Updated: Jun 27, 2022
-Written by Greg Levinsky
Adrienne Smith set the Women’s Football Alliance’s career record for receiving yards this season. Photo by DAVID MAXWEL
Categorizing Adrienne Smith’s career by a single profession is like stopping her with single coverage on a deep go route or red zone slant — it’s borderline impossible.
Smith is the co-founder of Harlem Hip-Hop Tours, a company focused on educational, entertainment-based field trips; the founder of Gridiron Queendom, a resource for women and girls interested in American football; and the creator of Blitz Champz, a football card game designed to help children hone their mathematical skills. She also is a writer, actress, and television producer.
And the veteran Boston Renegades wideout recently became the Women’s Football Alliance’s career leader in receiving yards.
“In business, I like to ‘empire’ people — a combination of ‘empower’ and ‘inspire,’ ” Smith said. “[In athletics], it’s ‘be great.’ ”
Right now, it’s gridiron crunch time as the three-time defending WFA champion Renegades prepare to host the Pittsburgh Passion Saturday at 6 p.m. at Harry Della Russo Stadium in Revere in the league semifinals. Should the Renegades win, they’ll move on to the national championship game July 10 in Canton, Ohio.
Coached by former New England Patriot Vernon Crawford, the Renegades (7-0) beat the Passion (4-2) handily in the regular season, a 46-8 win at home May 7. Winners of 29 straight — the longest streak in WFA history — the Renegades boast the league’s top scoring offense (53.3 points per game) and limit opponents to 14.2 points per game, second-best in the WFA.
The offense is led by quarterback Allison Cahill (102 completions, 947 yards, league-high 15 touchdown passes, 2 interceptions), and running backs Ruth Matta (94 carries, 716 yards, league-high 11 rushing touchdowns), Tytti Kuusinen (81 carries, 522 yards, 10 touchdowns), and Kate Falkowski (51 carries, 256 yards).
Five receivers have hauled in at least 13 passes, including Renate Meckl (19 receptions, 205 yards), Stephanie Pascual (17 receptions, 159 yards), and Smith (14 receptions, 149 yards, 4 touchdowns).
Defensive end Danielle Fournier (56.5 tackles, 9 for loss) and defensive back Shantia Creech (league-high 4 interceptions, 6 deflections) the backbone of a stout defense.
A four-time WFA champion and two-time gold medalist with the US Women’s Tackle National Team, Smith joined the pro ranks in 2006 as a member of the former New York Sharks in the Independent Women’s Football League. She quickly established herself as one of women’s football’s premier receivers both stateside and in international competition, including scoring the first touchdown in the history of women’s international tackle football.
“She comes to play every day as a professional, a unique talent and a very good friend,” said Renegades owner Molly Goodwin, who played with and against Smith in her career. “With that level of professionalism, she’s a great role model, not just for her teammates but anyone who sees her play.”
Following four years with the Sharks, Smith spent three seasons with the former Boston Militia, who disbanded but reorganized as the Renegades. Smith debuted with them in 2015 and has played with the Renegades ever since.
Last month, Smith became the league’s all-time receiving yardage leader in style, catching the record-breaking pass in the back of the end zone in dispatching the D.C. Divas.
How it unfolded is a testament to Smith and Cahill’s veteran savvy. The original play called for a jab and go, but Smith didn’t see enough space to complete a full route. After the snap, she made a quick move and angled her body toward Cahill, moments later making the historic reception.
“She isn’t afraid to dream big and do the hard work — late nights, early mornings, training, reading, studying, meetings — to make things happen,” said defensive back Chanté Bonds, a longtime teammate of Smith’s. “I’m not surprised that her tenacious go-get-it attitude has given her so much success as an athlete and an entrepreneur.”
Smith, who lives in Manhattan, commutes to Boston up to three times a week. A glimpse of her schedule: Traveling to Greater Boston on a Thursday for the “Equal Play” event honoring the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Off to Renegades practice. Staying the night with Goodwin. Returning to New York for an event Friday morning, then boomeranging back to Boston that evening to prepare for a Saturday game.
“Sometimes that happens, and that’s why it’s so important to take care of health,” Smith said. “I couldn’t make this work without the support of the Boston Renegades.”