The U18 Central Alberta Fire’s season officially began on Sunday.
As part of the four-team U18 Female Football League, the Fire kicked off their season at Setters Place in Red Deer with a series of jamboree-style games.
The Fire took on the Calgary Wildcats, Airdrie Raiders, and the Okotoks Eagles in exhibition play.
Elisha Torraville, who is the director of female football in Calgary, helped expand the league by adding Central Alberta and Okotoks in an effort to help more girls in the province play football.
Torraville said she worked with Red Deer Minor Football to make sure girls in the area could be included and on Sunday she was happy to see it all come together.
“It’s pretty incredible to see these young ladies take the field and show their talent,” she said.
“We’re always preaching to try something new as adults and so few of us actually do whereas there’s so many girls out here that have never played football before.
“They’re out there trying something new, getting hit, and hitting.”
The Central Alberta Fire was created to offer girls in the Red Deer area a chance to play in the summertime in an all-female league when they’re not playing high school football.
“Because there are so many rural communities around Red Deer, I think Red Deer’s going to take off like fire,” she said.
“I think that there are so many girls that are growing up in towns where there are no girls allowed on the field still and this gives them the outlet to play.
“There’s a lot of talented coaches and young ladies… Red Deer already in one season managed to put together an entire solid roster and they didn’t have much time to do it. I would not be surprised if Red Deer has two teams by next year.”
The roster of 15 includes Oenna Bradford, Jayden Galati, Kate Haldorson, Kiley Kerr, Kara Litzenberger, Rowan Macleod, Kierra Russell, Peyton Wiggins, Caydence Rawlins, Etta Dryden-Brown, Grace Watkinson, Lillian Watkinson, Olive Buchanan, Sawyer Shimek, and Chloe Brown.
The coaching staff is led by head coach Martin Rheaume followed by assistant coaches Dallas Haldorson, Leanne Coleman, Kimi Shackelton, Vic Sloboda, and Devon Mappin.
“More girls need to be in sports and I think football really helps. There’s a position for every body type and skill level. This game is so extraordinary because you build such camaraderie with the girls and I think female football brings that to a whole other level.”
The Fire will begin the regular season on May 14 against Airdrie at Setters Place. They play again at home on May 28 before playing a game in Lacombe at MEG Athletic Park on June 4. The first playoff game will be on June 11 and on June 18 before the gold medal game on June 25 in Calgary.