By Pete Banda
Greyhound football season may be a full three months away, but one San Benito football team is already preparing for their first ever playoff run. The RGV Clovers, a women’s semi-pro football team based out of the Resaca City, just finished their inaugural regular season with a 4-3 record, good enough for a top four finish in Division 2 of the Icon Women’s Football Association. As a top team, the Clovers are set to host a playoff game on Saturday, July 8 at Stookey Park.
By now, most have grown familiar with the Honey and the Vixens, both from Harlingen, but perhaps the best kept secret in women’s football is the upstart clovers. Owner Monica Gonzalez created the team this year after playing for one of the Harlingen clubs in 2016.
“I looked around and saw two teams in Harlingen and I just thought San Benito would be the perfect place to add a team,” said Gonzalez. “The sport is growing, we had three teams in the Valley last year and we’re up to about six this year.”
The Clovers are made up of 24 players and five coaches, all of whom participate on a volunteer basis. All gear is paid for through fund raising or out of the girls’ pockets, making it clear that these girls are in it simply for the love of the game.
“We practice Monday through Thursday, sometimes for three hours at a time,” said Gonzalez. “All of that is time these ladies put in for free… when we travel for games, costs can be upwards of $1,000 when you factor in all the fees, so you really have to love the sport to be a part of it.”
The IWFA consists of 16 teams spanning from Houston down to San Benito and including both the Harlingen teams. Because the Vixens and Honey have a year more experience than the Clovers, however, the neighboring teams don’t compete. The eight original teams, which started up last year, are in Division 1 of the league while the eight teams who joined this year compete in Division 2.
If the team wins their game on July 8, they will advance to the next round of the playoffs, where they will face an opponent to be decided next week, though they will most likely have to travel for that game. Kickoff time is slated for 7:30 p.m. at Stookey Park.
The team is currently recruiting for next season. Those looking to join can reach out to the teams Facebook page, or call Gonzalez at 793-3676.
“This is great for San Benito and hopefully we can continue the team for many years to come,” added Gonzalez.
2017 Clovers Roster
#1 Dalia Lopez
#3 Anjelika “Jelly” Rocha
#5 Jessica “JJ” Sanchez
#7 Ruthy “Ruthless” Caracol
#8 Diana Lara
#9 Elizabeth “Morena” Martinez
#10 Melinda Gonzalez
#12 Mayra “Warrior” Galvan
#16 Cindy Dominguez
#17 Shellie “Bullet” Ortega
#18 Isabel “Ballerina” Garza
#22 Claire “Hulk” Zavala
#23 Jessie “Beauty” Gomez
#27 Lynda Casarez
#32 Rosie “Chacha” Gomez
#44 Mindy “Beastmode” Barrientes
#56 Fernanda “Fern” Sandoval
#69 Yulissa “Lil Beast” Sandoval
#77 Cris “JUJU” Naranjo
#88 Lori Gonzalez
#89 Kathryn “KitKat” Knudstrup
#99 Nadine “Barbie” Atkinson