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These women were ‘Born to Play’ football

A documentary film about LGBTQ and straight women who play tackle football debuted on ESPN earlier this month and was shown nationwide on ABC.

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The Boston Renegades in a scene from “Born to Play.”
Park Pictures

Without any certainty that we’ll see men play college or pro football this year on account of the coronavirus pandemic, fans of the game were delighted to by a new documentary film that ESPN debuted on July 1: “Born to Play” follows an entire season of play with the Boston Renegades, a women’s tackle football team that charged down the field on a path to redemption, after going undefeated the previous year only to lose the championship.

What makes it even more interesting is that the director identifies as queer, two active players, two former players and the owner of the Renegades herself are members of the LGBTQ community.

On July 18, that film had its network television debut on ABC.

Born to Play lgbtq women’s football
The Boston Renegades in action under the lights in a scene from “Born to Play.”
Park Pictures

All of these athletes are playing without pay, putting their bodies on the line, and when they’re not on the gridiron they’re maintaining full-time careers that support their lifelong dream.

These remarkable women range in age from 19-49 and hail from a variety of backgrounds. Each one dedicates their time, bodies and paychecks to pursue their passion for playing football.

Among the players featured in the documentary is Allison Cahill, the Renegades quarterback and a former high school basketball star, who identifies as LGBTQ. She is the all-time leading scorer for her high school in Uxbridge, Mass. and played for the Princeton Lady Tigers, where she was team captain and a member of the Ivy League university’s 1,000 point club.

Cahill pursued football upon graduation and played for the New England Storm. She is a five-time national champion, three-time MVP, 12-time All-Star and the only quarterback who played exclusively in women’s tackle football to have notched 100 career victories.

Quarterback Allison Cahill in a scene from “Born to Play.”
Allison Cahill is the Boston Renegades quarterback, seen here in a scene from “Born to Play.”
Park Pictures

Chante Bonds — who plays cornerback, safety, wide receiver, running back and kick returner for the Renegades — also identifies as LGBTQ. She is featured in the film alongside former players Brooke Gause and Mia Brickhouse as well as the team’s owner, Molly Goodwin. All of whom are LGBTQ.

Viridiana Lieberman
Park Pictures

“Born to Play” is directed by Viridiana Lieberman, a filmmaker, writer and LGBTQ activist based in Brooklyn, N.Y. She received her BFA in Film from the Miami International University of Art and Design and her M.A. in Women’s Studies from Florida Atlantic University. After a decade of editing in both television and film, Lieberman began directing her first documentary feature, “Behind the Octagon in 2012,” chronicling the musical Lesbian Love Octagon. She’s an award-winning film editor as well.

Lieberman spoke with LRM Online in an exclusive interview you can watch by clicking here.

Watch a clip from “Born to Play” by clicking below or here.