5 locals backing women's pro football team

Colorado Valkyries will begin season in October if enough tickets are sold


— Five Steamboat Springs businessmen will unveil their plans to bring another professional football team to Colorado this Friday.
But their team will not go head to head with the NFL's Broncos, Vikings or Rams. Instead, it will be the state's first women's professional football team and it will be based out of Denver.
The Colorado Valkyries will bring women's full-contact, NFL-style football to Colorado this October when they play the first of 10 regular-season games. The teams in the league, all 17 of them, also have hopes of making it to the inaugural championship game which is scheduled to be played in February 2001.
"It was kind of a fluke," Valkyries general manager and Steamboat Springs resident Mike Monetti said of the five local men he got involved.
A friend of his, Larry Perry, was in New York on a business trip when he met the Women's Professional Football League (WPFL) commissioner, Sam Samborski, at an airport bar. The two started talking, and eventually became business partners in an unrelated venture that Perry runs in Steamboat Springs. The new relationship also gave Perry and the other four local residents Monetti, Jake Burwell, Ted Flynn and Seth Chichen the chance to convince the new women's league to give Denver a spot a year ahead of schedule.
Monetti said the Valkyries owners are basically a bunch of buddies who got together and invested some money and efforts in the project to bring women's professional football to Colorado.
The investment group will unveil the team's logo during a news conference Friday in Denver at the Adams Mark Hotel. At that same time, the owners also hope to answer questions about where the team will play its home games, who will coach the team and when try-outs and training camps will be held.
The team, however, will not be added to the 2000-2001 schedule until it has sold at least 1,000 season tickets. That's needed to make sure the team has a market in Denver.
"I'm sure that will not be a problem in a town like Denver," Monetti said. "But if we can't do it (sell the tickets), it will just give us more time to get ready for next season."
One of the biggest questions is where the team will play its home games. Monetti said the women's league will play games on Saturday and he is hoping to play those games at one of the Front Range college fields. However, as of Wednesday, he was still trying to get the details worked out.
The women's professional football league tested the waters last year with an exhibition tour that ended at the NFL Experience at the Super Bowl in Atlanta.
The league will be made up of top college athletes who have most of their experience in rugby and field hockey.
The league has already enjoyed a rush of female athletes who would like to play football. Attendance at tryouts for teams in other major cities has been high.

To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209 or e-mail jrussell@amigo.net


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