Dracut’s Sam McKay makes his mark with Boston Renegades – Sentinel and Enterprise
REVERE – Since stepping onto the field with the Boston Renegades last season, Sam McKay has shied away from caution. The relentless bustle and hard-hitting style of the Lowell native and Dracut High graduate have earned her praise from teammates and coaches.
“Sam is a destructive bowling ball with his enthusiasm and intensity,” Renegades special teams coordinator Cliff Ashley said. “But she always does it with a smile, whether she’s getting punched or laying someone down.”
The Leominster resident plans to put those traits to good use this weekend, as the Renegades look to claim their fourth consecutive – and seventh overall – Women’s Football Alliance Pro National Championship, taking on the Minnesota Vixen at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio, Sunday at 2 p.m.
“I’m super excited,” said McKay, 30, who helped the team clinch the 2021 crown in their rookie season. “We have worked hard this season, like any season, but we are super focused and ready to leave everything on the pitch.”
The Renegades will travel to Buckeye State flying first class, thanks to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft. The New England Patriots owner allowed the team to use his team’s official aircraft for Friday morning’s flight.
“It’s definitely one of the coolest things I’ve ever done,” said McKay, who took a similar trip on the Pats’ plane last season. “I thought it was going to be a once in a lifetime opportunity, and the fact that we can do it again is amazing. To have Bob Kraft donating his plane, his time and his crew’s time is amazing. I can’t expect.
This will be the second year in a row that the Renegades and Vixen will play for all marbles, but this time will be extra special with the game set to reach a national audience. The AdeNation Women’s Football Alliance Championship will air on ESPN2 for the first time in league history, adding an extra dimension of excitement to the big game.
“I love it,” McKay said during the team’s practice at Della Russo Memorial Stadium on Thursday. “Obviously. we have a lot of friends and family and fans and not everyone can make it to Canton so the fact that we can televise it nationally is so cool. The more exposure we get, the better it will be for the league and for everyone.
For some fans, however, nothing beats being there. McKay’s family plans to take the 10-hour hike over 600 miles to see women’s soccer history in the making.
“My family is super happy,” McKay said. “My mother, my uncle and my sister make the trip (Friday) morning. This season I’ve had a lot more family and friends watching us, watching the team and the league grow. It was awesome. The support has been amazing.
Incorporated in 2015 after the Boston Militia was sold, the Boston Renegades are New England’s premier women’s tackle football team. The three-time defending WFA champions continue Boston’s rich history of women’s soccer, winning six national titles in its history.
A senior account manager for a packaging company in Billerica, McKay was instrumental in the team’s most recent success. The 5-foot-8 lineman has a penchant for making her presence felt.
“I started playing on the O line last season,” McKay said. “We already had a starting five, so I actually played a bit defensively. I played defense in the 2021 league game, but this season I’m back to left guard on the O line.”
She credits her team’s success to their can-do attitude and overall commitment.
“Everyone here is super dedicated,” McKay said. “We have great leaders. There are the mentors, the veterans who constantly strive and hold each other accountable in practice and in games. It’s a huge boost for our team.
Born and raised in Lowell, McKay moved to Dracut where she played field hockey and softball for the Middies. A 2010 Dracut High graduate, she turned to the grill in her early twenties, playing flag football.
“That’s actually how I was introduced to the Boston Renegades,” McKay said. “Our general manager, Ben Brown, was in a few games talking to some of the girls. He asked me to come to practice and I’ve been hooked ever since.
Through blood, sweat and tears, this two-year journey has earned McKay every moment. She takes nothing for granted, making sure she soaks up every moment of the weekend experience.
“I really can’t wait for this game,” McKay said. “I can’t wait to leave him on the pitch because you never know if it will be the last time you play football.”