Amanda Ruller reaches remarkable stature as member of Team Canada

Possessing breathtaking speed, Amanda Ruller has established herself as an impact player on the gridiron. This impact was certainly evident as a member of Canada’s contingent at the 2017 IFAF Women’s Worlds in Vancouver.

Raised in Regina, Saskatchewan, Ruller is part of a sensational legacy of fantastic football heroes from the football mad province. Undoubtedly, Ruller’s contributions to the Team Canada experience are helping to usher in a new era of strong female role models, helping to challenge social convention with an event in Vancouver that is destined to be pioneering.

Warming up with Team Canada prior to a game at the 2017 IFAF Women’s Worlds (Credit: Diz Ruptive Photography)

Among Ruller’s greatest qualities is an astonishing athletic versatility, enabling her to excel in any athletic situation. A former track and field sensation with the University of Regina Cougars, recognized twice as the university’s female athlete of the week during January 2011, she was a nationally ranked sprinter in the 60-meter dash, highlighted by gold at the 2009 Canada West Finals, along with gold medals at the 2011 Golden Bear Open and a program record in the 4 x 200 meter relay at the 2011 Bison Classic.

Having also played varsity soccer at the university level, the multi-talented Ruller quickly establishing herself as one of Team Canada’s fastest competitors, emerging as one of the roster’s feel-good stories. Bringing fast footwork, an ability to accelerate, along with her trademark lighting fast speed, Ruller also gained a reputation as one of the fastest women among all of the participants at the IFAF Worlds.

Originally named to the national team roster as a member of the reserves, Ruller’s presence would prove to be highly strategic. Summoned to the roster a few weeks before opening kickoff, the chance to get the call was one filled with euphoric jubilation, proud to experience the milestone of being part of an historically relevant moment for female sport in Canada.

“My reaction when I found out I was named to Team Canada I was overwhelmed with joy. It is a great accomplishment being able to play in any sport for your country let alone football.

Football is something that you don’t see women playing every day and for me being able to showcase my football skills on the world stage is a huge stepping stone in history for women’s football.”

While Ruller’s giridron journey has also involved multiple seasons of competition in the United States, ranging from Atlanta to Los Angeles, earning an All-Star selection in the aftermath of one season, the chance to represent Canada on home soil evoked strong feelings of national pride. Validating years of sweat and sacrifice, Ruller’s enormous passion for the game reached its apex with such a cherished chance. Once she wore Canada’s jersey, it was the realization of a dream come true, a pillar of achievement that placed her in unprecedented heights,

“I was overwhelmed with emotion when I first put on the team Canada jersey. I was happy that I was able to play a sport that I love for my country. I also knew how much hard work and dedication I had put up to this moment. And then stepping out on the field with that jersey was a whole other experience.”

As this was the first-ever IFAF Women’s Worlds contested in Canada, the chance to be part of such an event also allowed Ruller to pay tribute to her late father. Sharing a fond appreciation for the Saskatchewan Roughriders, one of the signature teams in the Canadian Football League, the chance to attend games with her father represented some of the sporting highlights of Ruller’s youth, a heartfelt portrait of what the game has meant to her throughout her life.

Such a poignant time always fueled Ruller’s love of athletic competition, setting the stage for her own football glories. Although her father lost his own battle with cancer several years ago, he always remained a source of inspiration, eternally holding a special place in her heart.

Despite the heartbreak of not being able to experience such an athletic pinnacle with her father in attendance resulted in an understandable heightened sense of sorrow, Ruller remained stoic, finding solace in a spiritual presence. Putting forth a series of solid efforts, she embodied an admirable character that not only established her as a role model; it would have certainly made her father proud.

Providing a sense of comfort was her inspiring mother. Undoubtedly, her biggest fan, Ruller’s mother has also traveled to the United States to see her daughter compete. Part of a bigger group of supportive fans from Saskatchewan, such adoration is one of those elements that help to define a tournament, subsequently supplying memories that shall endure beyond the final roar from the crowd.

“Being able to look up in the stands and seeing my family there watching me play for Team Canada in the gold-medal game was emotional. I got into football because my father would take me to Riders Game growing up. But he unfortunately passed a few years ago from brain cancer so he wasn’t there to see me play.

That emotion hit me that he was not there as I stepped on the field. But just knowing my mom was in the stands to watch me and that he was there in spirit gave me comfort and I was ready to play.”

Ruller’s competitive drive supplied a reassuring presence for the defensive backfield, while her speed instilled great confidence in the team’s pass defense. While the chance to play on the game’s biggest stage signified the potential of Ruller to reach for greater heights, the joy of participating in such an event was not highlighted by any individual achievement.

Instead, Ruller displays her team-first approach, testament to her humility and devotion. As proud as she was to don Canada’s helmet, it was the chance to share in this experience with so many empowering and dedicated athletes from throughout the country.

“My favourite experience of the tournament was being able to play alongside such talented women athletes. Every single woman on my team had an incredible work ethic and talent.

It was amazing to see all these ladies come together and showcase amazing athleticism on this field. I enjoyed just representing my country on a world stage. The athletes and coaches were amazing and I learned so much throughout this tournament and I will now be a better player for it.”

Still in her prime, Ruller is a sparkplug poised for superstardom. In addition to speed and an empowering self-confidence, her reliable play will contribute towards many more gridiron glories in the years to come.

A jubilant Ruller proudly displays her silver medal from the 2017 IFAF Women’s Worlds (Image obtained from Facebook)

Among all the hallmarks of being part of such a memorable time, Ruller is proud to know that she was part of Canada’s athletic narrative during a year which saw the nation celebrate its sesquicentennial. As the gold medal game took place before Canada Day, the chance to don the Canadian jersey in Vancouver simultaneously represented a compelling chapter in female football, while allowing Ruller and her fellow teammates a chance to revel in national pride, proudly contributing to the legacy of #Canada150.

“I was honoured to be able to represent my country on such an historic event such as Canada 150. What an amazing time to represent my country and Saskatchewan at this moment. I was able to come home and showcase my silver metal from the tournament to my friends and family on Canada Day

They are very happy and overjoyed with emotion. I had people telling me I was there inspiration. And that makes me feel successful and proud to be Canadian.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply