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Women's football coming to Farmington

The Minnesota Vixen are like any other football team in just about every way. They wear full pads, they play games against other teams and they have a roster that features quarterbacks, running backs, fullbacks and linebackers.

What most other teams don’t have are offensive and defensive linewomen.

The Vixen are one of the country’s original women’s football teams and they will be playing their home games at Tiger Stadium in Farmington this season. The team played at Sea Foam Stadium in St. Paul last season when it went 6-4 and made it to the Independent Women’s Football League Western Conference championship, but due to a scheduling conflict will call Tiger Stadium home for games against the Iowa Crush (May 10), Wisconsin Warriors (May 24) and Madison Blaze (June 7). All games begin at 7 o’clock.

“We’re always looking for a good, solid venue with good turf and Tiger Stadium in Farmington is one good facility,” said Vixen defensive line coach and media specialist Dave Ladd. “We’re looking forward to playing there.”

The Vixen were formed in 1999 when they competed in a series of exhibition games around the country with the Lake Michigan Minx. They have remained in operation since then and are now the longest-running of the 75-plus semi-professional women’s teams around the country.

A couple of the current players have been on the team since the very beginning. Others have been around a few years and about half of the 43-player roster is comprised of rookies. The roster of players from Minnesota and western Wisconsin has been practicing three days a week in preparation for the season opener Saturday on the road against the Wisconsin Warriors.

“These women didn’t have a chance to start playing growing up, so for some of them it’s their first chance to play and they want the opportunity. The fans want to support that,” Ladd said. “They haven’t been able to play it in an organized way and there’s a curiously among fans to see what it’s all about.”

What the fans get is real football. Ladd said the basic rules are the same as in the high school, college or professional men’s game.

“The concussions are real. The torn ACLs are real. The broken ankles are real. The torn ligaments are real. It’s a full-contact game,” Ladd said. “The concepts of the game translate over and the hits are just as telling.”

Tickets to the games are $10. Kids five and under get in free.

“I think the reason anyone gets into it is the same reason I get into it, too. I love the game of football and three years ago I decided I was going to check this team out,” Ladd said. “It’s a good atmosphere for the kids, for the family and the weather should be right. It’s a good evening out on a Saturday to come and watch some football.”