ASU's Spirit Squad prepares for football season home opener

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By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy
By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy
By Erin Kennedy By Erin Kennedy

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Before the Sun Devils hit the field at 7 p.m. Thursday for the football season home opener, fans can get pumped up with the help of the ASU Spirit Squad.

The Spirit Squad’s main job is to get everyone excited and ready for sports games.

“Today, game day No. 1 is what is going to set the standard for the rest of the football season. We need to go out there today and be perfect and get better every single time,” said Riley Blair, an ASU Spirit Squad captain.

April Hoffman is in her second season as ASU Spirit Squad coach. After attending ASU as a dance major, Hoffman danced for the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers.

“This is my dream job,” Hoffman said. “Obviously you reach a point as a dancer where you don’t necessarily dance anymore, so it is such a pleasure to work with such a talented group of girls that come from all over the country just to audition for this team.”

Hoffman takes video at practices and watches the footage in slow motion sometimes to help perfect routines.

“The Spirit Squad is so much more than just being a cheerleader on the sidelines at a football game or basketball game,” Blair said. “These girls really are my family and we spend so much time together. We invest so much time and energy and effort into what we do because we love it so much.”

The Spirit Squad will start getting fans ready for ASU’s home opener at the Devil Walk in front of Sun Devil Stadium at 4:30 p.m. Thursday.