Beyond The Sidelines: Redskins Cheerleader Charo Launches Online Boutique

By Stephen Czarda
Redskins.com

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Sure, balancing two full-time jobs can be tough, as intermingling schedules can be tough to manage and time is always crunched, but try doing the same for three different positions.

That’s exactly what Washington Redskins Cheerleader Charo, who is also a captain this year, has been doing for the last few months as she’s a tax accountant, a cheerleader and now the owner of a new online boutique called & Such Shop.

“I’ve been working on this diligently for about three months now, squeezing in time on the weekends and burning the midnight oil to prepare for the launch, and I couldn’t be more excited to hopefully watch my very own company grow,” Charo told Redskins.com of & Such Shop. “I came up with the idea of launching an e-commerce women’s fashion website in late January and since then, I’ve been teaching myself the ropes.”

Charo has also been “curating and buying clothing and jewelry, developing relationships with vendors, designing my website, performing my accounting and business functions, styling the photo shoots, playing photographer and photo editor for the shoots, designing my logo and marketing materials, and so much more.”

“It has been a one-woman show, but I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of so many integral people,” she said. “My network here in DC is so unbelievably supportive and competent, I couldn’t be more grateful. From here on out though, I’m just excited to hunker down and see what I can make of my tiny little internet imprint.”

Beyond getting & Such Shop further integrated into the online shopping sphere, Charo has been a tax accountant over the last two years for a large digital media, broadcast and publishing company.

“I made the transition from public accounting to private about two years ago, and feel fortunate that I’ve been able to see both sides of the industry,” she said. “At my job, I help in preparing the provision and return for our 300-plus entity consolidated group, which consists of tracking book-to-tax differences to estimate tax liability. Our company is also undergoing a large restructuring, so there’s never a dull day in the office as far as the tax department is concerned.”

And what about being not only a cheerleader, but one of four captains, which, of course, requires more time?

“As one of the captains of the Washington Redskins Cheerleaders, maintaining a positive and uplifting disposition helps me get through the day, and hopefully it helps others through theirs as well!” she said. “I’m also a firm believer in efficiency and preparedness. Fortunately, when I come to practice each night, it truly is a form of escape from reality. I am so in love with the girls who make up this team, the values of the team, and dancing, that I lose myself in it – having been bestowed the title and privilege of a Washington Redskins Cheerleader Captain can hardly be considered “work.” The only difference between an adventure and an ordeal is your attitude.”

[& Such Shop]

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Orangefield Native Makes Texans Squad

By Michelle Heath
Beaumont Enterprise

With her flashy, red knee-high go-go boots and perfectly curled blonde hair, Jessica Eatman strolled around the Orangefield High School football stadium and coaches’ offices on Wednesday afternoon.

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Teachers and coaches greeted Eatman with hugs and the occasional squeals of “congratulations.” The 22-year-old was selected last month out of 1,200 women to join the 2015 Houston Texans Cheerleader Squad.

Eatman, a former Orangefield High School head cheerleader, will be one of 35 women cheering on the Texans when the NFL season opens this fall.

Eatman said she had tried out for the squad twice before and didn’t get picked.

Her family’s love of football – specifically for the Texans – made the idea of standing on the NRG field cheering in front of 70,000 fans a surreal ambition.

So, Eatman got serious about this year’s tryouts.

She moved to Houston last summer – while still enrolled full-time at Lamar University – and started taking ballet, jazz and hip-hop classes.

Eatman also made her own tryout uniform this year: a flowy, blue ensemble. One of her boots broke during the March tryouts, making her the last cheerleading hopeful to show off her skills.

Apparently that last impression paid off.

In addition to preparing for tryouts, Eatman used her move to Houston to start pursuing a law degree. Eatman said she intends to take the LSATs soon.

She said the Texans Cheerleaders don’t fit the old cheerleading stereotypes. Some of the women are nurse practitioners and oil and gas executives, and a few are pursuing master’s degrees, she said.

“They choose good girls because you’re an ambassador for the Houston Texans,” she said.

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Click here for photos from this year’s audition process.

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Falmouth Native Makes 2015 Patriots Cheerleading Squad

By Lannan M. O’Brien
CapeNews.net

patsJessica M. Strohm was clothes-shopping at Express when she received word that she made the 2015 Patriots cheerleading squad. Her screams of joy elicited looks from other shoppers, but she was unbothered. This year was the fourth that she tried out for the team and the first that she was selected as a member.

A 2008 Falmouth High School graduate, Ms. Strohm started cheering at the Pop Warner level and served as captain of the high school squad in her sophomore and junior years. She currently works full time as a sales manager for Performance Foodservice in Rhode Island.

“I was so excited, yet so nervous,” she said of the tryouts during a phone interview last Friday.

