Adrienne Smith, elite athlete and professional football player, made history when the Boston Renegades played the D.C. Divas on May 21st at Della Russo Stadium. The veteran wide receiver Smith set a new all-time record for receiving yards (5,093) in the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA). We caught up with Adrieenne to talk about the record-setting milestone, lessons from her 10+ years in professional women’s football, and the future of females in pro-sports.
How does it feel to break the women's football alliance all-time record and how did you celebrate after the game?
It feels fantastic! Breaking the record was amazing. I was shocked—I didn’t set out to do it, rather, it’s a result of my lifelong pursuit of excellence. I celebrated with my quarterback Allison Cahill; we went back to her house and reminisced of our long history playing football together. I contacted my football hero Jerry Rice and let him know about the news as well. He congratulated me and that meant a lot, since he holds the record for the most receiving yards in the NFL!
What lessons have you learned from your 10+ years in football?
Football is an incredible sport with so many applicable life lessons. The importance of consistency, first and foremost in the organization for which you’re playing, is one of the most critical aspects of a player’s career. Consistency in management, coaching staff, consistency in the mindset and skill level of your team mates—this is all necessary to achieve a dynasty. Consistency will help to create record-breaking success and make an indelible mark on anything in your life, from sports to business and beyond.
What would you like to see in the future for women's football?
I would like to see one unified league in the U.S. for women’s tackle football. For both women’s tackle and flag football, I want to see greater media exposure. Currently, just over five percent of all sports media coverage is around women’s sports. Games should be televised, journalists should be covering games, and there should be more visibility around the elite female athletes and stars of the industry.
Please tell us about the women who have inspired you the most during your career.
My mother! Even though she is no longer with us, I still recognize the important lessons she taught me every day. I also am greatly inspired by Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey, because they succeeded in areas that did not exist when they were little girls—they had no specific role models to point to, yet achieved incredible accomplishments and truly charted new territory. And they did it flawlessly.
What advice would you give to a woman wanting to follow in your footsteps?
Go play football! If you are wanting to become a tackle or flag football champion, find out what teams are in your area, contact them, and play for those teams. Improve your ability by eating right, studying the game and training for the sport. Gain inspiration and technique by watching football games on TV, following football-related accounts on social media platforms, and committing to the craft of football.
You are the founder of the Gridiron Queendom, so please can you tell us a bit more about what Gridiron Queendom does?
Gridiron Queendom is my company that promotes and supports women and girls around the world who play football and really love the game of football. I wanted to create a safe space and community that encouraged girls and women to pursue their love for the sport. We have had some amazing success in providing unique programming for girls around the US and look forward to reaching even more girls and women in the future.
At what point when you were growing up did your passion for the game begin?
My passion for the game began at the age of 3 years-old, when my teddy bear, Ginger, and I watched Sunday football! My parents nurtured my love of the sport, and while I played other sports as well growing up, football was my passion from a young age.
You created the award-winning Blitz Champz, so for those who are new to this- what is it and how do you play?
Blitz Champz is the ultimate card game for football fans. It's really easy to play: whoever scores 21 or more points wins the game. Red cards remove points, green points allow you to score points, and yellow cards keep the game in motion. It’s a great activity for kids and families that teaches strategy and math, while having fun.
Who are the most important women in your life now and why?
Still my mom, my aunts, and my godmother—all phenomenal, strong and inspirational women. And of course, my Boston Renegades teammates, who are amazing athletes and women!