Captains Profile: Stephanie Pascual

May 1, 2024

Julieann Challacombe

It was July 22, 2023. The blistering heat had nothing on the celebrations roaring on the field.

Tears streamed into smiles, coolers were dumped on coaches and teammates were leaping into hugs. The Boston Renegades had become champions once again.

Stephanie “PB” Pascual remembers it as both the day she won her fifth ring, and one of the hardest days of her life.

Unknown to many, along with the heat and the pressure to snag five-straight championships, Pascual was battling circumstances adjacent to Michael Jordan’s infamous “Flu Game.”

For days leading up to the championship, she was in very poor health, and wasn’t anywhere near 100% come gametime.

Though she hadn’t been in this situation before, the circumstances were nothing new to Pascual. She’d become all too familiar with the term underdog. Overcoming adversity is what she does best, in fact she invites it.

“I’ve always enjoyed being an underdog,” said Pascual. “It drives my passion to be the best that I can be.”

In the worst condition, she stood face to face with adversity and chose to fight.

Her body was overheated and achy. Her mind was fogged, but all she could focus on was the greater good for both her teammates and her sport.

2023’s championship game was the first ever nationally televised on ESPN2. It was a small drop in an ocean of progress, but it was a tremendous opportunity for Pascual and the Renegades to tell their story.

“I wanted to fight for my teammates and the sake of women’s football,” said Pascual. “I knew I couldn’t give up.”

Pascual took the field, and battled through more than a defensive line to capture eight receptions for 70-yards, the best offensive performance of the game for the Renegades.

As a captain, she said, the most important thing is to make sure the team upholds the Renegade standard. Get better everyday, show up and never let anyone outwork you.

Pascual upheld that standard as she fought through the championship and still upholds that standard everyday for her team. Just like her captains did when she was a zealous rookie.

Pascual joined the Renegades in 2017 on the opposite side of the field as a linebacker. At the time, the Renegades defense ran deep, leaving her to only participate in a handful of snaps the entire season.

Though her rookie season didn’t go exactly as she had hoped, she only remembers it as what shaped her into the player she is today, she said. She wouldn’t trade it back if she could.

“That season was humbling,” Pascual said. “Playing behind so many experienced and knowledgeable players helped me become a better teammate and leader.”

Coaches didn’t realize until she was scouting for the defense at practice that she has the natural ability to catch. Like a moth to a flame, when the ball comes her way it ends up in her hands. She hasn’t played a snap of defense since.

“When that opportunity came up I was able to rise to the occasion,” she said. “And I’ve never looked back.”

Her ability to lead and dedication to the team was quickly noticed, and in three short seasons she became captain of the Boston Renegades. A team-voted position that she still holds today.

Since transitioning to offense, Pascual has consistently performed as one of the top receivers of both the league and her team.

In the 2023 season, Pascual tallied 46 receptions for 527 yards and eight touchdowns over nine games. Including one touchdown in the 2023 championship that tied the game, and sent the Renegades on a scoring frenzy.

In true underdog fashion, Pascual keeps the memories but looks only towards the future. As one of only two returning captains from last season, Pascual plans to lead a young Renegades team to victory by instilling within them the mentality she’s held from the beginning.

When people doubt you, embrace it. When there’s a challenge, face it. The Renegades are a different team this year, she said, but we get to decide what that means.

“This is a different team but we still operate by the Renegade standard,” said Pascual. “That needs to be upheld no matter who is on the team.”

With the might of her teammates behind her, Pascual’s gaze is padlocked on a sixth championship, and she won’t let anyone get in their way. There are too many barriers to demolish, too much improvement to make and too many rings to win.

It won’t be long until Jordan will have to get like Pascual.