This year’s preliminary auditions were held on February 28, followed by final auditions last month. Ms. Strohm made it to the third round of tryouts for the squad’s dance team and was cut, but later was called back to try out for the promotional team. Following interviews and a two-week boot camp at Gillette Stadium, she was one of 10 candidates selected as promotional team members. Twenty-eight cheerleaders made the full roster from an initial pool of 300 candidates.

Tryouts were more of a team effort than they were a competition, Ms. Strohm said. While candidates were personally determined to make the team, they also connected with each other to form a support system.

“You’re with such an amazing group of girls,” she said.

The environment was in stark contrast to that of the “pageant world” familiar to her. Ms. Strohm has competed in several beauty pageants, earning the title of Ms. New England States in a tri-state tournament last November. She also competed in the Miss Massachusetts USA pageant the same month. Unlike those competitions, Ms. Strohm said, cheerleaders seeking a spot on the Patriots squad were not in it for themselves.

“Everyone wants to make it together… it’s more a ‘team effort’ to make the team,” she said.

As for her own success, Ms. Strohm is looking forward to events, such as a Junior Patriots Cheerleader clinic in May and a June calendar photoshoot. She has already begun practices on Tuesdays and Saturdays, completing workouts the remainder of the week.

The promotional team will cheer for half of each home game and make appearances at the stadium’s clubs and private suites for the other half. Outside of games, Ms. Strohm and her teammates will serve as spokespeople for The Kraft Group, a group of privately held companies led by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, representing the team at various functions and charity events.

“I have to pinch myself every day, knowing that I work for Bob Kraft,” she said, adding that the Patriots are involved with “so many different charities.”

She is not nervous or intimidated but is excited to start the season. Her family, too, is excited for her. They understand how hard she has worked “year after year” to reach this goal. In a phone conversation earlier this month, Jessica’s mother, Falmouth Fire Rescue administrative assistant Kimberlee A. Strohm, said that when her daughter wants something, she holds on and never lets go.

Jessica Strohm agreed. “You can’t give up on the things that you want… you have to take it one day at a time,” she said. There is truth in the expression “YOLO” (an acronym for “You only live once”), she added, even if it sounds cheesy. “You take those opportunities and the dreams that you have and do whatever it takes to get there.”

Still, becoming a cheerleader for a national football team hardly feels like a reality. “It’s the best [football] team in the US,” Ms. Strohm said of the Patriots. Perhaps her dream will not materialize until the moment she joins a team huddle, she said, and looks up from the field at hundreds of thousands of fans.

The Crystals: meet English football’s only cheerleading squad

The glitziest match-day experience in English football can be found in an unglamorous corner of south London. Siân Ranscombe paid a visit
Crystals at Selhurst Park

By Siân Ranscombe
The Telegraph
April 21, 2015

Selhurst Park is an unlikely home to the glitziest match-day experience in British football. It is the Premier League’s fourth-smallest stadium, a venerable 91 years old, but its tenants, Crystal Palace, are the only club in the country to have their own cheerleaders.

The Crystals pose in the Selhurst Park dugout Photo: Dan Burn-Forti

The Crystals pose in the Selhurst Park dugout Photo: Dan Burn-Forti

Stacey Greenhead, 23, is the Crystals’ head coach. South London born and bred, she joined the squad in 2013 after graduating from university with a degree in dance. “It’s great to have some pre-match and half-time entertainment,” Greenhead says. “I love the fact that we’re the only team with cheerleaders and we get a great response. That’s one thing we can pride ourselves on, that we definitely have the best fans in the Premier League.” (League One’s Leyton Orient once had the wonderfully-named Cheery-Os but the squad has since disbanded.)

[Click here to visit the Crystals on Facebook]

Although cheerleading is seen as a traditionally female activity, the first organised cheerleaders in America were men – Ivy League students who whipped up the crowd before college games at universities such as Princeton in the 1870s. Women were not allowed to participate until the 1920s, and began to dominate cheerleading only during the Second World War.

The Crystals' head coach, Stacey Greenhead. PHOTO: Dan Burn-Forti

The Crystals’ head coach, Stacey Greenhead. PHOTO: Dan Burn-Forti

It is technically a global sport in its own right now – the International Cheer Union has 104 member nations, including Great Britain – but while cheerleading is a regular feature of professional sporting events across the United States, it has never really caught on in British arenas. There was a half-hearted attempt to introduce it to football matches in the early 1990s. The Sky Strikers, who performed during broadcasts of Sky Sports’s Monday Night Football, lasted the 1992-1993 season before the idea – and squad – hit premature retirement.

The Crystals’ 21-woman team was formed nearly two decades later, in 2010. Some are professional dancers but others, such as 24-year-old Jay Slaughter, fell into it by chance. Slaughter, a midwife, had been a Crystal Palace season ticket holder for three years when she was invited along to audition for the Crystals last year. “I tweeted a picture of my dad and me in the crowd one day and the Crystal girls’ Twitter account followed me shortly after, sending me a message asking if I would be interested in auditioning,” she recalls.

