Mighty Mother, Career-Woman, and Focused Football Player
Series Created by Sarah Wolfer – Seattle Majestics Player
The Seattle Majestics Football team launched a series on March 8th to highlight the many impressive women who make up the team. The Seattle Majestics players and coaches come from all walks of life with varying backgrounds and experiences who are unified by one common goal – Winning the IX Cup in Denver, Colorado this summer.
This #FootballFriday we celebrate a powerful woman on the team that somehow manages to “do it all.” As a mother of two to Kloie (4) and Kendra (1), a wife to her husband Nick, and a magnanimous career-woman, Nikki has everything it takes to lean into football and life. As both a tight-end and defensive-end on the Majestics, Nikki is ready to tackle anything that comes her way. With a Sports Management background and a passion for women supporting women, Nikki is in a unique place to break all the barriers that have held women back in the past. She’s an aspiring role-model for her own family as well as little girls everywhere, and she’s ready to take football to the next level. Hear her inspiring story and words for the next generation of female athletes here!
Tell us about yourself and your journey to become a tackle football player with the Seattle Majestics. How did you get started playing football?
My name is Nicole Philen and I was born and raised in Sedro-Woolley, WA. I grew up a “Tom Boy” playing various sports every chance I got. The love of sports ultimately led me to pursue an MA in Sport Management at Washington State University. During my academic career I partook in intramural sports while studying numerous aspects of sport which included: Sport in Society, Sport Psychology, Sociology of Sport, Sport Finance, Sport Law, and Sport Marketing to name a few topics.
As a fresh graduate I was eager to seek employment within the world of sport. Little did I know I would find the Seattle Majestics by doing a quick online search of women’s sports teams in the greater Seattle area.
To my surprise, women had tackle football teams! In hopes of applying the world class education I received, I reached out to the Seattle Majestics to inquire about employment opportunities. Unfortunately, this organization is completely volunteer-based. Nonetheless, when the administration team invited me to a meet and greet, I quickly accepted.
After one meeting with the administration I was enthusiastic to learn about the family oriented nature of the organization, especially since I was in the first trimester of my first pregnancy. I saw the Seattle Majestics as a good fit for applying my education as well as receiving firsthand operational experience in women’s sport. I served as the Game Day Coordinator and dabbled in Sport Marketing. I was also often found with a baby strapped to my chest.
During game days I was only able to watch approximately 2-3 minutes, if that. It was during those 2-3 minutes I experienced various emotions running through my mind. I found that I had a strong desire to be in the game rather than the sideline.
Then there were all the questions I had: Would I even make the team? What position would I play? Can my family financially afford the cost of me playing football?
Yet as soon as tryout dates were released, I signed up!
Why the Seattle Majestics and the WNFC?
There was no question as to what team I wanted to play for. From having started my football journey on the operational side of the Seattle Majestics I saw and continue to see the love and passion of the Board, Committee Members, and Coaching staff. The Seattle Majestics are upholding their mission and vision of the organization.
From a league standpoint, the WNFC aligns with the Seattle Majestics’ mission and vision. The WNFC is taking action, paving the way, and making history. There is no other league I’d rather be associated with.
The best part for me though, is that I cannot wait to see how Sport Management Programs in the future will reference material on the WNFC in their textbooks.
As part of the Women’s National Football Conference, the Seattle Majestics are now sponsored by Adidas through the “She Breaks Barriers” campaign. What do you feel are the biggest barriers facing women in sports today? What do you see as your role in changing that?
I believe the biggest barriers facing women in sport today are: stereotypes, equal compensation, work life balance, and equal opportunity. My role is to challenge barriers by continued participation in sport while pursuing a career and raising a family.
I want to show not only my children, but other girls too, that it doesn’t matter what stereotypes there are. No matter the lack of compensation or what kind of family we have, girls and women do and always will belong in sports.
Based on your own experience, what advice would you give girls growing up today?
Based on my experience, I’d advise girls today to follow their dreams; big or small.
Go play the sports that make you happy and stand proud with confidence.
Set goals for yourself.
Celebrate the victories and accomplishments of women before you.
Who is your (s)hero and how did/ does (s)he inspire you?
My (s)hero is Professor Tammy Crawford of Washington State University. Tammy inspired me to break barriers and to continue in the pursuit of sport. I have had a few heartfelt conversations with Tammy regarding how she does/did it all. Living a life full of sport-coaching, teaching, raising two sons, and making time for her husband. She’s somebody that I look up to and emulate in how I live my own life.
If you want to see Nikki and the Seattle Majestics in action in the WNFC Pacific Conference Finals this weekend, you’re in luck! The WNFC recently joined forces with USCREEN and announced “WNFCTV.” Check out more information and watch the games live HERE