Taylor’s Story: At the Bank and on the Gridiron

Headshot of a football player holding up two fingers with championship rings on them.

By Amanda Theisen Off Site Link

Sunrise Banks is a proud sponsor of the Minnesota Vixen, a full-tackle women's football team and member of the Women's Football Alliance. The Vixen. established in 1999, is the longest continually-operating women's football team in the U.S. They play their home games at Kuhlman Field in Edina. 

 Not only does Sunrise Banks sponsor the Vixen, but the company’s own Taylor Fox, Director of Bank Secrecy Act / BSA Officer, is a 6th year left tackle for the team. Here, she shares more about her experience playing for the Vixen.  

Q: How long you have been at Sunrise Banks? What do you do in your current role?

A: My current role is the Director of BSA / BSA Officer at Sunrise Banks. I’ll be celebrating my 7-year anniversary with the company in July. In my role, I oversee the three areas of our Bank Secrecy Act department (Monitoring Services, Fraud, and BSA). My teams are responsible for ensuring Sunrise Banks complies with BSA regulations, working to reduce fraud losses the bank incurs, and monitoring all Sunrise Banks accounts for unusual activity.

Q: How did you get involved in playing for the Minnesota Vixen? How long have you been with the team and what position do you play? 

A: I first learned about the Vixen through social media, and I decided to check out the team as a fan in 2018 since I had just missed the last tryout for the year. I tried out for the team in the fall of 2018 and was selected to be on the roster for the 2019 season. The 2024 season was my 6th year with the team (5th year of games, darn COVID!). I spent my first few seasons playing left guard on the offensive line but moved to left tackle during the last couple of seasons.

Q: Did you play football anywhere before joining the Vixen — whether it was during school, college, club team or just for fun? 

A: Aside from throwing a football around with my spouse for fun, I did not have any prior football experience. Unfortunately, it just never felt like an option I had available to me growing up. I grew up a Cornhusker and Chiefs fan, and watching football with my family was a common occurrence in my household. I became a Vikings fan when I moved to MN in 2009 because I apparently really enjoy heartbreak!

 Q: What have been some of your personal highlights while playing for the Vixen? 

A: I wasn’t much of a traveler prior to my time with the Vixen, and traveling to our away games has been such an enrichment to my life. In addition to the closer destinations, we’ve traveled to Los Angeles, Reno, Arlington TX, St. Louis, Canton, and Washington D.C. In terms of personal career accolades, I was the honorable mention for Offensive Rookie of the Year in 2019, received the “Trench Boss” award in 2023, and was a first team All American selection in 2023. As far as team accomplishments go, I’ve played in two Championship games at the Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio. In 2021, we were the first nationally streamed women’s football game on ESPN3, and in 2022, we had the honor of playing in the first nationally televised women’s football game on ESPN2.

Seeing how much the sport has grown throughout my time with the team has been incredible. In 2018, the championship games were played on a random high school field. We are currently in the middle of a 5-year deal with the Hall of Fame Stadium and get to play in an incredible NFL stadium, where each year’s winner gets a display in the NFL Hall of Fame. It’s absolutely wild, and it’s only going up from here!

Q: What has the support for the team, from your fan base, community, and sponsors like Sunrise Banks, been like?

A: Honestly, the support has been absolutely amazing. I know I’m a little biased, but the Vixen truly have one of the best game day experiences in all of women’s football. I’ve been to away games where there are maybe 100 people in the stands, and most of them are our own friends and family that traveled with us. Vixen games generally have a crowd of 500-1,000 people and it’s an absolutely electric and empowering environment!

Despite this being the highest level of competition in women’s football, we all pay to play. This includes both player fees to cover team expenses – such as dome time and stadium rentals – and all our own travel expenses. I am beyond fortunate to have the ongoing sponsorship of Sunrise Banks to help me focus on what’s important: playing football! Many of my teammates are not as fortunate. We do many team fundraisers so everyone, regardless of financial status, can get the opportunity to play the game they love.

Throughout my years with the team, the number of sponsors has gone up and the financial burden on players is slightly decreasing. Support of the team, both in terms of financial sponsorships and simply attending the games and buying merchandise is absolutely HUGE for us!

 Q: As a player, what do you enjoy most about being on the Vixen? 

A: Being a part of the Vixen organization is a lot more than just playing a sport. Our team is a massive family and support system. The most common reason we play is to make football more accessible for the future generations. We know we are not likely to ever get paid for what we do, but we do it so that those who come after us will. It’s all about building the sport up to create opportunities. The more young girls and non-binary athletes get to play football growing up, the more talent comes up through the pipeline and the more impressive the league becomes.

Most of us train 5-6 days a week, year-round. We spend countless hours watching film, taking care of our bodies, and putting in the physical work. It’s a huge commitment. We’re all grown adults working full-time jobs. Many of us have spouses or families. At the end of the day, it’s worth it when we get to meet our young fans who look at us like celebrities and say, ‘That’s going to be me someday!’”

Q: What else should people know about the Vixen, and how can they see the team in action?

A: There are approximately 60 teams in the WFA with four different tiers of competition (WFA Pro, D2, D3, Developmental). The Vixen competes in the WFA Pro, which consists of 14 teams. We’ve finished in the top three in each of the past four seasons. We finished the 2024 regular season with a 4-2 record and made the playoffs! Playoff games take place on June 29th, July 13th, and the championship in Canton on July 27th. The championship game will again air on ESPN2. Follow along to see if the Vixen can make another championship run!

In addition to being able to attend in person, all our games are streamed online. You can also like and share our team's social media posts. This helps us gain exposure to potential fans and is a fantastic way to support our team!

Amanda Theisen is the communications manager for Sunrise Banks.