Christina Marie Lopez named Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association president

Fri. April 12, 2024 5:28 PM by Ross Forman

christina marie lopez

photo credit // provided

CMSA Member Appreciation Party, April 13

Christina Marie Lopez, a California native who has lived in Chicago and played multiple gay flag football leagues over the past few years, was named the new president of the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association (CMSA), replacing Nancy Hitt.

Lopez, 31, who lives in the city’s Kenwood neighborhood and hails from San Jose, Calif., plays flag football for CMSA’s open division, women’s+ and on travel teams.

And she is a Chicago Bears fan, despite a relative newcomer to the Windy City.

“Football is my favorite sport to watch,” Lopez said. “Even though I’m from San Jose, my dad became a Bears fan during their prime so I was born into the Bears fandom with baby photos to prove it.

“I’m also obsessed with the U.S. Women’s National (Soccer) Team. They are my (all-time favorite) team since I played soccer growing up and respect the women’s soccer game over any other sport.”

She will celebrate three years living in Chicago this July.

“I was so excited to move to Chicago and claim the Red Stars as my NWSL team since, at the time, San Jose didn’t have a team,” Lopez said. “But now they have Bay FC, so I’ll also be rooting for them this year in their inaugural season.”

Lopez started playing soccer at age 8 and moved into flag football as an adult.

“I started playing in San Francisco’s queer femme league in 2020, but due to the pandemic I only played three games,” she said. “So really, I started consistently playing in the fall of 2021 with CMSA. At the time, I was still learning the rules and positions.”

She played on a first-place team in her first year in CMSA’s Open Flag Football League, Recreational Division. And in her last season of Open Flag Football, Competitive Division, she won her team’s Spirit Award. “If you’ve ever played with or against me, you won’t miss hearing my voice,” she said.

“CMSA is my home and family here in Chicago. Moving here after the pandemic in July 2021 and recently out in all areas of my life, I was searching for a queer space that intersected with my interests and passions, sports. I spend time with my teammates and now friends not only at sports practices, socials, and games but outside of it through our flourished connections. My best friends and community have come from CMSA sports.”

Lopez played flag football locally at Warren Park and now at Montrose Fields/Cricket Hill.

“I remember the dedication from the league (when I first joined), as it was my first Chicago winter coming from California,” she said. “I was impressed by the grit and commitment of (the league) playing in late October and early November when the fields were frozen. We were committed and competitive, which was totally up my alley. Plus, I was lucky enough to be on Diesel Daisies with my quarterback and captains creating a welcome environment by encouraging post-game (get-togethers) and team outings.”

She’s proud to carry her passion for CMSA into the presidency position.

“It’s an absolute honor to be appointed into the role as I believe my presence and perspective is seriously needed as we expand our women’s+ divisions and focus on equity across the league,” Lopez said. “This comes in most immediate forms of gender diversity, equity and inclusion, while the long-term goal of providing leagues outside of the northside neighborhood and expanding in the west and Southside of Chicago.

“I take it very seriously (as the CMSA president), as we oversee so much more than just the leagues operating but finding ways to enhance the experience and engagement across all sports.”

Lopez brings a true appreciation and passion for CMSA to the position.

“If you’re into astrology, you won’t be surprised to know I’m a Sagittarius and extremely passionate about everything I’m involved in,” said Lopez, who praised many longtime CMSA members for their help, guidance and friendship, including Michael Richardson, Codi Livingston, Nancy Hitt and Ron Alexander, among others.

“I’m happy to be a voice and vote on the board but would like to urge my fellow women and GNC members to apply for the 2024-2025 term as I cannot be the only one. My goal is to create space and encouragement for future women, trans or cis, and GNC folks to apply and use their voice at this level.

“There are thousands of members and over a dozen sports leagues with various divisions. But we’re in a transition point where we are seeing more and more engagement and expansion across sports and leagues, so I can’t wait to see what else we can accomplish this term.”

CMSA is adding pickleball this summer.

CMSA’s most popular sports are volleyball, flag football and softball.

CMSA also has excelled with its eSports League, added in 2021.

  • The CMSA Member Appreciation Party is back, as all current CMSA members are invited for free food and drinks, and more. The event is Saturday, April 13 at SPF Sports Facility, 2121 N. Clybourn Ave., in Chicago.