The Michigan Panthers, who hold their home opener at Ford Field on April 30, announced their cheerleading squad for the 2023 season.

The Michigan Panthers, who hold their home opener at Ford Field on April 30, announced their cheerleading squad for the 2023 season.

Photo courtesy of Michigan Panthers

Michigan Panthers introduce cheerleaders for 2023 season

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Metro | Published April 12, 2023


METRO DETROIT — What took the Detroit Lions over 80 years to implement, the Michigan Panthers will have in their second year of the revived United States Football League.

As the Panthers prepare for their season opener in mid-April, and their first home game on April 30 at Ford Field, the team will be accompanied by their newly revealed cheerleading squad.

With over 75 dancers applying, the field was cut down to 25 as the dancers went through the final tryout at One Campus Martius on March 13.

“I thought it was very comfortable, and I loved being able to meet other people,” Panthers dancer Abby S. said. “It was a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Panthers Director of Cheerleading Jenna Lanzetta said she and the judges were looking for 15-16 ladies to complete the squad, but were blown away by the talent.

Now, 19 ladies from all across the state will represent the Panthers’ colors in the 2023 season.

It’s a far cry from the 600 dancers that auditioned for the Panthers cheerleading team in 1983, which was narrowed down to 35, but Lanzetta and the judges made sure the 19 dancers possessed certain traits.

“We were looking for the full package,” Lanzetta said. “Outside of dance, people who can be leaders inside and outside the field and ambassadors for not just the USFL and the Panthers, but the city of Detroit as a whole. Dance wise, just the most skilled and technical dancers out there.”

Lanzetta, a Western Michigan University graduate, previously cheered for the NBA’s Indiana Pacers and most recently the Detroit Lions from 2017-2021.

An Ann Arbor native and coach for Michigan State University’s elite competitive dance team, it’s a full-circle moment for the former Lions cheerleader as she pioneers the start of the Panthers cheerleading team that will play their home games at Ford Field.

“It’s exciting to be back,” Lanzetta said. “Ford Field is my home.”

Not only is it a homecoming for Lanzetta, but also Ferndale native Valerie P. as she makes her way back to Ford Field.

A Detroit Pistons dancer from 2006-2009 and a Lions cheerleader from 2015-2018, the self-proclaimed “Tom Brady of dance” due to her in-and-out of retirement decisions has come out of retirement for the second time in her career to cheer for the Panthers.

Teammates with Lanzetta on the Lions cheerleading team, Valerie said she couldn’t pass up an opportunity to be a part of something special.

“This is such a great opportunity,” Valerie said. “Especially being teammates with Jenna (Lanzetta), this is just something I wanted to help support her with.”

The Panthers will open the season on April 16 against the Houston Gamblers but will host the New Jersey Generals in their home opener on April 30 at Ford Field.

Ford Field is set to host nine games this season between the Panthers and the Philadelphia Stars, who will also call Ford Field home this season, and tickets start at $25 at

As the Panthers cheerleaders get ready to bring a new wave of game-day experiences in Panthers history, they will also look to make an impact in the community as well.

“The more that we’re out there in the community and there on game days cheering with fans, we’re going to get a lot more recognition,” Lanzetta said.

The Panthers introduced the following cheerleaders this season:

McKayla M. (Almont), Journee C. (Detroit), Alison F. (Northville), Taylor A. (Howell), McKenna M. (Waterford), Abby S. (Shelby Township), Zada K. (Redford), Ericka D. (Plymouth), Kassondra T. (Warren), Valerie P. (Warren), Abby O. (Waterford), Mikayla S. (Grosse Pointe Park), Grace H. (Farmington), Morgan M. (Rochester Hills), Julia K. (Highland), Marlayna R. (Sterling Heights), Skylar M. (Waterford), Alexis (Flushing), Director Jenna (Belleville), Assistant Brittany (Farmington).