MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) - The State of Alabama is well known for its football, but right here in Mobile is a semi-pro women's basketball team, the Gulf Coast Tropics. The team is coached by Alfred Perkins and owned by his wife Emma Perkins. The Tropics play games and practice at LeFlore High School.
"With this program, we are trying to enhance the city with something different than men's sports," Perkins said. "We have a lot of men's sports around the city, but we only have a few female sports, and what this program gives some ladies is an outlet to go overseas or play in the WNBA."
"He's been coaching women's basketball for about 30 years," Emma Perkins explained. "And in 2008, he had the opportunity to start coaching the Gulf Coast Tropics, and then we decided later on we wanted to become one of the owners."
The Tropics roster is filled with local talent and players from all over the nation. Joanna Williams is a former South Alabama stand out and loves the opportunity to play here in Mobile.
"I enjoy learning and meeting new people," Williams said. "Pretty much the semi-pro team here is helps us, the unity, everyone is here together and here to help each other grow and become better players. We drive every other day all the way from Mississippi to practice - that has to say a lot about the team in itself because we travel the way we do - it's just working together as a team to make things happen."
While most of the women are looking to continue their basketball careers, some are just out for the love of the game.
"It's basically the passion and that's what a lot of girls miss out on these days," said former Jaguar Donyel Wheeler. "That's what a lot of girls basically don't have. It stems all the way to elementary on up."
The Tropics recently lost to the number one team in the nation, the Louisiana Bayou Angels, but are in second place in the Women Blue Chip Basketball League. The Tropics travel to play the Mississippi Storm this weekend in Biloxi, Miss.
For more information on the Tropics, as well as their upcoming game schedule, please visit www.wbcbl.com.
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