the squad Photography: Abbey Drucker The same late-April weekend that the NFL holds its annual college draft, the Dolphins pick the women who will be the team’s cheerleaders for the upcoming season. Cheerleader director Emily Snow escorted our photographer Abbey Drucker into the locker room and onto the practice field to meet the girls who will spend the next four months training their bodies and their minds for the performance of their lives. 1 / 172 / 17Emily Snow: “We usually have five hundred people that apply, and between two and three hundred show up to addition. Once the girls make the team in April and May, they go through the workouts all summer long—and not everybody can hang. You have to be able to endure the training sessions. There are girls that give up.” 3 / 174 / 175 / 17“The kickline is a huge part of what we do—we do a lot of kicking in the summertime. It’s really hard to do it in go-go boots, to perform a dance on a heel." Pictured: Allison6 / 177 / 17The Dolphins’ policy is to identify cheerleaders by first name only.8 / 179 / 17“The conditioning is pretty intense. The girls run the stadiums stands, the stairs. I’ve got a couple of alumni cheerleaders who are now personal trainers—they will come in and talk about nutrition, what’s going to make you more successful.”10 / 1711 / 17“We don’t have a weight or size requirement. There’s not any measurement you have to hit. You just have to look good in the uniform – and the uniform is very demanding. It shows a lot of body and figure.”12 / 1713 / 1714 / 17“The beauty part is a lot of what we do—it’s not a place for ponytails. You have to do your hair and your makeup, and girls get better and better at that. When they make it on the team they blossom, because they get so good at becoming glamorous women.”15 / 17“Once we get started with the season, everything gets funneled into the performance."16 / 17"For the pre-game opening alone, before the game-clock has even started to tick, the girls have to literally dance from one side of the football field to the other."17 / 17 share this story If you liked this story consider purchasing Victory Journal 8 where it was first printed.