Emma-Lee Thomas is a football player with the Austin Acoustic of the Legends Football League.
What are your stats?
Height 5-4; weight 138 pounds; age 29.
What is your athletic background?
I have competed at a high level in a range of sports but predominantly gymnastics and full kit gridiron.
How did you get involved playing football?
I used to watch a lot of NFL on TV and saw an advertisement in the local newspaper back home for tryouts for a women’s team. I showed up and made the cut and I’ve been addicted ever since!
You started your football career in Australia and then came to the US. Can you fill out the timeline?
I played full kit from 2011, LFL Australia Season 1 from 2013/2014 and arrived in Texas to play for the Austin Acoustic in March 2016.
What made you decide to leave Australia to play in the US?
Gridiron in America is a national sport. I was interested to see the level of competition, training and coaching that was provided over here in the States. I’ve had a great experience so far.
What’s the difference between playing in Australia versus the US?
The athleticism and skill level were very similar I think. We have a lot of rugby players in Australia, which requires many of the same skill set to play gridiron. I did notice a huge difference in the level of knowledge and intricacies of the game. Being America’s national sport, the level of game awareness, in general, is much higher here than in Australia.
Is there any difference between how the league and the players are viewed between the two countries?
I think the introduction of gridiron alone is something very new to Australian shores. I know that it is definitely growing in popularity back home due to the injection of Jarryd Hayne (one of Australia’s top rugby league players) into the San Francisco 49ers team.
What position do you play and what are your primary responsibilities on the field?
My primary position is offensive line, either tight end or centre, and secondary is defensive end. Centre is to snap the ball and provide direction to the offensive line. Both offensive positions require either run or pass blocking and occasionally receiving the ball, although in LFL everyone is eligible.
What strengths as a football player do you bring to your team?
I usually pick up blocking schemes and play books quite quickly and am able to help out my other teammates with the installation of blocking schemes and play book. I’m also a very hard worker on and off the field.
What areas do you feel you need to improve on?
At this stage I’m looking to improve my overall strength and agility. But also my speed. I’ve been doing sprint sessions and a lot of extras outside football to try and work on these areas.
What do you do for a living?
How many hours of training do you do per week off the field?
I’d probably say an extra 10 hrs of personal development outside of football training.
How many hours of training do you do per week on the field?
At the moment we do nine hours of physical training and between one to two hours of film review.
Do you have a favorite LFL player?
My favorite LFL player would have to be Ashley Salerno. She’s such a versatile player and so aggressive on the field. I think she’s one of the greats.
What’s one thing about you that people would be surprised to know?
Where can we see more of you?
Originally published June 2016