Sami Grisafe is not afraid of obstacles. In fact, she welcomes them…for they made her the person she is today. The all-star quarterback for the Chicago Force and talented singer-songwriter has managed to succeed in two of her life’s passions, sports and music.
As she wraps up her final season playing professional women’s tackle football for the Chicago Force and Team USA, Grisafe will go down in history as the first female in the state of California to play the quarterback position in a varsity Division I football game and the first female to throw a touchdown pass in a world championship tournament. On October 2nd, she was inducted into the Redlands High School Athletic Hall of Fame in Redlands, California, joining past inductee Brian Billick.
But as one door closes, the other door opens wider for this athlete and award winning musician. Grisafe, who has dedicated most of her time to football, can now focus on her music career, something that has always had half of her attention. Grisafe is currently preparing for the 2015 release and music video of her upcoming single “Brand New Fairy Tale.”
Grisafe grew up in Redlands, California where she chartered new territory as a female athlete. Besides playing football since age ten, she played baseball for nine years and became the first girl in her community to make a boy’s baseball All-Star team. It was also at age ten that Grisafe taught herself how to play guitar, but wanting to be unique, diverted her focus to the ukulele. She tagged along as her parent’s performed with their country group Two of Hearts at state fairs, parties and weddings all over California. Grisafe’s parents inspired her to get involved in theater. She won first place in a state monologue competition which ultimately led to an acting scholarship to Chicago College of Performing Arts at Roosevelt University.
In 2007, while studying acting at Roosevelt University in Chicago, she joined the Chicago Force. Grisafe’s statistics in her position exceeded most NFL quarterbacks, accomplishing a passing rating of 131.3, throwing for 4301 yards and 57 touchdowns. She received honors as Offensive Player of the Year in (2007, 2011), team MVP (2012, 2013), team captain (2008, 2009, 2010) IWFL All-Star selection (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010) and WFA All-America honors (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014). Grisafe was a part of history playing in the first women’s national championship on an NFL field (Heinz Field in Pittsburgh). She helped the United States capture the gold medal at the 2010 IFAF Women’s World Championship championships in Stockholm, Sweden, along with the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds in Vantaa, Finland. Grisafe was awarded the World Championship Tournament MVP in the 2013. Sami and her music are also featured in the 2014 Pyewackitt Productions documentary, The Tackle Girls where they followed the 45 women selected for Team USA as they trained and prepared to compete for the gold in Helsinki, Finland.
Inspired by musicians like Janis Joplin, Dave Grohl, and the Counting Crows, Grisafe’s music has a folk-rock feel with provocative lyrics, often incorporating additional styles such as reggae, blues and rap. She earned six Grammy pre-nominations for her 2012 album ATLANTIS, and in 2013 received the Chicago Music Award for “Best Rock Entertainer.” Grisafe has performed at the RedGorilla Fest and OUTlander Fest during SXSW and iconic venues such as Chicago’s Metro, Double Door, Cubby Bear and City Winery.
Grisafe gained national attention for her performance of the National Anthem prior to taking the field at the 2013 IFAF Women’s World Championship gold medal game. The Huffington Post called her performance “…one of the most inspiring versions of the Star-Spangled Banner we’ve ever heard.” The unforgettable rendition is featured in two documentaries and was performed at the request of Illinois Governor, Pat Quinn, for the marriage equality bill signing.
As a proud member of the LGBTQ community, Grisafe is in the process of recording her new album beginning with a new song, “Brand New Fairy Tale,” as a show of support for equal rights among all people in marriage. The single features Eric Himan, a national touring, award-winning singer-songwriter, who spent spring of 2014 opening tours for Leon Russell and then Ani DiFranco.
Currently Grisafe lives in both Chicago and Los Angeles and enjoys supporting local theater, music and her favorite sports teams.
Sami Grisafe’s tracks