2015 NFL Cheerleaders Week 1

Click here for scenes from week 1 of the regular season, from Sports Illustrated. And don’t miss this new look from the 49ers Gold Rush:

SI NFL 2015_49ers1

2015 NFL Regular Season Week 1 – The Lions vs. The Chargers

An old proverb says that it is better to be a lion for a day than a sheep all your life. Well if that day was Sunday, it might have been better if the Lions were sheep because at least the Rams won.

The NFC North division Lions made a rare appearance in Southern California and many of us fantasy football players were excited to see how a couple of rookie running backs would play. Lion Ameer Abdullah played like…a lion and had himself 129 all purpose yards and a touchdown, while his Charger counterpart, Melvin Gordon, had 51 rushing yards and a costly fumble. Well at least the Chargers had Danny Woodhead to bail them out.  He scored two clutch touchdowns. Quarterback Philip Rivers passed for 404 yards and threw two second half touchdowns to rally the Chargers to victory.

Final Score: Chargers – 33, Lions – 28.

Well Philip Rivers wasn’t the only one having a good day, so was The Hottest Dance Team in the NFL, your Charger Girls.











It was another hot and sunny day in San Diego…I can’t wait for cooler weather because I really hate being all hot and sweaty…but that’s how it usually is for me when I photograph the Charger Girls. And speaking of hot things, let’s begin this week’s coverage of the Charger Girls with the Captains: Tawnie, Katelyn, Kayla, and Tina.





This week’s Charger Girl of the Day is a former Arizona Cardinals Cheerleader who found her way back home to California…introducing Laguna Niguel’s own Roxi.










Continue reading 2015 NFL Regular Season Week 1 – The Lions vs. The Chargers

2015 NFL Preseason Week 3 – The Seahawks vs The Chargers

Week 3 of the preseason saw the Seattle Seahawks fly into San Diego to play the Chargers in a titanic battle of…okay…it was just another preseason game. The defending Super Bowl Champions…uh…Super Bowl runner ups survived the unseasonably hot weather to prevail in the last minute on a 60 yard field goal by Steven Hauschka, 16-15.

If you like kicks, this was a game for you as three kickers combined to score six field goals. Yawn. Me? I like kicks of a different sort.










The San Diego Chargers honored the men and women in uniform at this past Saturday’s game, holding their 27th annual Salute to the Military celebration. The Charger Girls were adorned in military themed uniforms to cheer on the boys in blue, but it was to no avail as the Chargers succumbed to the defending Super Bowl Champion Seahawks.

Side note: I never played a down of football in my life, but I am smart enough to know that if you are on the opponent’s one yard line in the Super Bowl with seconds left in the game and you have a player nicknamed “Beastmode”, you feed him the ball…on second down…on third down…and on fourth down.

I am a proud San Diego Chargers season ticket holder and a Charger Girl fan…like most of you reading this article. So let’s kick off this week’s coverage of the Charger Girls with the captains: Tawnie, Katelyn, Kayla, and Tina.





This week’s Charger Girl of the Day is a second year veteran who really caught my eye this year…introducing Delani!








Continue reading 2015 NFL Preseason Week 3 – The Seahawks vs The Chargers

2015 NFL Preseason Week 1 – The Cowboys vs The Chargers

NFL football is back! And its better than ever…okay, that’s a bit of an exaggeration…okay, that’s more than a bit of exaggeration.  But hey, it’s football…preseason football…but football nonetheless. And if you are like me, tired of watching the glacial paced Major League Baseball, preseason NFL football is a god send.  Why?  Because MLB doesn’t have cheerleaders…at least not like the NFL.









I do like watching preseason football.  Not because it is good, per se, but because I play fantasy football and I am always trying to glean some tidbit of information on up and coming players or some sort of intelligence on new coaches with new schemes in new places.  For example, many years ago, I was intrigued at the prospects of a young and talented running back from the University of Tennessee, named Arian Foster.  He was an undrafted free agent and definitely under the radar, but after watching a preseason game in which he rushed for a touchdown and had another one called back, he was a player to watch.  And when draft day came around, I selected him and rode him to a fantasy football championship.  He has been a productive player for several years, before injuries ravaged his hamstrings and groin.

So what did I learn this past weekend when the Dallas Cowboys came to visit the San Diego Chargers…not a damn thing.  There wasn’t much passing.  There wasn’t much rushing.  There wasn’t much quality football played.  And what did I learn about Tony Romo or Joseph Randle?  Nothing because they didn’t play.  Or what about highly touted Charger rookie Melvin Gordon?  Not much from his six carry, eleven yard performance.

