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Dana Sparling 

Executive Director

Dana's passion for, and commitment to, the growth and development of the girls' and women's game has been going strong since 2000, with no end in sight. This work is what she intends to do for the rest of her days.


Having played plenty of two-hand touch "pick-up" games with the boys growing up, her first opportunity to play the game in any true organized fashion was at 37 years of age, as a wide receiver for the New York Sharks Women's Tackle Football Team, from 2001-2005.


Dana was also a member of the very first U.S Women's National Flag Football team that represented the United States in the IFAF World Flag Football Championships in Montreal, Canada in 2008.


Her years in football have been spent primarily in the operations, management and gameday realms of the sport.  She has held various roles including VP of Operations, CFO, Gameday Mgr, and Social Media Mgr for the NY Sharks from 2005-2018. The "Grand Finale" Sharks season in 2018, culminated in both a WFA Division 2 National Championship and a Gold medal in the Transatlantic Trophy Tournament hosted by the Birmingham Lions in the United Kingdom in September of 2018. Dana also served on the IWFL League Council as Championship Director for seven IWFL Championship events between 2003 - 2016 as well as that of IWFL Atlantic Conference Director and All Star Game Director in 2017 and 2018.
Her tenure with the Fins Up Foundation for Female Athletics began in 2003, where she served as Executive Director prior the transitioning to the Women's Gridiron Foundation in September of 2015. In February of 2021, she formed the Women's Flag Football Federation with, Mashonda Gilmore, then resigned in June of 2022 to focus solely on the mission of WGF.


Dana has lived in the New York Metro area since 1990 and originally hails from Southern California where she grew up attending USC Trojan football games with her family. Her grandfather, Raymond Sparling, played split end on the National Championship winning Trojan team in 1931. Needless to say, her love of football began when she was very young, and her passion for the sport continues to this day.

Dana makes her living in commercial real estate and runs Choice Enterprises, a financial management and professional accounting company.


Outside of football, Dana loves to garden and travel. She is also a breast cancer survivor. With a very clear perspective on the fragility of life itself, she is more dedicated than ever to the growth of the girls' and women's flag and tackle game, for all of the potential it carries with it to empower, build self-confidence, self-respect, and teach essential life skills to young women.





Rich Daniel

Founder, Women's Gridiron Foundation
WGF Board Member


Rich was the sports director at ABC in Washington, D.C. and in 2001 he covered the D.C. Divas’ first home game - a fledgling operation of hard-working women who were paying for the opportunity to play a game they had previously been denied. They won their first home game on a last-minute touchdown catch and made the 5 o’clock news as a feature story.


Having produced hundreds of hours of Emmy award winning live and taped programming, he was convinced the Divas would make a compelling special which lead to shooting and editing countless hours of footage that he turned into two independent documentaries. During that time Rich began to help the Divas public and media relations efforts securing appearances on national channels such as the CBS Evening News, CNN, NPR, and Voice of America - along with numerous other national and local outlets.


Rich worked in the NFL as part of the video team for the Washington Redskins for nearly a decade. He was considered a member of the NFL team while still being a part of the media that covered them. It provided him a unique perspective and invaluable experience of learning how a professional team operates from all sides. His last documentary Tackle the World-Tough game-Tougher women aired on CBS in Washington, D.C. after the Women’s World Championships held in Finland in 2013.


Lately Rich has been concentrating on Do Good Videos which are a series of short films and stories designed to help charities raise the awareness and funds they need to serve the greater good.

In 2019, Rich purchased the the DC Divas Women's Tackle Football team after serving as their General Manager for many years. 









Andra Douglas

Author, Founder, Fins Up! Foundation,
WGF Board Member


As CEO of ampliFLY Entertainment, an artist of mixed media paintings, a national champion athlete and the author of Black & Blue: Love, Sports and the Art of Empowerment, Andra strives to inspire and empower women and girls who have been told ‘no, you can’t‘ but are determined to do it anyway. 


