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This article was published 22/6/2017 (946 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A group of Manitoban women is out to prove Canada is the home of the best female football players in the world.
The third edition of the IFAF Women’s World Football Championship kicks off this weekend at McLeod Stadium in Langley, B.C., with teams from Canada, the United States, Finland, Great Britain, Australia and Mexico taking part. The Canadian women enter the tournament as the second seed after losing the 2013 gold-medal match to the Americans 64-0.
"The Americans are obviously a threat. They live and breathe football, but I feel really confident in our team," said Alexa Matwyczuk, who plays on the defensive line. She is one of five Manitobans on the team.
"We want to perform well and execute our plays, and obviously we want to win the gold medal and close the deficit between us and the States."
Allyssa Buckland, Breanne Ward, Christine O’Donnell and Mubo Ilelaboye join Matwyczuk as the other Manitobans wearing the Maple Leaf on their helmets. O’Donnell and Matwyczuk are the only returning locals from the 2013 tournament.
"It’s great playing with people you know. We know what it’s like back home and know what we’re representing," said Matwyczuk, who played high school football at Sisler.
Despite a second-place finish at both the 2010 and 2013 events, Matwyczuk and her teammates aren’t overlooking their competition and assuming they will face the Americans in the final again.
They know the road to the final won’t be easy. Finland has won bronze at both tournaments and Australia is an up-and-coming team that has Jennifer Welter, the first woman to coach in the NFL, as their new head coach.
"It’s getting more and more competitive like guys football. There are big hits and great plays. It definitely has the calibre to be like guys football," Matwyczuk said.
The 2017 tackle football event will be the first time the world championship is played outside of Europe. It’s an exciting opportunity to hit the gridiron on Canadian soil in front of a home crowd, Matwyczuk said.
"We’re the hosts and we have to show them that it’s our house," she said.
firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @TaylorAllen31
Eighteen years old and still in high school, Taylor got his start with the Free Press on June 1, 2011. Well, sort of.
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