The starters played only one or two series, if they played at all, and the rest of the game was relegated to scrubs and guys who won’t even make the 53 man roster.  Heck the Cowboys even played Lache Seastrunk…Lache Seastrunk?  The last time I read about him was when he left the University of Oregon in a cloud of mystery surrounding his recruitment.  That’s how bad it was.

But quality football was not the reason why I drove 120 miles to San Diego.  No.  It was to scout out a different sort of fantasy football team…the Charger Girls.  And they did not disappoint.  So let’s take our first look at the 2015 Charger Girls and we begin with the Captains: Tawnie, Kayla, Katelyn, Tina.





This year many of my favorite Charger Girls from years past retired, but there was one special girl who returned for her third year and she happens to be our first Charger Girl of the Day for 2015…introducing Shelbi.


Little known fact about Shelbi – she was crowned third runner up in this year’s Miss California USA pageant!







Continue reading 2015 NFL Preseason Week 1 – The Cowboys vs The Chargers

Photo of the Day – August 7


Charger Girl Jennifer

Roll Call: San Diego Chargers

The Charger Girls profiles have been updated on the San Diego Chargers website. Click here to learn all about the team!

Jayme, Lauren, and Roxi

Jayme, Lauren, and Roxi

How a Sydney Girl Beat Out Hundreds of Cheerleaders to Land a Spot with the San Diego Chargers

By Shireen Khalil
The Herald Sun

In school she had high hopes of becoming an international cheerleader — now an official cheerleader for the NFL’s San Diego Chargers, Angela Minucos has realised her dream.

After working up the courage to audition for the Chargers’ cheerleading squad, Ms Minucos beat more than 400 other women to become a Charger Girl.


“When you know there are going to be that many talented women competing for the same spot, it is very intimidating,” Ms Minucos said. “But I am so fortunate to have such an amazing support system.”

The former Rosebank College student was a cheerleader for the ­Toronto Argonauts in the Canadian Football League for two years before getting a spot in the popular San Diego squad.

“That was when my passion for cheerleading really exploded. I saw a whole other professional side to cheerleading,” she said.

“ When I returned to Australia I knew I wasn’t ready to finish and instantly began making plans to go to America and take the next step into the biggest league, the NFL.”

She said the auditions were extremely tough with hundreds of girls vying for a spot with the San Diego Chargers,

“The first interview is a one on one with the Charger a Girls Team Director Lisa Simmons,” she said.


“From there a panel interview with several Chargers executives and personnel, where by you can be asked all sorts of questions, from your personal experience to statistics and information about the Chargers organisation and its football players.”

“For me, the best part of being a cheerleader is giving back to the community.

“Taking part in anti bullying programs, healthy lifestyle initiatives for kids and raising money for important charities is a huge reason why I do what I do.”

Ms Minucos is currently living in San Diego and can’t wait to kick off the season.

“ We started our preseason training immediately following the auditions and it has been non stop since. I can’t wait for the season to begin and having all of this hard work and preparation pay off on the field when I get to dance in front of 70,000 Chargers fans!”

Aussie Angela Minucos is a cheerleader for the San Diego Chargers

By Rowena Ryan
May 29, 2015

Forget everything you’ve seen in the movies.

Cheerleaders are not all blonde, they don’t all date football players and they don’t just shake pompoms.

Australian cheerleader, Angie Minucos, 24, knows this all too well.

She has just made it big time by being accepted as a cheerleader for the highly competitive San Diego Chargers National Football League (NFL) team in the United States, the home of cheerleading.

While cheerleading is still relatively small in Australia, think the Paramatta Eels, the WestsTigers and the Sydney Sixers, in the United States there are around 3.6 million cheerleaders competing fiercely every year for the chance to make the team.

Landing a place in one of the 32 NFL teams is incredibly hard and those who do make it have to re-audition every year. The week long audition sees hundreds of girls competing, learning difficult routines in front of a panel of judges. It’s extremely gruelling, taxing on the body and nerve-racking but Angie made the cut!

The pinnacle for any cheerleader is the American NFL.

“It’s a whole other level in North America. There’s much more of a purpose, the entertainment value cheerleaders provide in the game itself is huge — NFL is a long paced game of up to four hours unlike rugby at home that is much quicker.”

But it is also a misunderstood sport. It’s not just about on-field performances, cheerleaders in America are involved in community projects, charity events, public speaking and media appearances.

2015 Chargers_Angie Minucos

“I think there’s misconceptions everywhere,” says Angie, “It’s a performing art. It doesn’t differentiate from any other dance, at the end of the day it’s more than dancing though — we are ambassadors, we have a platform and we have a voice,” she says.

