NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - For these women, football will never be about cheering on your favorite team from the sidelines. Their love of the game has them in the game it. Meet the ladies of the New York Sharks, New York's only professional female football team.
Created in 1999, the Sharks are part of the Independent Women's Football League, or IWFL. While things in this league parallel the NFL, there are a few differences. The women are smaller so the football is smaller. But once you make tryouts, prepare to tackle and be tackled.
Proper training helps alleviate injury but it happens. At 5 feet 5 inches, Daisy McCloud is tiny for a linebacker but even an injury like a double sprain couldn't keep her off the field.
At 21, Nhandi Brown is the youngest person on the team and already an all-star. Her dad is the team's announcer, which means this defensive back was attending games long before she laced up her cleats.
Kareen LaCroix balances her life as a shark with her 9-to-5 as a Navy recruiter. She admits it always makes her laugh when people find out she is a professional football player.
Hadiisha Butts is a corrections officer and a coach for the youth league the Brooklyn Titans. Her lashes and long hair are just a part of who she is, she says.
The New York Sharks are constantly redefining what it means to be a football player. Collette Smith is now a Jets coach intern and insists she can teach anyone a few moves.
Breaking ground and empowering young women along the way, the New York Sharks are swimming into the history books.