Preparation key ingredient for success

Team New Brunswick squad making early preparations for 2017 IFAF Women’s World Championship

On the surface, it would appear that there is an abundance of time when looking towards the 2017 IFAF Women’s World Championships. In reality, preparations are already under way by some to assess talent and prepare to succeed. One such province leading the way is New Brunswick, one of Canada’s hotbeds for women’s football.

With the province having featured three clubs in MWFL play, along with a very strong developmental league for teenagers, they are poised for a remarkable pool of talent to choose from. In addition, it is essential to provide the MWFL with a new generation of talent and ensure that its existing franchise players become even stronger contributors.

New Brunswick football legend Larry Harlow is bringing his strong leadership skills in the efforts to assemble a strong roster that can establish itself as an elite football power for the next challenge. Having served as Team Canada’s head coach at the inaugural WWFC in 2010, Harlow’s expertise is the key towards a strong foundation.

“As with every league, there is a cycle of players. In the Maritimes we are finishing the cycle, which means a lot of experienced players are leaving and we are rebuilding. So we started last December (2014) to try and get a read on where we are and what we need to accomplish.

With the cycle for Team Canada 2017 underway, a key means of preparation is establishing a strong provincial team. A key recruiting aspect for Team Canada 2014 involved the inaugural 2012 Canadian Women’s National Championship, in which provincial teams competed against each other.”

Taking into account that development camps have already begun this year, the process is one that is being taken seriously. An added benefit is that said camps help to not only assess talent, but it works hand in hand with the launch of the 2015 MWFL season, allowing players a chance to utilize their newfound knowledge in actual game play. This will also be a significant preparation for the next Canadian Women’s National Championship, taking place in August 2015.

“We have built a different structure this time around for players and coaches through Football New Brunswick for selection. The players will go through a series of development camps (in) January, February and March.

Then, we start the MWFL season with their home clubs. We will meet on the long weekend in May for a selection camp and possibly an exhibition game. Afterwards, they will return to finish season and start team camps July 4th.

We have built in training and nutrition programs for players as well as several fundraising opportunities to help players offset costs.”

Another element that helps make Harlow and Team New Brunswick so much better prepared is experience. While the female game continues to evolve not just in the Maritimes, but in all of Canada, part of the growth involves learning from past events to ensure that continuous improvement contributes to a better overall product.


“Our goals were to build a complete program not only for the players but for the coaches also. We went out and searched out some coaches to put the very best leading the players to success.

All coaches are upgrading their NCCP training as well. We have added HUDL for team sessions to fill the void between camps and practices. In comparison, back in 2012, we started in July one month before the tournament.”

A great point of pride for Harlow is the fact that there are some exceptionally talented individuals that are involved in the cycle, setting the right example for the novice and perhaps less experienced players. Although many of the veteran players may still be in their twenties, their role as leaders is one that Harlow acknowledges,

“We have a handful of players who were with us in 2012 when we finished third. I look to players to lead their squads like Alex Black (two-time Team Canada player), Trina Graves (two-time Team Canada player), Kris Chatterton, Melissa Daley, Kara Fillmore and Ashley Clements (all Team Canada alumnae). Then, there are a bunch of players who need to step up and play big.

It is always hard to get a handle on the team goal as some players want to be there for the opportunity to get a try out for Team Canada, but may not play the same position. Others are there to go for a National Championship and some just to play.”

While some of those players may just be grateful for the chance to compete at such a high level, getting a chance to break barriers, there is no question that preparation sets a standard that others may hope to emulate. To be able to prepare effectively has emerged as testament to Harlow’s strong leadership, and one that should bear winning fruit in the near future,

“What makes it even more difficult is after five years, there still is not a clear process for selection by Football Canada and therefore it is difficult to prepare your players. So we are preparing for what we think will best help all our players be ready for competitive football and be successful.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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