A typical training week for a Charger Girl involves two evening sessions of four hours from 6pm — 10pm as well as Saturday from 8am — 5pm and it’s big business.

Cheerleaders are paid a salary, they have personal trainers, a team nutritionist and are expected to take part in media interviews, photo shoots and events.

It’s also one of the most dangerous sports in terms of injuries. A study reported in the Wall Street Journal found that cheerleading is the number one cause of catastrophic injuries among girls and young women in the USA.

A 2012 study from The American Academy of Paediatrics found that cheerleading accounted for 65 per cent of catastrophic injuries to girl athletes at high school and 70.8 per cent at college level between 1982 and 2009.

While the number of catastrophic injuries are small, there were 110 closed head injuries, skull fractures and cervical spine injuries over that time, it’s the disproportionate number of severe injuries in this one activity that was found to be most concerning.

Angie recently almost had an injury end her career. Four months prior to the audition she sustained a labral tear in her hip, a common dancer injury.

“Typical this means surgery resulting in at least six months off but I was determined to make that audition,” she says.

“I searched and searched until I found a wonderful physio who was confident we could strengthen my hip again by the time of the audition.

“I spent three hours a day on rehabilitation of my hip for the three months leading up to the audition and currently spend a few hours a week maintaining it.

“Considering I could barely walk without pain let alone dance, I had a really fortunate recovery,” says Angie.

Born in Sydney’s western suburbs before moving to Five Dock during high school, Angie is one of six kids and grew up dancing. She started ballet at just two years old, but it was a chance opportunity to join a recreation cheerleading program at school at age 15 that forged her career.

“I fell in love with it straightaway,” says Angie. “I had never participated in a team sport before and I never thought it could have taken me around the world.”

For now Angie is enjoying life in San Diego and the thought of performing in front of a stand of 80,000 fans when the season begins in September.

“I’m a big believer in following opportunities wherever they may go, in taking a leap of faith. This is my dream and I’ll see where that takes me,” she says.

Flippin’ Good Audition: Watch 72 Fly and Vie for Charger Girls Dance Team

2015 CG finals

Times of San Diego
April 10, 2015

[Photo Gallery (Photos by Chris Stone)]

Hoping to join (or rejoin) the 28-member Chargers Girls dance team, 72 young women auditioned for the 2015-2016 season Thursday afternoon at the Sheraton Harbor Island.

On a wooden ballroom floor, they performed a routine in threesomes and then another as solos. They often cheered each other as they awaited their turns.

Chargers CEO A.G. Spanos, oldest son of team president Dean Spanos, was among the judges of the final audition, which began with more than 300 registrants Saturday at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion, and narrowed to about 150. Interviews helped pick the final 72.

Other judges were Jessie Christensen, Ken Derrett, Mike Douglass, Ryan Gallop, Maria Giannini, Kristin Hollowaty, Denny O’Leary, Nicole Rush and Lisa Simmons (the squad’s director)

“I was really impressed with the deep pool of talent that auditioned for this year’s team,” Simmons said. “We had to make some tough decisions to select the final 28 girls. That strong competition has ensured we’ll have one of our finest squads ever.”

Members selected Friday (and shown on the Chargers website) range in age from 18 to 30.

Seventeen are returning veterans and 11 are first-time Charger Girls. Fifteen of the 28 members are students, including two from San Diego State University, two from the University of San Diego and one from the University of San Diego School of Law.

The group includes a certified public accountant, social media director, medical sales representative and general manager of a performing arts & fitness facility. The roster also includes nine native San Diegans and one dancer from Sydney, Australia.

Besides the traditional calendar and home game appearances, members also attend community and charity events.

2015 Charger Girls Features Cream of the Crop

Charger Girls 2015

Brittney, Taylor, Shelbi, Allie, Jenna, Colette, Hailey, Whitney, Jayme

Teran, Angie, Delani, Katelyn, Bridget J., Roxi, Lauren, Angelica, Devin, Karissa

Elizabeth, Rebecca, Beatrix, Kayla, Gabrielle, Bridget C., Tina, Tawnie, Tyler

By Ricky Henne
April 10, 2015

Gabrielle was in this position exactly one year ago.

Trying out for the Charger Girls for the very first time, she anxiously sat arm in arm with the other hopefuls as the hottest dance team in the NFL was announced. She celebrated when her number was called, but while she was a wreck last year, she was even a bigger bundle of nerves this year.

That’s because she knew what was at stake.

