Sacramento Sirens Cheer Elite Squad gives back to community
Cheerleaders are known for their ability to pep up a crowd and cheer on a team, but one local cheer squad is more then just loud voices and pretty faces.
The Sacramento Sirens Cheer Elite (SSCE) is an organization that not only supports its community and cheers on the Sacramento Sirens, an all-female football team, but can also show off members’ talents and love for cheer.
Started seven years ago, coach and co-founder Misty Mastella was inspired to create the Sacramento Sirens Cheer Elite after seeing another cheerleading squad.
"I saw Cheer S.F. perform, and it motivated me to start my own squad here in Sacramento," explains Mastella.
With years of experience as a cheerleader and coach, Mastella aimed to create a squad that had a competitive cheer technique, but still maintained motivation and heart to help out the less fortunate.
The Sacramento Sirens Cheer Elite squad is part of the Pride Cheerleading Association (PCA), which "sets itself apart from traditional cheerleading through philanthropic efforts supporting people living with life-threatening challenges."
From cheering at the Sacramento Sirens’ home games, to taking its skills to the various Pride festivals and events throughout Northern California, the Sacramento Sirens Cheer Elite team strives to help its community.
Along with giving back, members also strive to have the best on their squad, and take pride in showing off their team’s skills.
Whether you’ve been cheering for years or have never thrown a toe touch or backhand spring, the Sirens Cheer squad is open to all those willing to learn.
Demetra DeVisscher, 25, who had never cheered before, decided to try out for the team because of a friend.
"I’ve always been interested in doing it, but never really had the opportunity," explains DeVisscher. "My best friend is an avid cheerleader and told me about how some people here have never cheered before, and it made me think that this may be something on my level."
That’s another part that makes this squad unique, its mixture of teammates who were either avid cheerleaders or had never cheered before in their life.
A great example of this would be coach Ray "Chowch" Cruz.
Going on his fifth year with the Sirens Cheer squad, Cruz wasn’t always a cheerleader.
"I was kind of thrown into it," explains Cruz. "Misty had asked me to help out one day and starting off I had never cheered before. I tried it, it was hard, but it was a pretty good workout and (I) got hooked on it."
The great thing about the squad’s coaches and teammates is their willingness and ability to help build skills for those who show potential, and also keep in mind the overall goal of the team.
The tryout process includes a sit-down interview with the two coaches and co-captain, to get a feel for the motives of those trying out.
"We are looking for the right attitude," explains Mastella about the interview process. "We want to see potential, but we don’t want someone who is only wanting to be on the team to compete."
After interviews, the tryout process began, and included learning a cheer, practicing several stunts and then putting it all together.
While the coaches looked at what skills those trying out already have, they also considered how quickly cheerleading candidates picked up the skills shown.
Current squad members were very friendly and helpful when showing cheerleading candidates what they could do to improve.
After going through several different stunts and learning a cheer, the real tryouts began when each individual demonstrated their ability to cheer, perform stunts, show jumps and tumbling, if they had the skills.
As the tryout process lasted over three hours, all cheer candidates had a good sense of what to expect if they made the team.
Jenna Schook, 25, is already a member of the squad, and has been with it for almost a year.
"I like to help people and give back to the community," explains Schook. "The main reason I decided to go with the Sirens instead of an adult open league is because we give back and we are so involved in fundraising."
There is something special about this team. Willingly sharing talents and skills with their community, the Sacramento Sirens Cheer Elite squad offers more than the average competitive cheer squad.
Disclosure: Anyone interested in trying out, The Sacramento Sirens Cheer Elite squad will be holding their third and last tryout session before the start of their season. Tryouts will be held September 19th at 7pm at the Royal All Stars Gym.