“It was extremely difficult to select this team because we had so many extraordinary women to pick from,” said Charger Girls Director Lisa Simmons. “We’ve never had this much talent at an audition, which made our decision that much more difficult. But ultimately, we’ve put together an incredible team.”
The audition process began on Sunday with over 300 candidates trying out. After a full day of dancing, the field was narrowed to 71, and the remaining girls conducted interviews with the judging panel throughout the week to gain a better sense of the hopefuls as individuals. Finally, on Thursday night the finalists had to perform two dances – the first a set choreographed routine and the second an individual free style one.
That was especially the case for newcomer Bridget. When her audition number 202 was announced, it was an emotional culmination of a lifelong dream.
“I feel like I’ve been holding my breath the last couple hours,” she said with a bright smile. “This has been an exciting experience and my adrenaline has been pumping. Hearing my number called was unreal. This whole process is surreal. I can’t believe this is happening. It hasn’t set in yet. I’m definitely calling my parents right away!”
Gabby is another rookie who will be new to the squad this year, and she had similar feelings to Bridget.
“This whole thing has been a blur and a dream,” she said. “I feel like I’m going to wake up any second and it will be Sunday morning and I still haven’t auditioned yet. I just can’t believe that I’m here right now and have the honor to represent the San Diego Chargers.”
If the two newcomers need advice on what life is like as a Charger Girl, they’d be wise to lean on Shelbi and Karissa. Both women were rookies in 2013 and are relishing the opportunity to be a seasoned veteran in 2014.
“I feel like I’m on top of the world,” said Shelbi. “I’m so, so excited and happy for everyone, and I want to be there for the girls who are new to the squad. I want them to know they need to embrace every moment because it happens so fast and is special. It feels like yesterday I joined the team as a rookie, so really it is important to take and appreciate every moment.”
“For me to go through this experience as a veteran feels even more special,” added Karissa. “I’m looking forward to showing the rookies the ropes. I want them to always be able to come to me on anything. I’ll be there all the time for them, so I want to step up into that role of being there for them anytime, anywhere.”