Women’s Football: Finestone savoring final season with Force
Saturday afternoon’s national championship holds particular significance for Emma Finestone. It represents the culmination of a dream and the end to the 24-year-old cornerback’s time with the Force.
Updated: September 3, 2012 12:46PM
Emma Finestone will travel to the East Coast twice over the next three weeks.
Her first trip east takes place this weekend when Finestone and her Chicago Force teammates travel to Pittsburgh to battle the San Diego Surge for the Women’s Football Alliance National Championship.
While playing for the WFA title at Heinz Field figures to be an unforgettable experience for each of Finestone’s teammates and a high point in the Force’s 10-year existence, Saturday afternoon’s national championship holds particular significance for Finestone. It represents the culmination of a dream and the end to the 24-year-old cornerback’s time with the Force.
It could also be Finestone’s final football game.
“This is something I’ve always sort of dreamed of,” Finestone said. “I’ve always watched professional football games and wished I could be a professional football player. Women’s football is something that I’ve always been extremely interested in. When I was a kid, I would do reports on women who played men’s football. To be able to win the Force’s first championship on Heinz Field, and in the last year of playing, it would be the perfect ending to what’s been such a great experience.”
Finestone began playing with the Force in 2011, less than a year after the end of her track and field career at the University of Chicago. Finestone ran sprints and competed in the long jump in college, but decided she would start playing football once she graduated from college way back in high school.
Although the Force (11-0) outscored their first 10 opponents of the season by a 425-34 margin, Finestone’s defense was vital in Chicago’s 35-34 victory to advance to the WFA National Championship. Finestone regularly found herself in one-on-one coverage against the Boston Militia’s receivers, but she used her speed and smooth technique to swat away a number of passes.
Finestone’s performance earned her the Force’s Defensive Gameday MVP honors, a feat which is particularly impressive considering the game against Boston was her first in 2 1/2 months.
“I was playing it week by week because I definitely didn’t want to risk injuring myself further,” said Finestone, who broke her wrist during a Force practice in May. “But my recovery was going along pretty well. I was able to play with a cast, so the trainer and I were pretty confident that I wasn’t going to get hurt again if I came back. This is probably the last season with the Force because I’m moving to New York, so I definitely wanted to be a part of it.”
Finestone will move later this month and begin working toward her doctorate in Evolutionary Primatology at the City University of New York. Finestone is interested in human evolution. She has worked at the Lincoln Park Zoo over the last two years, primarily studying the behavior and learning of apes.
Finestone knows football will take a backseat to graduate school after she moves to New York City. Although New York has a team in the WFA, there’s a distinct possibility that the Aug. 4 game against San Diego (11-0) is her final opportunity to play the sport she dreamed of playing as a kid.
“There are football teams in New York, but I’m not sure what my schedule is going to be like with classes,” Finestone said. “And I’m going to have to do field research over the summer sometimes, which is when the playoffs are. I just don’t know what my schedule will allow for, so I’m treating this as my last year. If I never play again, I’ll be satisfied.”
The WFA National Championship begins at 3 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN3.