Out Team USA Quarterback Plays National Anthem On Her Ukulele

Every morning I wake up to a billion press releases that get deleted unread because they’re about the release of J-Bieb’s limited edition tour t-shirt and other things I already own. However, every now and then I’ll strike press release gold, it’ll be something that I just can’t wait to forward to our executive editor Laneia with multiple exclamation marks and then eventually share with the rest of the Internet. For example, the press release I received last week about an out all-star football player who racks up ceiling-smashing accomplishments and played the Star Spangled Banner on her ukulele moments before helping Team USA win a gold medal overseas.

Let me introduce you to Sami Grisafe, an athlete and musician who hails from Chicago and who recently played as Quarterback for Team USA in the International Federation of American Football 2013 Women’s World Championship for tackle football in Finland.

Watch Grisafe perform the Star Spangled Banner in the below trailer for Tackle Girls: One Team, One Mission, a feature length documentary that follows Team USA’s journey to the Championship. It’s scheduled for release for the 2014 Super Bowl.

I’m going to level with you, readers. As an Australian I’m only vaguely familiar with American football. The few details I know about the game have been learned via watching Friday Night Lights, and I’m quite confident that my undying attraction to Tami Taylor doesn’t automatically qualify me to write serious journalism about Grisafe’s athletic achievements. As such, I think it’s for the best if I cut-paste the most important-sounding facts from the press release and hope they’re gonna make sense to you football fans.

For the second consecutive year, Grisafe was named to the World All-Star Team as Quarterback for Team USA which played in the aforementioned IFAF Championship and won the Gold medal. She was one of 45 amazing athletes who represented the United States in women’s tackle football on a world stage and was awarded the World Championship MVP title.

Grisafe first made made national news in 2000, when she became the first female quarterback in the history of California Interscholastic Federation Division 1 athletics to compete in a varsity game. Since then Grisafe has played seven seasons for the Chicago Force women’s tackle football team. In this year’s season she had a 62.5 completion percentage, 2,582 passing yards, 32 touchdown passes and a sparkling 131.3 passer rating. Other note-worthy accomplishments include throwing the first touch down ever in a women’s international tackle football competition in 2010.

Right now you’re probably asking yourself how one girl could have so much talent, and it’s a fair question. Hold it, though, ’cause I haven’t even started telling you about her music career. In 2012 Grisafe released Atlantis, a full-length studio album featuring eleven upbeat pop tracks that do well to showcase that powerhouse voice. The record received six Grammy pre-nominations and has a few Grammy Award winning collaborators associated with it, such as blues artist Sugar Blue (Rolling Stones) and producer Ricciano Lumpkins (TLC, P.O.D., Mya). She also won the Chicago Music Award for Best Rock Entertainer 2012.

I’m going to wind this up with a super catchy track called “Hooky In Chicago”, which has a really cute music video.

Everything else you could possibly want to know about Sami Grisafe is probably on her website.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Founding member. Former writer. Still loves Autostraddle with her whole heart.

Crystal has written 320 articles for us.


  1. Deering, #81. The best person/personal trainer in ze world! But really, this whole thing.

  2. Obscenely talented artistically and athletically. Not to mention cute as a button. The real question is – how have I not known about her before now?


    also i had no idea that football pads did so much for me?

  4. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!

    I didn’t even know we had women’s football. This is amazing news.

  5. This is awesome. And I immediately bought Atlantis. I am a sucker for such voices. Thank you author of essay!

  6. Awesome!! I knew of Sami Grisafe because she did music for the miniseries/play “I Hate Tommy Finch”… if you haven’t seen it I highly recommend it!

Comments are closed.