Jay Slaughter is also a season ticket holder at Selhurst Park. PHOTO: Dan Burn-Forti

Jay Slaughter is also a season ticket holder at Selhurst Park. PHOTO: Dan Burn-Forti

She had taken lessons in ballet, tap and modern dance as a child but had given up dance once she got to college and began studying midwifery at Plymouth University. “It’s funny actually because normally at half-time we’d go inside and have a drink or a burger, so I hadn’t actually watched the Crystals much,” Slaughter says. “I assumed they’d all be professional dancers. Being part of the team for my first match was a surreal blur because it was so weird to be on the pitch watching the crowd rather than the other way around.”

As well as providing pre- and mid-match entertainment, the Crystals also venture out around the ground collecting for the club’s chosen charities.

The Crystals pictured before Palace's match against Everton in January. PHOTO: Dan Burn-Forti

The Crystals pictured before Palace’s match against Everton in January. PHOTO: Dan Burn-Forti

“A lot of the dads want the kids to have a picture with us – then maybe get one themselves, too,” Georgia Krelle, a Crystal since 2012 says. “It’s lovely when the girls pay attention to us. We appreciate that even more.”

Krelle, 23, credits joining the Crystals with more than just adding to her fitness regime. “I had no confidence, growing up,” she says. “I was bullied at school and left with no GCSEs as a result. Being in the Crystals and being a part of this group has built up my confidence so much; I’m like a different person.” Now she also dances professionally.

Georgia Krelle, a member of the squad since 2012. PHOTO: Dan Burn-Forti

Georgia Krelle, a member of the squad since 2012. PHOTO: Dan Burn-Forti

The squad meets up to choreograph its routines on the Sunday before a home fixture (they are not allowed to perform at away games and when Palace reached the Championship play-off final with Watford in 2013, they were denied the chance to perform before the match at Wembley). The match-day ritual is always the same. “I get the girls in two to three hours before the game,” Greenhead says. “We get changed, get glam, and then go out around the ground interacting with the fans. After our group warm up, we get ready to go on to the pitch.”

The Crystals are free to go home once they have completed their half-time cameo. Slaughter, however, has a season ticket to make use of, even if it only gets used for half a game at a time. “If we’ve not got anything else on, I’ll jump back into my seat so I can watch the second half,” she says. Most of her seat neighbours don’t blink an eye, except to wonder why she always arrives so late. “We do wear quite heavy make-up and big hair though,” she says. “So I do get a few people looking at me going, ‘Well, she’s made a bit of an effort for the football.’”

Farmersburg Resident Heading to NFL

2015 Colts Finalists_Leslie Ann Lindsay2MyWabashValley.com
April 21, 2015

One valley resident will soon be joining the NFL.

Farmersburg’s own, Leslie Ann Lindsey, will join the Indianapolis Colts cheerleading team.

Lindsey was one of 52 women who auditioned for the team and she was selected to join 27 others on the squad this year.

She’s had a busy few weeks, juggling classes and making daily trips to Indy during tryouts.

Leslie Ann will also graduate from ISU in 2 weeks, where she also was a cheerleader and a Sparkette on the dance team.

She says becoming a Colts cheerleader is a dream come true.

“I always love dance. It was just somewhere where I didn’t have to think or try too hard,” Leslie Ann said. “So being a cheerleader for the NFL is probably as big as it can get. They say that we’re professional athletes now so it’s pretty big, especially coming from such a small town.”

Leslie Ann will sign her contract this weekend, making her a part of the Colts organization until next year’s tryouts.

The small-town girl can’t wait to hit the sidelines.

Photo of the Day – April 23

A Washington Kastles Cheerleader

Former Laker Girl to Represent California at Miss USA

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Natasha Martinez of Chino Hills will be departing June 27 for the national Miss USA® competition to be televised on NBC. Thousands watched as Martinez was crowned Miss California USA® 2015 on January 11 at the Long Beach Terrace Theater. Martinez is a graduate of Chapman University and is currently the on air host a KDOC-TV. She is a former Los Angeles Laker Girl and was previously a princess and parade performer at Disneyland. The Miss USA® competition will be held at in Baton Rouge, LA and will air live on NBC on Sunday, July 12, 2015. Fifty-one young women from across the country will travel to compete for the coveted title.

San Diego Thunder Girls

Performance from last season when they were under the direction of former New England Patriots Cheerleader and San Diego Charger Girl Alexa Flutie.

Vote For Your Favorite MVC Finalists

Fifty-two amazing and beautiful dancers have made it the Minnesota Vikings Cheerleaders Finals. Now you can check out the finalists and cast a vote for your favorites.

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Cast your vote here.

Photo of the Day – April 21

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A Minnesota Vikings Cheerleader

2015 Dallas Cowboys Rhythm & Blue Finalists

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2015 DCRB Finalists

2015 Raiderettes Announced

Final auditions for the Oakland Raiderettes concluded last night with the announcement of this year’s team.

Click here to see who made the team
Click here for photos

2015 Raiderette Finals