TCD Exclusive: Meet Chicago Bliss QB, Jayne Caldwell
It’s an early morning in Hoffman Estate, IL, just 30 minutes outside of Chicago.
I’ve just walked into the EFT facility where Chicago Bliss QB, Jayne Caldwell and her roommate/teammate, Quincy Hewitt just finished their morning workout.
The place is filled with football players — both, male and female football players — as they get ready for their morning workouts.
The music is LOUD.
So loud that I really can’t hear my own thoughts or maybe I’m just a grandma. EFT has jerseys hung on the walls of all their former players.
Teammates Caldwell and Hewitt have been prepping extra hard for this season with the Chicago Bliss in the Legends Football League (LFL).
Caldwell, sporting black leggings, a red Adidas hoodie and her extremely long jet black side ponytail, comes up and greets me with an infectious smile and a hug.
Caldwell will be starting her second season with the Chicago Bliss as their starting QB.
The Bliss won the LFL in 2016 and last season went undefeated in the regular season, but lost in the first round of the playoffs.
Caldwell and the Bliss are hoping to make it to the Legends Cup in Poland this season and get back to that championship feel.
We got to sit down with Jayne and talk all things football and so much more.
In the first video atop this article, Jayne and I talk about how she first got into football. From there, we talked about it all.
All the videos in this article are TCD exclusive snippets from our interview and some of the highlights you’ll want to hear.
From her relationship with Detroit Pistons point guard Reggie Jackson, having strong relationships with women, vegemite and what advice she would give to young females pursuing football — we cover it all in these fun one-on-one interviews.
For Jayne, the two very important relationships in her life are her relationship with her best friend and teammate Quincy, and her relationship with Detroit Pistons PG Reggie Jackson.
If you love a good love story like me, you’re going to want to hear the story of how Jayne and Reggie met.
Can you say athleticism?
Jayne acts not only as a pioneer in the LFL but also as a inspiration and mentor to young girls worldwide who may want to play football when they grow up.
Jayne breaks down what she thinks of the LFL’s expansion and her advice to young girls aspiring to play in these three interview snippets below.
For more from Jayne, we give you a full transcript of all the fun things we talked about below.
Jenna Duddleston: You were born in Thailand but grew up in Australia, why did your family decide to go from Thailand to Australia?
Jayne Caldwell: Well my dad’s Australian and when I turned three my dad thought growing up in Australia would be better because the education out there.
JD: So were there like kangaroos and snakes just bouncing around everywhere or is that just a terrible stereotype?
JC: Yeah, that’s a stereotype. So I lived close to the city and it’s like suburbia, but like you can get some snakes if you don’t mow your lawn.
JD: How big?
JC: Well the biggest I’ve seen have been pretty big probably about three meters long. It’s a brown snake and they’re huge. And when you see that, you just call animal control or they just go away on their own so it’s not a big deal. But if you do want to see kangaroos you have to go out to the outback.
JD: You played a lot of other sports growing up, how do you think that playing such a variety of sports helped prepare you to play football?
JC: Football is the ultimate team sport. So I feel like being on team sports in the past helped me adjust to the life of being on this team and being on the team environment. Going on team road trips together all that kind of stuff just prepared me for being on this kind of team. I really enjoy it like I’ve played sports growing up and it’s just something I’ve always loved to be apart of.
JD: As a kid you said your dad was really into American football, who was his team of choice or his favorite player?
JC: Well he didn’t have a favorite player. He did a lot of business trips in Seattle and Boston, so he always went to Seahawks and Patriots games. He liked those two teams, but he didn’t have a favorite, but I think he’s more towards the Patriots side cause he did more work in Boston.
JD: Ok so you went to USC, you got your degree?
JC: In Australia — not the one in California
JD: Didn’t realize that. OK, so then did you go to school and play football at the same time?
JC: No — well — kind of. So the football wasn’t part of my university, but the last three years of my university I played football.
JD: What made you decide to come on over to the states?
JC: I played my inaugural season of LFL Australia with the Queensland Brigade and they had that one season and it was really successful, but they cancelled the league.
I’m not sure why and Quincy [Caldwell’s teammate/roommate] played for the New South Wales and her team ended up winning the entire tournament. We played against each other and it was a huge success, but they just cancelled the league the next season.
So we couldn’t play anymore and I wanted to keep playing, so we decided to move to the states. Well I actually got recruited so I actually probably wouldn’t have moved over here if the US coaches didn’t reach out to me and say, “Hey do you want to come over for a try out?” So I did!
JD: OK so the LFL is expanding, it just came out in the beginning of the year from 33 teams in the United States and to your hometown, New Zealand, Canada, Europe and Asia. How are you excited about seeing the sport grow international?
JC: Well they said that the goal is by 2020. I think, right?
JD: 2020 was the final, but the full expansion was 2028 so it still has some time.
