Women’s tackle football isn’t new to Columbus. When the Columbus Chaos joined the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA) in the spring of 2022, they followed a group of “pacesetters” before them. Now, they’re writing their own chapter in the deep-rooted history of Columbus sports.
The history of women’s tackle football in Central Ohio began in 1974 when the Columbus Pacesetters became a charter member of the seven-team National Women's Football League (NWFL). The NWFL dissolved in 1988, but forward progress continued.
The Columbus Comets joined the National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) for its inaugural season in 2003. When COVID-19 put another obstacle in the way of Columbus women’s football, former players Chelsea Johnson and Staci Alkula picked up the ball. They wanted to build a team that would thrive in Columbus and resonate with the city’s football-crazed fanbase. So, they started the Chaos.
The Chaos finished its inaugural season 1-6. Although the team’s record fell short of .500, the season was a success. Playing is about more than winning for the Chaos. Winning a national championship is the goal, but the Chaos want more for their team. They want to inspire others.
“I want girls to look up to me one day and be like, ‘Oh, I want to be like Ovi’,” fullback Ovi Moore said. “To me, that's everything. If I can impact or inspire a little girl to be a football player, that would be the world to me.”
Whether it’s on the field, the sidelines, or in press box, there is always a place for women in football. Johnson and the rest of the Chaos want to see more women involved in the game. More involvement leads to more role models for future generations of girls and women in sports.
“There's actually a lot of representation and a lot of need for other women to step into refereeing, ownership, and other things that take part in the industry of football at large,” Johnson said.
In addition to inspiring others, the Chaos want to provide a welcoming place for women to pursue their passion for football and competition. Football is an outlet for many players on the team. The field is a place where they can be themselves, play the game they love and grow a family while doing it.
“We just want to be able to give what we know back to the women that are ready to play this sport in a safe environment,” Johnson said.
Right now, players pay to be part of this safe environment. The Chaos are hoping to change this someday. Title IX has provided them with countless opportunities, but Marketing Director Desirae Cox acknowledges there is still work to be done.
“One of our missions, of the many goals that we have, is to make a roadmap and understand how we can get to the point where our players are actually on that equal platform with men and getting compensated for their time (and) their passion,” Cox said.
The Chaos is a family, and nothing can derail the bonds the team has built this year. The women have built an everlasting sisterhood that will not only help them play better on the field next season, but will enrich their lives for years to come.
To learn about what the Greater Columbus Sports Commission does, visit the About Us page.