Lingerie Football League tryouts for Cleveland team

5:40 AM, Mar 28, 2011   |    comments
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NORTH ROYALTON -- Nearly 200 women from the Cleveland area are ready to suit up in panties and sports bras and play some tackle football.

Open tryouts for the Cleveland Crush, an expansion team in the Lingerie Football League, drew a crowd of potential players and spectators.

The LFL is 7-on-7 football on a 50-yard field. Helmets, shoulder, knee and elbow pads along with garters, bras and panties make up the team uniform.

With 12 teams, the LFL is entering its third season. The Cleveland Crush will make its debut in September.

League founder and chairman, Mitchell Mortaza, was in North Royalton Sunday, conducting a portion of the tryout.

"This is real football," said Mortaza. "This is like a real NFL combine and they're going to be tested as such.

"We're trying to find women that are athletic and attractive because we've got to be able to market the team," Mortaza said.

Those attending the tryout were put through shuttle runs, a 40-yard dash and tackling, receiving and passing drills.

Some critics say the LFL degrades women.

But those trying out for the Crush didn't have a problem with the game uniform.

"I sing in a band, so I wear close to the same (clothing as football attire) when I'm on stage," said tryout participant Jackie Laponza. "I have no problem with it. Know (LFL) is definitely popular with my male friends.

"Grew up with four brothers," Laponza said. "I'm ready to tackle some chicks."

"It's football first, then lingerie," said Kelly Ring who also is hoping for a spot on the team. "Beautiful girls and great athletes."

About 40 women will make the first cut from Sunday's tryout. Twenty players will make the final team roster.

The Cleveland Crush will be coached by former Browns cornerback Hanford Dixon.


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