08/01/2018 4:54 AM
PLAYER SPOTLIGHT - ERICA CRISWELL
1. Tell us about yourself and your family?
I am the daughter of Shirley Criswell. I was born and raised in Livingston TX with my 2 older brothers, Eric and Jamar. I am a teacher and a coach who considers myself a life-long learner, and I love being a role model for my students. I have been into sports and being active since I was a small child. Everyone has their own superhero, and my mother happens to be mine. I also am lucky enough to have the most amazing, loving, and caring wife that a person could ask for.
2. Of all sports why did you choose football?
When it comes to football, I initially went to tryout because I was invited by 2 women from my hometown (Chop and Aisha). Prior to tryouts, I was thinking that it was for flag football. I ended up making the team, and since we were in the conditioning stage I was still flag. It wasn't until one morning at an indoor practice facility coach handed out equipment. I remember thinking what have I gotten myself into. After that first practice in pads, no matter how scared I was, there was no turning back.
3. What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I like to hangout with my wife and my family, workout, learn, and travel.
4. Over the years players have come and gone. What made you stay with the Houston Energy for 10 years?
I have stayed with the Houston Energy because of the bond that Coach Wiggins (or Head Honcho as I call him) and I have made. His passion, dedication, and drive for not only football, but his players as well is second to none. No other team could fulfill that for me, and throughout the years it NEVER crossed my mind to go anywhere else. Anyone who truly knows me, knows that if I was playing football it would definitely be for Coach Wiggins and the Houston Energy.
5. Being a coach yourself, what are some encouraging words for your teammates as this is your final year?
Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me"
Work everyday to be the best you that you can be and never give up.
Always believe in yourself.
Live life with no regrets and have fun.
6. Do you have any advice for a Houston Energy rookie?
Be coachable, be fearless, compete with yourself, compete, and control the controllable.
7. When you look back on the past 10 seasons what will you remember most?
I will remember the life-long friendships that have been made and the exciting feeling of playing women's football for the Houston Energy. I will also remember Coach Wiggins' addiction to making sure we always look fresh on the field.
8. What did you enjoy most about playing with the Houston Energy?
I enjoyed Coach Wiggins, the undefeated seasons, playing in championship games, the losses, and more importantly the second family that I have gained.
9. How did you change individually as a player over the years?
When I first started playing football I was completely clueless, but I didn't let that stop me from giving my all. By the start of my second season, I still didn't have it all figured out, but I knew if I got to the person with the ball before they got going that it made my job easier. I ended my second season and a few thereafter as the leading tackler in the IWFL.
10. What player made the greatest impression on you in your career?
Tonya Nickerson aka T-Nick #33 made the greatest impression. T-Nick took over at the Mike linebacker after I returned from a knee surgery. She was eager to learn and strived to be a great player. She trusted me to share with her what knowledge I had gained up until that point. We became a solid force on that field together and also built a strong friendship off the field. T-Nick went on to earn Defensive MVP multiple times before her depart from football. She will forever be "Captain".
11. What is the most important attribute of being successful as a linebacker?
The most important attribute of being successful as a linebacker is to first be coachable. After that you have to trust your instincts, play fast, and be ferocious.
12. Do you have any specific plans for the future?
I have no specific plans per se, but I will finally dedicate the time I need to towards finally finishing up my doctoral studies. We have also discussed starting a family. I do know that life without the football field is going to take sometime to get used to.
Thanks to Coach Wiggins for believing in me and thanks to all my teammates old and new that have trusted me to be a leader on this great team!