Tackling football: Horse riding world champ turns to other passion

A lifelong football fan originally from Wisconsin, Jessi Kopp is still learning the ins and outs of playing, after mastering the ups and downs of riding horses.

HOUSTON - It's one the last places you'd expect to find a world champion: a small, dried-up football field in southeast Houston.

 
But here she is.
 
Jessi Kopp is a wide receiver for the Houston Energy women's football team. "There's not many world champions on this team; you're a world champion!" said KHOU 11 Sports Anchor Jason Bristol. 
 
"Yeah, I am," replied Kopp, who works as a geologist. "I think I have six world titles."
 
A lifelong football fan originally from Wisconsin, Kopp is still learning the ins and outs of playing, after mastering the ups and downs of riding horses.
 
She's won numerous world titles, including ones competing within the American Paint Horse Association. "I have a fantastic horse; the horse I won all the titles on.
 
"I have to credit him; since he does most of the work."
 
But its a team effort. Much like football.
 
Its a team effort," said Kopp. "I've made mistakes out there and, fortunately, he knows his job. If I have a bobble or I'm feeling a little nervous; he alwys gets me back on track.
 
"And I think I do the same for him."
 
On the field, she's not horsing around, either. "I get asked all the time if this is the lingerie football league and, 'No, this is real football,'" she added.
 
Kopp and the Energy, a member of the Independent Women's Football League and play again Saturday in Pearland.
 
"Jessi's tough as nails," said head coach Brian Wiggins, a former wide receiver in the Canadian Football League. "The epitome of brains and brawn and beauty."
 
Jessi originally started playing for the Energy just to stay in shape. While there's no 'world championship' to be won playing women's football, she's thrilled to be wearing a helmet and shoulder pads.
"Sometimes when you're passionate about something, it just finds you."
 
Some video used in this story is provided by Jessi Kopp.
 

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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