Andra Douglas, a trailblazing figure in the world of women’s sports and an advocate for empowering women and girls, has become an inspiring force in the field of female athletics. Known for her contributions to women’s professional football, her literary endeavors, and her dedication to the Fins Up! Foundation for Female Athletics, Andra Douglas continues to make an indelible mark on the world.
Andra’s Greenwich Village abode serves as a fitting backdrop to her unique journey. With her parrot, Poi, perched on her shoulder and sporting a Tampa Bay Buccaneers T-shirt, she exudes confidence and humility, making anyone who crosses her path feel significant and at ease.
In a recent conversation, Andra Douglas highlighted the importance of finding one’s voice, regardless of age. She emphasized the value of empowerment and self-assuredness, not as a means to seize the spotlight, but to cultivate inner strength. She believes that women’s sports offer a platform for nurturing these essential life skills, fostering communication, camaraderie, and self-confidence.
Andra’s most prominent achievement is her role as one of the driving forces behind women’s professional football. In 2000, she acquired the New York Sharks, a women’s tackle football team. Her ownership spanned an impressive 19 years, during which she also played as the team’s quarterback for the first five seasons. Under her leadership, the Sharks achieved unparalleled success, becoming the “winningest” and longest-operating women’s tackle football team globally, with a remarkable nineteen-season record including ten Division Titles, five East Coast Championships, two National Titles (2002, 2018), and one International Title (2018).
Reflecting on her journey, Andra commented, “My generation had to be called strange so today’s generation of girls can be normal. Now that women in sports is normal and even acknowledged and celebrated, I think it’s going to help a lot for young girls growing up because team sports offer so many life skills.”
In 2019, Andra published her first book, “Black and Blue: Sports, Love, and the Art of Empowerment,” a deeply personal account of her life experiences as a non-conforming female in a conservative rural environment and her transformation into an empowered executive and pioneer for women in American football. The book resonated widely and even caught the attention of actress Julie Bowen from “Modern Family,” leading to an option for a TV series produced by Universal Television, currently in development.
Regarding her book, Andra shared, “It was really fun to write. It was extremely cathartic because I had all of these emotions, these stories, these feelings ranging the gamut from anger to elation. The fact that it has been well received validated who I was, what I’ve done, what I want to do. It has really given me a voice that I didn’t know I had.”
Notably, Andra also designed the artwork for the book cover, featuring a collage of her work and the face of one of her players. Her book is a rollercoaster of emotions, with stories that evoke laughter, tears, and cheers, capturing the essence of her team’s journey.
Furthermore, her book has offered her players a deeper understanding of the challenges she faced as the team’s owner and the sacrifices made by the staff and players alike. Andra always emphasizes the importance of cherishing the opportunity to play, as she understands that once the playing days are over, there’s no turning back.
Currently, Andra Douglas is working on new artwork that she hopes to showcase soon. She is also eagerly awaiting feedback from her editor on her second book, which delves into the heartbreaks and thrills of the New York Sharks’ final season in 2018.
Beyond her personal achievements, Andra is a founder and advocate for the Fins Up! Foundation for Female Athletics, established in 2003 and later merging with the Women’s Gridiron Foundation in 2015. This foundation provides invaluable opportunities for “at-risk” girls aged 13 to 17, teaching them not only the sport of football but also the essential life skills that come with it.
For those interested in connecting with Andra Douglas or exploring her work, you can visit her website at https://andradouglasart.com/ and find her on social media @andradouglasart. Her book, “Black & Blue: Love, Sports, and the Art of Empowerment,” is available on Amazon.
Andra Douglas continues to be an inspirational figure, tirelessly working to empower women and girls and make the world of sports a more inclusive and fulfilling place for all.