Hear It Roar – Folio 2.0 / EU Jacksonville

Jaguars cheerleaders do more than inspire fans

Their blue and white costumes shimmer on the lush green grass, and their movements are graceful yet powerful like jaguars. These women are so good at what they do that you might actually forget they’re just people doing what they love. While the Jaguars football team deserves the nod for the W, it’s time to grab your pom poms and cheer on the cheerleaders who make up The Roar, the Jaguars’ cheerleading squad.

The Roar cheerleading squad is full of empowering women, but they are more than that. And for some, being an NFL cheerleader is a dream. Belinda Pierre was a cheerleader for The Roar for six years while also working as a paralegal.

“My favorite thing about being a member of The Roar is fulfilling my lifelong dream of being an NFL cheerleader and being given the opportunity to be a part of the Jaguars organization that has connected me with the most amazing women,” said Pierre. “My teammates are an amazing group of women. We have teachers, lawyers, hairdressers, dance teachers, students and more.”

Before reaching the big leagues, Pierre began dancing and cheerleading at the age of six, and then continued to cheer competitively through middle school, high school and freshman year of college. It wasn’t until she became an NFL cheerleader, though, that she started thinking about a career as a cheerleader. And after six years with the team, her hard work and dedication paid off: this season, Pierre was chosen by her team as one of four cheerleading captains.

“At first I was completely shocked! I think every member of my team has what it takes to be a captain,” said Pierre. “I am honored that they have placed their trust in me.”

At the helm is Director of Branded Entertainment Christy S. Zynda, who also serves as The Roar’s cheer coach, a position that didn’t even exist before her. Since she herself was a member of The Roar from 1998 to 2000, she knows what it’s like to be in their shoes.

“Dancing and cheering have been a big part of my life for over 35 years. I started taking dance lessons in the second grade and I started cheerleading in the fourth grade,” said Zynda. She danced and cheered through elementary school, high school and college before becoming a member of The Roar.

As in any team, working together is key to success. But with The Roar, they work together on and off the field, working for the community throughout Northeast Florida. Each week, members of The Roar are in schools, inspiring students, helping schools achieve their goals, and running reading and fitness programs. The Roar also appears at charity events with the Jaguars Foundation and Community Impact, helping with food drives, soccer camp and more.

“The community events we participate in are at the heart of what we do,” Zynda said. “We are ambassadors for the Jaguars, the NFL and our city!”

One of Pierre’s favorite parts of the team is participating in the Junior Roar event. Each season, the team comes together to teach the junior cheerleaders a dance routine that they all perform together at a Jaguars game during halftime.

“It feels like a full-circle moment for me,” Pierre said. “As a child, I admired the cheerleaders more than anything and wanted to be like them. Now being on the other side as a Jaguars cheerleader and seeing the light in the eyes of the junior cheerleaders when they dance with us is amazing.”

Still, for all the heartwarming events the team does, nothing compares to game day. Even for Zynda, who has been with the team for 25 seasons, game days are one of her favorite experiences.

“It’s very exciting to see all the hard work come together and to see team members achieve their dreams,” said Zynda.

Cheering is like any sport; it requires hard work, discipline, teamwork and creativity. And just like in any sport, when game day comes, the cheerleading squad gives it their all. Regardless of where you are seated in the stadium or watching the game from home, one thing is for sure that you will hear The Roar of the Jaguars.

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