JC: Yeah it still has some time, so I don’t think I’ll be playing by then but at least I know that I was one of the pioneers that got it going cause eventually I want this sport to pay women like the NFL does and so all they have to do it just train and play football.
Right now we don’t get to do that, we have to fund ourselves with sponsorship and stuff like that. But if I was one of the one’s that kicked that off so that women in the future can get paid for playing this, then it’s worth it for me.
JD: Basically I just think women are badass creatures and you’re surrounded by that day in and day out in football season. So what is it like being surrounding by these women?
JC: It’s amazing! Like they amaze me every single day and practice is so much fun we go there and joke around with each other, but we also get work done, so it’s like really good.
I don’t know — I just love the team environment. I love when we go on away trips together and going to the airport, and going on the plane, going to the arena and it’s like us against the world kind of thing, I just love every minute of it!
JD: There’s got to be a lot of that fun, goofy, comradery that just makes it that much better to be a part of it?
JC: Yeah we got so many videos of girls twerking in the locker room and joking around.
JC: It’s just so much fun. We actually get to the stadium a lot earlier then normal sports, around 10-11 AM because we have to do green screen, broadcast rehearsal, photoshoots, interviews stuff like that. We have a long lead up until the game we don’t play until 7 or 8 PM that night.
JD: That is a long day.
JC: Yeah so when we’re there in the locker room doing nothing we’re just hanging around with each other having fun.
JD: So that’s when people start twerking?
JC: Yeah, pretty much!
JD: Alright, onto the Chicago Bliss now. So according to the LFL360, you guys are in a rebuilding year. You are obviously losing a lot of veteran players, but with losing veterans players come a lot of younger, new talent. So, talk about the talent that you guys have this season.
JC: I’m really excited, I can mainly speak on the offensive side of the ball, like I know the defensive girls but not really because I work with the offense.
We had a great running back like year and for all the years the Chicago Bliss has been a franchise and her name was Chrisdell Harris, the Ferrari, she was amazing. She was great.
Her backup is Javell Thompson so she’s been the backup role and has come into games here and there but she’s the starter. She’s a great running back. She’s young, and knows its her time to shine kind of thing, I’m excited to see her start.
Javell and I have a great relationship and she’s a great running back. I’m excited to see her play this season and start of course, cause she deserves it definitely.
Another new girl is our wide receiver, her name’s Tamika (Robinson), she’s Javell’s best friend. They play flag football together, on the southside of Chicago. She’s fast she has great hands and I’m really excited. We’ve been working together for the past couple of weeks and we’ve just clicked! It’s just natural!
JD: What are some of the team goals going into the season?
JC: So last year we went undefeated in the regular season but lost in the playoffs.
So team goals this year, and the reason we lost in the playoffs is lack of attendance leading up to the playoffs.
JD: Can you go into a little more detail on that?
JC: Yeah, so the year before the Bliss won the championship and our coach explained it perfectly, it’s like the championship hangover.
It’s like that “Oh yeah, we’re the champs. We don’t need to go to practice. We win regardless of anything we do,” so that’s plagued our team last year, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
If you’re not at practice we can’t get our timing right. We can’t run the plays right especially if we make little changes and you’re not at practice and you don’t know about it everyone’s running one thing and someone’s running something else. So it’s just being on the same page.
So this year we wanted our team goals for attendance to be at an ultimate high especially on the offensive side of the ball because that’s what plagued our team last year and that’s why we ended up losing the playoffs.
JD: So what are some of your personal goals this season?
JC: My personal goals this year coming into the season were to be leaner and faster.
So last year, I was a little bit heavier and I always thought that playing football you need to bulk up and lift heavy so when you get hit you can take the contact.
Which is true, but as quarterback, I feel like I need to be a lot leaner, quicker and faster and mobile in the pocket. So I want to be so mobile in the pocket and complete at least 70% of my passes and win games for my team.
JD: I actually have a question from a fan, too. The fan wanted to know is it easier to coach men or women?
JC: I feel like women listen more, I don’t know if that’s true, but like I feel when a coach gives us feedback well take it in and try to adjust it and fix it and not be like “ah, I know better” and like just not listen at all.
Our coach jokes all the time, he works with Advance Disposal and he runs the entire facility and he’ll say, ‘Running this facility is easier than coaching you girls,’ and we’re like whatever.
But I get a lot of feedback from coaches that say that women listen more and are more attentive when you talk. I don’t know, I guess it’s just up to the person.
Jayne was so much fun to talk to and work with.
She filled out some fun questions for TCD, too! Check them out below.
And how about a good ole game of would you rather with Jayne?
Talking with Jayne was an awesome experience and showed me the passion these women have for the sport.
Big thank you from me and the TCD crew for meeting with us, Jayne!
I’ll definitely be making an attempt to go watch you and your girls slay on the field in Chicago!