Footballs wanted: Western women's football team only has 6
The team is looking to update their equipment for the first time since they formed in 2011
There's a big machine behind the winning football team at Western University. The men's team, that is.
So what's behind the women's 50-member football team? A handful of ratty flags, a set of 15 cones and a sad-looking bag with six practice balls.
"And I'm not exaggerating. It's just six," said quarterback Olivia Ghosh-Swaby.
"And we were lucky enough to take on a few more balls because one of the guys saw us practicing out on the field, he's a kicking coach and he's like, 'Hey we have some junior footballs that you guys are welcome to have,' and we're like, 'yes, we'll take them!'"
The women's football program has been underway for eight years, but it has no funding from the university.
"I'm frustrated. Oh man, it's frustrating," said Ghosh-Swaby.
The team was born from the highly popular residence football league in 2011, which is when the team purchased its equipment.
According Ghosh-Swaby, that's the extent of the equipment they have today.
"Unfortunately, we are self-run, self-funded and we do everything on our own."
In fact, they set up a GoFundMe page in an effort to raise $800.
Women's team not varsity
The problem, said Ghosh-Swaby on London Morning, is that the team isn't formally recognized by Western University. Last year, the team scored a couple of sponsors, which has helped.
"We do our best to really have the girls pay out of pocket for their season, and then wherever the sponsors can help decrease that financial burden is where we get going."
NEXT: There are 46 sports teams representing <a href="https://twitter.com/WesternU?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@WesternU</a> but women's football isn't officially one of them. The team is raising money for balls and other equipment so players can keep playing. We'll speak to QB <a href="https://twitter.com/ogoshhsw?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ogoshhsw</a> at 740. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/westernu?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#westernu</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/ldnont?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#ldnont</a> <a href="https://t.co/04RXixgRPD">pic.twitter.com/04RXixgRPD</a>—@LondonMorning
The women's football program is a hybrid of tackle and flag football, and players compete against 13 other universities and colleges in three tournaments from January to March. The sport is not recognized by any school as a varsity sport.
"That's our goal. We're really trying to shoot there one day to have football for women really be recognized at a higher level within university programs."
It's all about status, said Ghosh-Swaby.
"So in order to move that one step up, we need ratification or recognition at the school level, then we could start exploring further options maybe at the OUA (Ontario University Athletics) level or some other governing body and then nationally. Those are big goals and a lot of red tape to get through, but we're working as much as we can."