waiting to happen. With a cannon for an arm, top-level athletism, she finished the 2021 season in the top 10 in passing and rushing. More importantly, the sophomore QB led her team into the playoff tournament with one of the top late-season performances that the league has seen. Can RJ3 and her young MS Panthers make her 2021 prediction come true? Will we see her on the main stage in Frisco, TX on June 26?
ROOKIE OF THE YEAR - MEGHAN LEWIS - DENVER BANDITS
Last year's rookie of the year burst onto the scene in the Pacific Conference with 901 yards rushing. Meghan Lewis is a bonafide star in the Denver Bandits backfield. The newcomer finished the season as the #2 rusher in the league. Lewis is a charismatic star, who put a whopping 17 touchdowns on the scoreboard for the Denver Bandits. Lewis was also the team's number three receiver in 2021. The speedster will be joined in the backfield by all-pro Jasmine Thomas. This duo will be must-see TV.
SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE YEAR - JENNIFER STROTHER -
SAN DIEGO REBELLION
Strother is a part of a team that values all 3 phases of the game. As the most
efficient kicker in the league in 2021 (88%), she was the steady foot that lead the Pacific Conference champions to their 2021 IX CUP appearance. The race for the 2022 championship will be tight. Can Strother piece together another excellent year that may come down to her kicking her team to a world title?
OFFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR - KELLI SMITH - ALABAMA FIRE
Kelli Smith is a GOAT. No other way to put it. She literally carried the Alabama Fire to one of their best seasons on record. The dual-sport star (also a member of USA Rugby) exploded with 20...yes, you read that right TWENTY rushing touchdowns over 6 games. Smith gobbled up 1,291 rushing yards, as the only thousand-yard runner in the WNFC. Smith is back for the 2022 season, running behind WNFC all-pro fullback Shardonay Jenkins.
DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR - OLIVIA GRISWOLD - TEXAS ELITE SPARTANS
The 2021 defensive player of the year leads a unit that shut out all of its regular-season
opponents on the way to back-to-back WNFC titles. Olivia Grisold lead the league with 9 sacks in the regular season and finished the season as one of only two non-linebackers with 30 or more solo tackles. Griswold is no stranger to accolades as one of the most decorated tackle football players in the history of the sport. What remains undetermined is if she has enough left in the tank to lead the Texas Elite Spartans defense to another historic season, as she is headed into her 18th season.
LEAGUE MVP - GINA MAGANA - UTAH FALCONZ
The league MVP race was a tight one. Typically, it is a space reserved for the country's top quarterback. In 2021 a small framed running back out of Salt Lake City Utah was the unstoppable favorite. Gina Magana (standing at 5 feet, 1 inch) dominated on specials teams, as the league's top kick returners (5 kickoff returns for 3 touchdowns) lead the league in touchdowns (23). The Utah Falconz boasted the #2 offense in the country with 368 total points scored, and Magana was the focal point of it all. Will Magana and the Falconz again be stifled by a Pacific Conference opponent? Or is this the year for the Falconz to finally take it all!
The answers to these questions and so many more will be answered as the WNFC season kicks off on Saturday, April 2, on Vyre Network . You can catch all of the action live on your phone, Smart TV, or computer (download Vyre Network app on Apple or Andriod, SamsungTV, RokuTV, AppleTV, and more).