By Meredith Qualls
Published: Saturday, August 4, 2012, 12:01Â a.m.
Updated 1 hour ago
Pittsburgh on Saturday will serve as host to the first womenÃ¢Ââ¢s football championship to be played in an NFL stadium when the SilverSport WomenÃ¢Ââ¢s Football Alliance national championship kicks off at Heinz Field.
The 4 p.m. game, hosted by the Pittsburgh Passion, is the focus of the inaugural Breaking Barriers Festival and comes 40 years after the passage of Title IX.
Ã¢ÂÅ"The Rooney family has always been supportive, helping break barriers for so many things, especially in the area of football,Ã¢ÂÂ said Teresa Conn, Passion owner and head coach.
The Chicago Force and the San Diego Surge, both undefeated, will play in the championship game. The Passion (8-2) ended their season in the second round of the playoffs, losing to the DC Divas, 45-30.
Ã¢ÂÅ"You can hardly believe how far itÃ¢Ââ¢s come in 10 years,Ã¢ÂÂ Conn said, referring to the PassionÃ¢Ââ¢s growth from their first game at Belle Vernon Area High School after the franchise was formed in 2002. Next season, the team plans to play at the RiverhoundsÃ¢Ââ¢ 3,500-seat stadium at Station Square.
Ã¢ÂÅ"You see how far things have come over the last 40 years,Ã¢ÂÂ Conn said. Ã¢ÂÅ"I think thereÃ¢Ââ¢s just a great respect for all those who have paved the way.Ã¢ÂÂ
The Force (11-0) advanced to the title game for the second time in team history by defeating the Boston Militia, 35-34, on July 21. The Force played their best half of the season, leading 35-14 at halftime, but the defending champion Militia (10-1) scored 20 points in the second half to come within a point. BostonÃ¢Ââ¢s Danielle Resha failed to convert the extra point that would have tied the game.
The Surge (11-0), in their second year, beat the Dallas Diamonds, 56-29, to advance to the championship. San DiegoÃ¢Ââ¢s 5-foot-6 quarterback Melissa Gallegos connected with receiver Jessica Javelet and running back Cassey Brick for touchdowns in the first half to give the Surge a 35-13 lead.
San Diego has allowed only a league-low 48 points this season. Chicago, meanwhile, is second in team scoring with 597 points, followed by the SurgeÃ¢Ââ¢s 592.
Conn is looking forward to watching history happen this weekend.
Ã¢ÂÅ"The best place in the world to be involved in football is the city of Pittsburgh,Ã¢ÂÂ Conn said.
The WFA title game will be aired live on ESPN3. Tickets are available at ticketmaster.com.
Meredith Qualls is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or
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