“Coming back this year was honestly the scariest audition because I knew what I had to lose,” she said moments after learning she’d made the cut for the second straight season. “I wanted to come in with confidence, but of course I was nervous. I know what made me come back was so much more than just dancing. When I made it last year I was like, ‘Yay! I get to dance on the sidelines for the Chargers!’ But this year, I know it is so much more than that. We get to be role models, especially for the Junior Charger Girls and the youth we interact with. We get to be ambassadors for the organization and the community. Along with the sisterhood of girls you join and getting to dance, it’s honestly an irreplaceable feeling. I’m so grateful to be back!”

That sentiment was shared by each returning veteran as being a Charger Girl is an experience they never want to give up.

“Auditions get more and more intense each year because you know what you have to miss,” said Karissa, who made the team for the third consecutive season. “You want to be able to come back and relish in everything you’ve experienced. There is nothing like it, which is why the auditions are so nerve-wracking. It’s like a roller coaster, and you’re going tick-tick-tick the whole time. It’s an amazing ride, and I’m so happy for everyone who made it. It’s a whirlwind experience.”

Hundreds of girls auditioned once again for a coveted spot on the 28 woman squad. Auditioners came from all over the globe, from as close as San Diego to as far as Australia. They ranged in age from 18 to the mid-40s as they chased their lifelong dream of being a Charger Girl.

View gallery: Best of Charger Girls Final Auditions

“It’s incredibly rewarding each and every year to have women try out of different backgrounds, style and talent,” said Lisa Simmons, who is entering her 11th season as Charger Girls Director. “It’s something we look forward to as it’s a reminder every year that we have a prestigious program that hundreds of women want to be a part of. The organization is one that is sought after for cheerleaders and dancers. It challenges us to continue to raise the bar, and pull in that excitement and energy every season.”

The audition process began on Sunday, and when the sun set the cream of the crop was narrowed down to 72. The remaining hopefuls conducted interviews with the judging panel throughout the week before reconvening for finals on Thursday night. As always, finalists had to perform two dances – the first a set choreographed routine and the second an individual free style one. While it’s always a tough decision to whittle the talented field down to just 28, Simmons believes this year’s squad is among the best they’ve ever assembled.

“This is the most difficult night as we have tough decisions to make, especially this year. We deliberated for almost two hours, which is good because it means we have a lot of talent to pull from. We want that, and it’s a good problem to have. We are confident that we’ve put together the best possible team. It gives us a lot to look forward to. It is an incredibly talented team of accomplished women. They are ambitious, beautiful and driven women who are also cheerleaders at heart. You can feel that energy in the room, so we are thrilled with this year’s squad.”

The dream of being a Charger Girl may be best embodied in Rebecca. She grew up in America’s Finest City watching the them perform every Sunday with the lifelong goal to one day be a member. Having her number called Thursday night was an emotional experience as it culminated a dream that was a lifetime in the making.

“This is an indescribable feeling and I’m still in shock right now,” she said with a huge smile. “I’m a senior in high school, so this has been a huge dream come true for me and I couldn’t be happier than I am right now. When my number was called I couldn’t believe it. Did they really just say that? I started to cry. I watched the Charger Girls perform all the time growing up, and what it meant to be a part of that team and how happy they were radiated in their performances. I always wanted to be a part of this, and now I am!”

View gallery: Meet the 2015 Charger Girls

Charger Girl Auditions Underway

The first rounds of auditions for the 2015 San Diego Charger Girls are in the books. Click here for video from the open call, and click here for photos!

2015 CG Auditions_1

Charger Girls to Host Two Pre-Audition Workshops


The road to becoming a member of the 2015 Charger Girls begins Sunday, March 8 with a pre-audition workshop from 2-5 pm in the Jenny Craig Pavilion at the University of San Diego. A second workshop will be held on Sunday, March 15, also at Jenny Craig Pavilion. Registration begins at 1:30 pm.

With more than 400 dancers annually auditioning for a spot on the Charger’s official dance team, pre-registration for the workshop is recommended as space is limited. Pre-registration can be done here. The non-refundable fee is $45 for one workshop or $75 to attend both workshops. On-site cash-only registration also will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis.

Pre-audition workshops are designed to prepare interested dancers for the auditions process and introduce the style of choreography performed by the Charger Girls. The choreography taught and material presented at each workshop will vary. Material presented will include application tips, style guides, interview prep and more. Attendees will have the opportunity to speak with current Charger Girls, and participate in a Q & A session with Charger Girls Director Lisa Simmons.

