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USF's 'Stampede for Women' helps boost female athletics

More than $70,000 raised in first month
USF stampede for women
Posted at 8:51 AM, Apr 20, 2021

TAMPA, Fla. — The University of South Florida's female soccer team is putting itself on the map.

The team finished the regular season unbeaten and earned 12 conference awards.

With such a successful team, one would think they would garner as much attention and funding as the men's teams.

Ashley Meade is a senior on the team. She said disparities between men's and women's athletic teams has been an issue for decades.

"That we have gone this far with having disparities is ridiculous, so initiatives like this are what we need," Meade said.

That initiative she mentioned is Stampede for Women, which started in early 2021.

It's a push for female athletic equality at USF.

Abby Ritter is one of the advocates behind it.

"There's disparities, so we got together with some coaches and donors and came up with a plan to launch an initiative that's really going to support our female student-athletes," Ritter said.

More than $70,000 was raised through private donors and business contributions in just one month.

"This really provides opportunity from career development to scholarships. All the way to opportunities for foreign tours and even capital projects," Ritter said.

Denise Schilte-Brown is USF's head female soccer coach and said the support from her male counterparts at the university is proof things are turning around, but said this is long overdue.

"When there's momentum for something that's the door that's opening, and we just need to push through it and continue to help open the eyes of everybody around us to say yeah, that makes sense because men are generations ahead of us," Shilte-Brown said.

All three of these female athletes have seen the disparities when they were on the field or track and know they're not alone.

They aren't alone in the fight to change what's been an unbalanced norm for decades either.

"When women support each other, we're making end roads," Shilte-Brown said.

To learn more about Stampede for Women click here.