Her experience with all aspects of sports, and specifically women’s football, serves as one of the main subjects of her mixed media artwork which has been exhibited nationwide and is also the inspiration of her first novel titled BLACK & BLUE: Love, Sports and the Art of Empowerment. 


In 2000, she acquired the NY Sharks, a women’s tackle football team and played quarterback for 5 years. After nineteen full seasons of play, Andra sold the team in 2018, but the New York Sharks retired arguably as the “winningest” and longest operating women’s tackle football team in the world - boasting a nineteen season record that included 10 Division Titles, 5 East Coast Championships, 2 National Titles (2002, 2018) and 1 International Title. (2018)


In 2003, she established the FINS UP FOUNDATION FOR FEMALE ATHLETES, a foundation whose mission is to provide opportunities for 13-17 year old “at-risk” girls to learn the sport of football as well as the life skills that come along with it. NY Shark players coached the camps. In 2015 the Fins Up Foundation merged its programs and goals with the Women's Gridiron Foundation with the intention of expanding the unique Fins Up! Football Camps in cities across the country and the world, as well as offer additional programs to empower and support young girls both on and off the field of play.


Her first book, “Black and Blue, Sports, Love and the Art of Empowerment ” touches on her life experience as a non-conforming female growing up in a conservative rural environment, and the subsequent unfurling of her life as an empowered executive and pioneer for women in American football. Universal Television has optioned this story for a series.


Today, she lives with her parrot, 'Poi', in New York’s Greenwich Village where she creates mixed-media artwork and she is working on her second book which captures the heartbreaks and thrills of 2018, the final season of the New York Sharks.





Susan Thomas

Director of Special Projects


Susan Elizabeth Thomas has spent a lifetime supporting women in athletics. Susan has gained a wealth of experience working in non-profit leadership and strategy for several organizations over the last 15 years. These have included membership in the UWD Women's Leadership Council and mentorship in The United Way of Delaware's "Muriel E. Gilman Mentoring Program". She has over a decade of experience as a certified USA Track & Field coach. She has entrepreneurial experience as the former sole proprietor of Infinity Unlimited LLC - A Women-Specific Sports Apparel Company.


A former collegiate runner, active fitness enthusiast and devout yoga practitioner, Susan considers herself a life-long athlete. She views mental and physical fitness, healthy eating and yoga as components of an active, robust lifestyle.


Susan received her M.Ed. in Sports Administration from Temple University. Upon graduation, she worked for the Philadelphia Eagles Football Club where she served in several roles in Administration and Player Personnel. Today, Susan works with the Women's Gridiron Foundation promoting business partnerships.

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Advisory Board



Dr. Donna Duffy


Dr. Donna Duffy earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) in 2007 from the Department of Kinesiology. Prior to coming to UNCG, Donna completed her B.S. and Ed.M. at Boston University in Boston, MA. In addition to her role as a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at UNCG, Donna is also the Program Director of the Program for the Advancement of Girls and Women in Sport and Physical Activity at UNCG. Donna’s professional work and research interests are grounded in girls and women in sport and physical activity, with a heavy focus on coaching. Donna serves on several UNCG and community boards and is fortunate to serve in several leadership roles as a part of her board work. When she is not focused on her academic work, Donna spends time training for her first ½ marathon and among great friends and family.


Anthony Stone


Anthony Stone is a former USA Football Master Trainer and renowned supporter of women's tackle football. He is passionate about growing the sport of football. Coach Stone won a gold medal in 2010 with the USA Football Women's National Team as a Defensive Coordinator, compiling three impressive shut-out wins with a combined 201-0 score at the event. Coach Stone's was one of seven USA Football Master Trainers who led instruction at a pair of clinics in South Korea in May of 2015. Read his USA Football Blog.

The Huddle

Sami Grisafe

Sebas Serrano

Tea Tormanen

Teemu Kuusisto

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