Canada

Edmonton’s all-female tackle football division expands with a new team

A new football team in Edmonton is looking to make some serious strides on the field this season. The team is called the Edmonton Seahawks and it’s made up of an all-female roster.

“[The team is part of] The U16 U19 Capital District Minor Football girls program, this [gathering] is a combine for girls to come out and see what tackle football is all about and see if they’re interested to come out and play,” said Craig Baikie, the general manager of football operations.

Last year was the first time in the Capital District Minor Football Association’s history that an all-female division was put into play.

Now, after a successful season with just a handful of teams, the division is expanding with two divisions and the new Seahawks team.

The chance to play on an all-women tackle football team drew in crowds for an opportunity to learn and practice the game.

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“I’ve been a figure skater my whole life. One day I was in skating practice and my friend had said that she is playing football and suggested that I try it,” first-year player Ashley Oloske said.

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“I thought, Why not?’ So I decided to join.”

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Oloske was just one of many doing drills and soaking in the sport. While it may be her first year, other players from the program’s inaugural season were back on the field.

“I started last year, I was part of the first team, I was the quarterback… I lead the girls to a championship last year,” second-year player Emma Lesburg said.

Although women’s tackle football is not common, these players are hyped about the chance to get out on the field and make a few hits.

“I’ve always loved contact sports, I played handball a lot in junior high and high school,” said Lesburg. “I played rugby in Grade 10… but when I was able to play football it was something I was good at. It was rough but it was also very coordinated, and the tackling boosts your adrenaline and makes the game even better,” she said.

“I just really wanted to be able to give young girls the same opportunities that it’s brought me,” Tanya Walter, the technical director for the Capital District Minor Football Association said.

“To be able to grow more — because it’s a sport that’s sitting very much where hockey was for woman 20 to 30 years ago right now — so I’m hoping to grow [tackle football] into being normal and being popular and it being known,” Walter said.

The season starts in April and wraps up the first week of May. There are over 120-players and newcomers are welcome to join.

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