“We host a workshop every year to give a better understanding of the entire process,” said Simmons. “We work with them on dance technique and choreography in a supportive, non-competitive environment. This year we added an additional workshop to hopefully help them leave feeling more prepared and confident for the upcoming auditions. We do our best to prepare them for what they can expect in April.”

The Charger Girls perform at all home games and appear in the team’s annual swimsuit calendar. They also serve as ambassadors for the organization at hundreds of business, community and charity events throughout the year.

The Jenny Craig Pavilion is located on the University of San Diego campus at 5998 Alcalá Park.

Photo of the Day – February 11

A San Diego Charger Girl

Sad News: Former Charger Girl Loses Battle to Cancer

From Fox5 San Diego

lylyFormer Charger girl, Lyly Koenig-Mendez, lost her battle to breast cancer on January 20, 2015 in Houston, Texas.

“After hearing the bad news of not being able to treat her for the breast cancer which had metastasized to her liver and had spread… we decided it was best to spend the rest of the time with family,” James Mendez, Lyly’s husband, said Monday.

Mendez, who many described as the life of the party, spent six years cheering in the NFL. Five of those years was spent with the St. Louis Rams. From 2001 to 2002, she cheered for the San Diego Chargers, where she met her best friend, former Charger girl, Tracey Lackovich.

Lackovich recalled what she remembered of Mendez during their time in camp, “[Lyly was] always so happy go lucky. So fun. Her high pitched voice coming into practice, having nicknames for everyone.”

She continued on to say Mendez was a true fighter.

“[Lyly was] like a rock. You wouldn’t even know she was sick… I’m just overwhelmed at the amount of people Lyly has influenced. She clearly left a lasting impression in the hearts and the minds of so many women,” Lackovich said.

Mendez was an orphan from Vietnam. She was rescued in “Operation Baby Lift” in the 1970’s. Camp Pendleton received the orphans rescued by the U.S. military during that time. That’s where her family adopted Lyly, then raised her in a town outside of St. Louis, Missouri.

Mendez’s battle with cancer was brutal. It started in 2006 when she was diagnosed with Stage I breast cancer. After treatment, she was clear of cancer just one year after diagnosis.

In 2009, she was diagnosed with recurrent breast cancer.

“The time it attached to her rib cage, at her sternum,” her husband said.

Following more rounds of chemotherapy and radiation followed as well as surgery, she was said to be cancer free.

Soon after, she was a new bride to James Mendez of the U.S. Army. However, the day he was deployed to Kuwait in 2012, Lyly discovered she had Stage IV cancer that had spread to her bones, liver, lungs and lymph nodes.

One of her final requests before she passed was to have her ashes released in her birthplace of Vietnam, as well as her two favorite beach towns, including San Diego and Miami.The 40th anniversary of “Operation Baby Lift” is scheduled for the end of March, which is when her family hopes to bring her ashes to Vietnam to be reunited with her brothers and sisters. A fundraising website has been set up to help her family make that wish a reality.

Charger Girl Alum to promote Uganda tourism

Marlina was a Charger Girl from 2007 to 2010

Marlina was a Charger Girl from 2007 to 2010

East African Business Week
January 11, 2015

KAMPALA, UGANDA – American super model Marlina Moreno, is expected to lead a team of high profile Americans to trek the Margherita, Peak of Mountain Rwenzori on January 17, 2015.

Moreno is a Los-Angeles-based super model, TV host, and former National Football League [NFL] cheerleader. She also models for NIKE, Samsung, Canon, Virgin Atlantic and Siemens.

According to the Uganda Tourism Board, Marlina Moreno has decided to visit Uganda to experience The Pearl of Africa.

“At the end of her visit, she will profile Uganda’s major tourism attractions and produce a documentary to be aired to millions of Americans through her travel platforms Examiner.Com, and as well as her travel blog,” a media release from UTB read.

The components of the media campaign will include a combination of travel articles and videos to be featured on at least two top lifestyle and travel websites as well as the filming of an eco-travel show pilot as part of a travel series pitch about Africa.

The series will follow her work as a travel writer and filmmaker and highlight her transition from NFL Cheerleader, model and television host to wildlife conservationist and eco-adventurer exploring all that Uganda in particular and Africa in general has to offer.

The key activity during the supermodel’s visit will be a trek up the mountains of the moon, the world’s highest range of mountains named by Ptolemy in 150 A.D as Mountains of the Moon.

Uganda Tourism Board has partnered with Rwenzori Mountaineering Services an organization that provides trekking services and Events 256 a Ugandan events outfit to enable Ugandans and all persons resident in Uganda to climb the mountain with the supermodel.

The chief climber will be Maria Mutagamba, Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities.