The Erie Illusion was a women's football team playing in the United States Women's Football League and they were based in Erie, Pennsylvania. Their team colors was orange and purple; the team played at Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium. Mary Butler was the owner and general manager of the franchise. Troy Allen was the Illusion's final head coach.
|League||United States Women's Football League|
|Team history||NWFA (2003-2008)|
United States Women's Football League(2015-2016)
|Based in||Erie, Pennsylvania|
|Stadium||Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium|
|Colors||Purple, orange, white|
|Head coach||Troy Allen|
They began playing in 2003 as a member of the National Women's Football Association, finishing the season with a 0-8 record. After bringing in a new coaching staff with significant collegiate playing experience, the team improved in 2004 and finished with a 1-7 overall record.
The 2005 season, under head coach Robert Beres, had been (prior to 2007) the Illusion's best season to date. The team finished with a respectable 3-5 record. In addition, all five losses in 2005 were to teams that qualified for the NWFA playoffs.
In 2006 the Illusion struggled to a 1-8 finish as they faced home and away contests against league powerhouses Pittsburgh Passion, Cleveland Fusion and the Columbus Comets.
In 2007, the Illusion schedule featured eight teams with comparable populations and market size to Erie. The Illusion rolled to a 7-1 record, including a 7-game winning streak to end the season and a defense that only allowed more than 8 points once the whole season (a 14-13 win over the Maine Freeze). The Illusion qualified for the playoffs but faced the eventual league champion Pittsburgh Passion in the opening round.
In 2008, the Illusion finished with a 4-4 season. The team easily defeated each team it played that shared a similar market and roster size but lost four games to teams with more sizable rosters and greater populations(populations of 1 to 2.5 million - compared to Erie's 150,000).
In 2009, the Illusion was granted membership to the Independent Women's Football League, arguably the most successful women's full-tackle league in the country. Based on team and market size, the Illusion was designated a Tier II team, competing against similar teams. To mark the transition, the Illusion adopted a new, modern logo.
In 14 seasons, the Illusion played at two stadiums - Erie Veteran's Memorial Stadium (2003 & 2004; 2011-2016) and Mercyhurst College (2005-2009). In 2009, the team played all but one of their games at Mercyhurst College. The Illusion's final home game in 2009 was played at Erie Veterans Memorial Stadium. Mercyhurst's Tullio Field was not available due to a scheduled replacement of the stadium turf.
Despite many obstacles, the Illusion has survived and thrived in Erie. In fact, the Illusion is Erie's second-longest surviving professional indoor, or outdoor semi- or professional football franchise, men or women's, in nearly 50 years (the only team with a longer existence was Erie Veterans, an independent men's outdoor team that played for over 30 years from the 1920s to the 1950s).
The Illusion concluded its 2009 season with a 3-5 record, despite playing against five teams that earned Tier II playoff spots, including the 2008 Tier II Champion - Montreal Blitz. The team's 2009 schedule also included a game against the former NWFA champion and powerhouse Detroit Demolition.
Following the 2009 regular season, Illusion coach James Reavis and four Illusion players were selected to participate in the IWFL's All-Star Game in Round Rock, Texas. Veterans Michelle Kephart, Corinne Schaeffer, Martha Swick, Brandy Polinick and Tracy Leet were named to the team. This marks the first time in seven seasons that any Illusion players were selected for league, post-season honors.
After the 2010 season, the Illusion announced they were joining the Women's Football Alliance.
|Erie Illusion (NWFA)|
|2003||0||8||0||5th Northern Mid-Atlantic||--|
|2004||1||7||0||4th Northern Mid-Atlantic||--|
|2006||1||7||0||4th Northern North Central||--|
|2007||7||2||0||2nd Northern Central||Lost Northern Conference Quarterfinals (Pittsburgh)|
|2008||4||4||0||3rd Northern Central||--|
|Erie Illusion (IWFL2)|
|2010||3||5||0||4th Eastern Northeast||--|
|Erie Illusion (WFA)|
|2011||3||6||0||4th National Mid-Atlantic||--|
|Erie Illusion (IWFL)|
|2012||4||4||0||3rd Eastern Mid-Atlantic||--|
|Erie Illusion (USWFL)|
|Erie Illusion roster|
|April 11||Jersey Justice||Home||Lost 6-8|
|April 18||Carolina Phoenix||Away||Lost 0-6|
|May 2||Central PA Vipers||Home||Won 61-8|
|May 23||Montreal Blitz||Away||Lost 10-41|
|May 30||Manchester Freedom||Away||Won 20-13|
|June 6||Detroit Demolition||Home||Lost 7-33|
|June 13||Jersey Justice||Away||Lost 16-36|
|June 20||Holyoke Hurricanes||Home||Won 2-0**|
** = Won by forfeit
|April 3||Pittsburgh Passion||Home||Lost 0-32|
|April 10||Binghamton Tiger Cats||Home||Won 57-0|
|April 17||Binghamton Tiger Cats||Away||Won 55-0|
|April 24||Wisconsin Warriors||Away||Lost 0-19|
|May 1||Pittsburgh Passion||Away||Lost 2-40|
|May 8||Louisville Nightmare||Home||Won 47-8|
|May 22||New England Intensity||Home||Lost 8-28|
|June 5||New England Intensity||Away||Lost 20-27|
|April 9||Pittsburgh Passion||Home||Lost 14-56|
|April 16||Pittsburgh Force||Away||Won 20-8|
|April 30||Cleveland Fusion||Away||Lost 0-50|
|May 7||Columbus Comets||Home||Lost 7-36|
|May 14||Binghamton Tiger Cats||Home||Won 38-0|
|May 21||Cleveland Fusion||Home||Lost 0-50|
|June 4||Columbus Comets||Away||Lost 0-6**|
|June 11||Pittsburgh Force||Home||Won 20-0|
|June 18||Pittsburgh Passion||Away||Lost 7-47|
** = Forfeited
- Rozendaal, Neal. The Women's Football Encyclopedia. p. 194. ISBN 978-0-9970637-0-7.
- Rozendaal, Neal. "The Women's Football Encyclopedia - 2016 Addendum" (PDF). nealrozendaal.com. Retrieved 22 January 2017.