Tackling The Competition

Amber Lyons, a second-year student in the Texas Evening MBA Program, is not your typical business student. That is because Amber, a member of the TEMBA Graduate Business Council and McCombs Admissions Committee, also plays professional football. Wearing #32 for the Austin Outlaws of the Women’s Football Alliance (WFA), Amber excels at running back, free safety, cornerback and kicker, having won both Offensive and Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007, as well as Special Teams Player of the Year in 2009. I recently caught up with Amber to ask her a few questions about the experience.

So, what brought you to Austin?
I have always wanted to live in Austin since my older sister, Stephanie,  moved here back in 1993. She was a UT undergrad student and I grew up visiting the city several times a year. My last year of undergrad was spent in Australia and I found myself with the choice of moving in with my parents and finding a job in Dallas or moving to Austin to live with my other sister, Ashley, and find my first job. It was an easy choice, I was on my way down to Austin a few days after I was back in the US and have been here ever since.  

How did you get involved with the Austin Outlaws Women’s football team?
My second week in Austin I went to a happy hour with some of my sister Ashley’s friends and one of them happened to be the quarterback on the Austin Outlaws. She told me about the team and about the try outs coming up in a few weeks. That was all I needed to hear. I have always wanted to play football and was hooked from the first time I suited up in the pads.

What has the experience been like?
The Austin Outlaws are more of a family than just a sports team.  The pre-season and season itself is about seven months long and we meet anywhere from three to five times a week.  It is a lot of time and the team becomes really close. We are an eclectic group of women with all types of backgrounds, but we all come together on the field for the pure love of the game.  We are not paid and we all have full time jobs, families and other life responsibilities, but we still make time for the team and to just have a chance to play together. I have found football to be a liberating sport to play as a woman because it is generally coined as a man’s sport. We play NFL rules and hit hard. I have been blessed to play with some of the toughest women I know the past five season and lucky to have had only one shoulder surgery in five seasons. I have had to take a little break in 2012 to accommodate for grad school, but will surely be back to the team full time soon.

Who in the NFL would you compare your style of play to?
My Dad is a huge Cowboys fan and I am my father’s daughter so I would have to say Larry Brown.  He is a physical player, but has a finesse about how he moves. That is what I strive for when I play the game. 

During my five seasons with the Outlaws I have played several position. I started out on the offensive side of the ball as a running back, but quickly moved to defense and feel my strength is really playing cornerback, although, I am a pretty good kicker for the team as well. Playing soccer for the past 20 years has come in handy on the football field.

Has being involved with a football team helped you at all in your approach to business?
I think in a way it has helped my self confidence and just helps me feel like a stronger person. If I can go out there and help pave the way for women to play this “man’s sport” I can do the same for women in the business world.   

What else are you involved in?
Football is not my only extracurricular activity at the moment. I am someone who likes to be involved in everything and I jumped right into MBA groups when I joined TEMBA in 2010. Currently, I am an elected member of the Graduate Business Council (GBC), which allows me to represent and support my class. I am also an active member of the McCombs Admissions Committee (MAC), which has given me the chance to give back to McCombs. TEMBA has been an amazing experience thus far and I want to do all I can to help continue the legacy. I also enjoy soccer, trail running and triathlons in my “spare time”.  I haven’t had a chance to sign up for as many races as normal since grad school started but I still get out as often as I can.

Amber is also featured in the student profiles section on our new Student Life page. Photos provided by Amber Lyons.

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One comment on “Tackling The Competition
  1. Lily Messina says:

    GO AMBER!!! The Austin Outlaws love you and we are SO VERY proud of you!!

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