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First Football Game Between 2 Black Women Coaches Will Be Played In Chicago Thursday

Konesha Rhea and Jousecelyn Mayfield. Making history with every down, from coaching youth football to coaching a high school program. These programs are sure to make history and as both women said "ITS BIGGER THAN FOOTBALL"

Rhea x Mayfield

A Chicago high school football The matchup is Thursday, first in Illinois history between two Black female head coaches. This is Konesha Rhea second season as head football coach for DuSable High School. Jousecelyn Mayfield leads for Christian Fenger High School. The match will be held at Gately Stadium, 810 E. 103rd St., 4:15 p.m. Thursday. 

“Up until game time on Thursday, Jousecelyn and I always root for each other,” Rhea said. “For all my years in football, this means everything to me. It’s showing girls that they can do anything.” 

“two sisters finally crossing paths again,” Mayfield said. 

“It had to be her, and it had to me,” Mayfield said. “We’re both going to win.” 

Rhea lived her childhood “playing sandlot football, the only sport where you can hit and not get in trouble,” she said. Rhea remembers the love of the game and longing to participate but was disappointed finding a team she could be apart of at more experienced organized level. On the road to fulfill her journey Rhea was giving the opportunity to coach a youth football organization known as the Bridgeport Hurricanes 2012-13 season. That’s when she met Mayfield, a mom on the sidelines who was louder than most. 

Mayfield shared a love for the game as well taking over her son’s peewee team, “just because we didn’t understand what his coaches were asking him to do,” Mayfield replied. 

Rhea showing great sportsmanship and support to Mayfield.

“You don’t see a lot of women in youth football yet, passionate about the sport and screaming all the things that make sense,” Rhea said. “So I went over to her, told her I was the head coach and she was just as loud as I am. We’ve supported each other ever since.” 

Originally Mayfield was hired as security at Fenger High, the students seemingly found out she had coaching history in football they immediately questioned her to coach Fenger Football Program “kept asking me to come coach, so they could have their homecoming game,” Mayfield responded. Fenger’s football team has been in limbo since the start of covid, Mayfield accepted. This is Mayfield first year as a high school coach, Rhea's second season

Since Rhea's ground breaking first season as the first Black female head football coach in Chicago Public League history. 3 girls have now signed up to play for DuSable this year, Rhea said. 

“It means I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I tell them don’t give up, even though you have a target on your chest because you’re a girl in this sport,” Rhea said. “Use it as fuel to introduce yourself, and when you tackle them, say, ‘Yeah, that’s me.’”

Konesha Rhea( Coach K ) and her DuSable football team on their home field

At 35 years old, Rhea tried out for semi-pro Chicago Force team and made the team, two seasons later, she suffered from a torn ACL, and her daughter pleaded her to hang up her cleats. 

Rhea later started coaching the Hurricanes. “calling out plays and defense schemes from the stands,” she said. At CHICAGO TECH GAMES

Rhea was invited to be the defensive coordinator. 

“I was at the first practice ready for someone to say something smart,” Rhea stated. “But after the boys warmed up and I started teaching, they saw I knew what I was talking about. Ever since then, they’ve welcomed me with open arms.”

Students got knowledge that DuSable's program was looking to hire a new head coach, the students advocated for Rhea to participate.

Rhea shows up a shows out for her past seniors. Pick ups, drop offs, helping her students wherever her assistance is needed visit graduations give flowers anything to show her support.

“They still call,” Rhea said. 

The football ranks are “no longer just a boys club,” and coaching high schoolers is Rhea’s calling, “give me these babies and let me teach them the game I love,” she said. 

“It’s about knowledge and your passion for the game. That’s what you got to have,” Rhea said. “It doesn’t matter what gender you are. If you have that, you can pass it on.” 

Mayfield she’s focused for Thursday. 

“What I know is that when I see Konesha, I’m going to give her the biggest hug,” Mayfield said. “We were put here to teach these kids and show them love.” 

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