Overcoming gender stereotypes is just one obstacle Redlands High School and Team USA alumni Sami Grisafe details in her new documentary “Open Field.”
As a quarterback for over two decades, Grisafe’s journey began with youth football in 1995.
Four year later, Grisafe attended Redlands High School (RHS) where she was captain of the freshman football team; and in 2000 she became the first female quarterback to compete in a varsity football game sanctioned by the California Interscholastic Federation.
“I played ball during my freshman and sophomore years at RHS, I was a quarterback. My teammates and coaches were incredible, but there were many instances where I was not given the opportunity to play, likely because I’m a woman,” said Grisafe.
She detailed an experience during a high school football game where the quarterback was injured and the third stream quarterback called to jump in, when she herself was second stream quarterback in the game.
“Like I said, my teammates were amazing…many times they backed me up when an opponent spit on me, kicked me or called me names. The entire experience of having a female on the football team was new for my teammates, coaches and the parents. All I wanted was to be treated equal,” continued Grisafe.
She eventually transitioned into drama during her junior and senior years of high school, which is where she attained a scholarship from the Theatre Conservatory to attend Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University; there she earned a bachelor’s degree in theater.
“After college I went on to play football for Chicago Force Women’s Professional Football Team as the starting quarterback and I was quarterback for Team USA where I was able to lead the U.S. Women’s National Team to three gold medal wins. But even through this experience, I faced gender stereotypes, lack of funding and sponsorships, no unified league, and no awareness or recognition,” Grisafe said.
In having paved the way for forthcoming women in football, Grisafe anticipates that her documentary “Open Field” will provide insight into a women’s drive for greatness, earning recognition and respect in the game of football.
“Open Field” also follows my friend and former teammate Katie Sowers, currently assistant coach for the San Francisco 49ers and the first woman to coach in a Super Bowl. We also interviewed some of my former coaches from RHS, along with head coach of Team USA and the Chicago Force in regard to integrating women into the game of football,” said Grisafe.
Another exciting release to coincide with the documentary, is an entire full length soundtrack titled “Open Field,” with implemented live football stadium sounds and a pop/rock flare; available for pre-order now.
From football, to acting, to singing…there isn’t much that this hometown hero can’t do…now residing in Los Angeles, Grisafe is on her way to inspiring the next generation of female athletes.
For more information and pre-orders, visit https://openfieldmovie.com.