“What I love most about football is that if you are lucky enough to find the right team, it is truly a family,” said Erica Meacham. “Winning is the goal, but what I most enjoy are the smiles on my teammates’ faces after they’ve succeeded.”
In her youth, Erica was not allowed to participate in sports due to objections from her family and their strict religious upbringing. But after leaving home, she played for seven years on a semi-pro football team and later was the head coach. She loved the sport, but as she prepared to come out as transgender, she worried that she would never play again.
A few years into coming out and living as the woman she had long known herself to be, Erica began playing women’s flag football, reigniting her love for the sport and for athletics overall. In 2019 she began playing with the Oregon Hawks of the WFA and felt supported by her teammates, coaches, and the league at large. Alongside playing, Erica is also a proud Ambassador for Athlete Ally and a champion of LGBTQ young people, especially transgender people, who simply want to play sports.
“When I get the chance to talk to young LGBTQ athletes, I focus on the fact that it is important to surround yourself with the right people,” Erica said. “You must have love and support to get through all the things that you may have to face. Sports give you a sense of accomplishment, a place to belong, and – if you’re lucky — a family that will have your back and be there when you need them the most.”