They play by the same rules as their male counterparts — and tackle just as hard. Watching from the stands, it looked like just another football game.
The Edmonton Storm, a women’s competitive football team, made their home opening debut on Saturday at Clarke Field, crushing the visiting Grand Prairie Anarchy by a score of 56-14.
The Storm are part of the Western Women’s Canadian Football League. The all-female league is in its third season, but has grown substantially since it first formed in 2011. Today, there are eight teams in the league, with four of them scattered across Alberta.
The league’s motto? “Breaking stereotypes one yard, one tackle, one touchdown at a time.”
Aria McGowan, the Storm’s quarterback, was happy with the team’s performance on Saturday.
“The team came together well. They focused, they listened and they were amazing,” said McGowan. “Some of the hits are harder than some of the men I’ve seen. The girls are aggressive. They deserve to play this game just like everybody else.”
But you don’t have to be a football expert to play the sport. In fact, you don’t even have to have a sports background. The team stresses that anyone and everyone is welcome to come out and play.
“We have people who have never seen the sport, never played any type of sport before and then we have others who have watched the CFL their whole life, or played rugby,” said running back Lindsay Ertman. “We even have dancers. You can play anything. Just come out, we have a position for you.”
The Storm currently boast a 2-0 record.
“We’re one of the football teams in the city that actually win our games,” said linebacker Tanya Henderson.
“No hard feelings,” she adds with a laugh. “But it’s true.”
The Storm will return to Clarke Field on May 31.