LB Tia Watkins
Nickname: Cake Lady
Contact for Media Inquiry
Years Playing: 5
Height: 5’9; Weight: 175
Date Born: 1/22/1981
Location Born: Baltimore, MD
College: Longwood University
High School: Centennial High School ( Ellicott City, MD)
Favorite Sports Teams: Baltimore Ravens all day
Full-Time Profession: Equity Prime Mortgage
Hobbies: Spending time with my kids, outdoor adventures, water sports & going fast
Passions: Coaching Kids, group fitness, motivating people to have a healthy lifestyle
College Sports: Division 1 Basketball and Lacrosse
Other Sports played: high school – football, track & field, basketball
How you got into football: Growing up I was always the only girl playing with the boys and when we got to high school football was natural and I played then. I found out there was a women’s league after I was in my 30‘s and after I had kids ☹ Better late than never…I hit the ground running and haven’t looked back!
Pets: 7 gold fish
Family: Jori Watkins-9 yr old daughter, Shawn Watkins Jr. (7 yr old son), Audrey & James Stewart (parents) Coy Richardson (dad)
In Her Own Words:
I played football in high school, started at corner back on D and was the 2nd string running back. I was always that girl playing with the boys at recess and being called a tomboy. I didn’t mind and wore that label proudly. It meant I was athletic, tough and could hold my own with the boys. I always took pride in being able to beat them and was highly competitive. Definitely made me into the strong woman and amazing mother I am today.
I have 2 beautiful children who keep me motivated and make me work a little harder every day. I have always been involved in their activities, coached my son’s soccer teams the past 5 years and also both of their basketball teams. They think I have super powers and can do anything I put my mind to. Between Basketball leagues, Lacrosse leagues and now football they have been on the sidelines watching mommy since they were babies in their baby carrier seats. This is a lifestyle for me and my kids know that being active and healthy is just WHAT we do.
Ironically, I found football because my little sister’s roommate Porchia played for the Carolina Phoenix and they came to MD to play the Baltimore Nighthawks in 2012. Up until then I had no idea her roommate played REAL football and just thought it was some touch league or something, but when I showed up . . . BOY WAS I FLOORED. I knew right then and there I HAD to be a part of that and went online that night to request information. They responded, and that was my home for two seasons. By my 2nd season I led the league in rushing and was the only RB to break 1,000 rushing yards in a season that year. I quickly learned that football was the ultimate team sport and no matter HOW successful you are individually; your team can still lose every game and that those accolades mean nothing.
From there I decided to go to the team labeled the best in the area…the DC DIVAS. It was the best decision I could have ever made. My first two seasons there, we won National Championships (both years), I made 1st team All American (both), was named WFA Conference Defensive player of the year (2015), met the president twice, and have been featured in several national articles and shows. Last year I also broke the single game tackle record and franchise record for most tackles in season for my team. I am truly blessed and without God, my teammates and the league would not ever have had those opportunities. This is my third season with the Divas and trying to make it my best yet.
I love football because it gives me an outlet to be me. Growing up I was taught how to behave like a lady and was constantly told that little girls don’t do certain things. As an adult woman, I carry myself like a lady, am very polite, always smile at others and am conservative to a certain extent. Football gives me the opportunity to UNLEASH THE BEAST WITHIN!!! I can go fast, get dirty, knock people on the ground & yell in their faces, and hit people…AND IT’s OK!!! I actually get rewarded the more I do it. My coworkers never believe I play because they say I am so soft spoken in the office and always smiling. My first coach in Baltimore asked me if I could actually hit someone…because he could not picture it. LOL. Playing football shows my daughter and other girls that they can do ANYTHING they want, whether it’s a being a boxer, the CEO of a company or the President of the United States. It shows my son that women are strong and can do anything that men can do. He has sooooooo much of a higher respect and appreciation for women. What I wasn’t expecting was the number of other women who say I am an inspiration to THEM TOO!!! It’s like they get to live out their dreams through me and, me playing gives them the courage to be brave and try new things as well.
One day I hope to see women getting paid to play and not having to pay to play. I want to see women’s tackle football on ESPN just like all the other sports, and I want our sport and women to get the respect we truly deserve.
My family is truly amazing and I would not be where I am without their support. My daughter Jori is 9 and in the 4th grade. Total opposite of me. Into dance, gymnastics, girl scouts and NOT interested in contact or rough housing. She is my super smart book worm who has made the honor roll every quarter since she started school. She is the little mommy in charge when I am not around. My son Shawn Jr. is 7 and is the first grade. He loves school and would die if he is ever late LOL He is my sporty child and always throwing a football around the house or shooting baskets. They both love their mom and I am equally in love with the two of them. How can I not smile when I get to wake up to them on a daily basis?!?! My parents are second to none and ALWAYS encouraged me to shoot for the moon and be myself. I was also blessed with another angel named Sharron who has taken care of my kids while I am working since my maternity leave ended. That is unheard of today. She still picks them up from school every day and now I jokingly call her their 2nd mom. Without Sharron and my parents helping and taking care of my kids while we are at practice, film sessions, games, and on the road this would be nearly impossible. I am blessed and truly believe that GOD has a big purpose for my life.
I am a single mom, I coach my kid’s sports, I play football, I bake late at night, I do laundry like it’s my job, and a million other things. I am always asked when do I sleep and how I always have a smile and seem happy. I AM HAPPY…I’m living my dream, am surrounded by people who love me and GOD is in charge.