For a generation of sports fans in Seattle, names such as Rachel Gore, Doris Brown, Hope Solo and Lauren Jackson evoke emotions of excellence and elite competition among female athletes. One individual that has helped raise the profile of female football in the Pacific Northwest, along with the notion that women deserve to compete on the gridiron is Jessica Hopkins. In doing so, she has crafted a strong sporting legacy worthy among Seattle sports heroes.
Having also participated in competitions as a fitness model, Hopkins is a highly talented athlete whose greatest gifts go beyond her desire to win. Reputed as friendly with fans, down-to-earth and well-spoken, her personality complements the on-field performances that have captivated Mist fans. A great example of her popularity in Seattle sports is the fact that she was invited to participate in Super Bowl MVP Malcolm Smith’s Celebrity Softball game for charity.
Having earned a handful of awards in her Mist career, she is the glue that holds the Mist together. As the franchise has evolved from expansion status to title contender, Hopkins has been essential to such growth. If one element truly endears her to Mist fans, it is the fact that she is a homegrown talent.
While the league has gained detractors due to its controversies over sex appeal, individuals like Hopkins proceed with a quiet dignity. Her ability to maintain a tone of professionalism speaks volumes about her ability to evoke all the qualities of leadership while providing a presence makes her a remarkable mentor for many newer players.
Among the rare group of women that can be classified as a female football hero on both sides of the border, the chance to compete in Abbottsford, British Columbia extended her standing as a living legend in LFL football. Having participated with the BC Angels during the expansion season of indoor women’s football in 2012, it came as no surprise that the season ended with Hopkins earning a championship title and fans on both sides of the border.
Perhaps more impressive is the fact that she is also a mother. Being able to juggle the commitment of family and football is a quality that is not only an empowering one but an inspiration to women. Complemented by her commitment to charitable contributions, Hopkins and her Mist teammates work hard to make an impact in the community as athletic humanitarians.
While the current state of indoor women’s football appears to be at a crossroads, the popularity of the Mist is testament to the efforts of athletes such as Hopkins. Should the league fold after its fifth season of play in the United States, it does not have to mean the end for female football in Seattle. There is enough of a strong fan base through the West Coast that a new player-run league could be formed with Hopkins as one of its foundations. In addition, Hopkins would be more than capable of competing with the Seattle Majestics of the Women’s Football Alliance.
Her enthusiasm and love of the game is not only contagious, but is surely noticed by the fans. In a world where many sports are tainted by greed and ego, the humble Hopkins represents the true nature of sportsmanship and what athletes should aspire to.