Unlocking superstar potential

WWFG experience empowers Dyck

Approaching the status of a superstar, Carly Dyck is among one of the new faces for the 2015 edition of the Saskatoon Valkyries. Committed to help the squad win its fifth consecutive Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL) championship, Dyck looked to sharpen her skills.

Part of the commitment involved her attendance at the second annual Women’s World Football Games (WWFG) in Tampa, Florida. Organized by USA Football, the event hosted women from over a dozen countries. Dyck was among a record number 15 Canadians in attendance,

“The main reason that I felt compelled to attend the WWFG was because my mom and my new teammates on the Valkyries continually encouraged me to go. I saw the trip as an opportunity to get to know some of the girls that I would be playing with, as I was extremely nervous for my first season with their team.”

Prior to signing with the Valkyries, Dyck had established herself as an integral component of the Lethbridge Steel’s roster. Having helped the Steel to a Western Conference postseason championship in 2013, Dyck brought great versatility to the gridiron. Testament to her athletic gifts was the fact that she kicked the longest field goal in Steel franchise history, a record that still stands.

“Leaving the Lethbridge Steel to join the Saskatoon Valkyries was tremendously intimidating for me, and the WWFG was an opportunity for me to improve before the Valkyries season kicked off, as well as a way for me to start feeling like part of the team here. Bonding with my teammates in Tampa was the perfect start to my assimilation into the Valkyries family.”

In getting the chance to meet some of the other Canadians involved with the WWFG, one particular encounter had all the makings of a Hollywood film for Dyck. Waiting in the Minneapolis airport for a connecting flight, she ran into a fellow WWCFL player whose experience stemmed from competing with a rival club of the Valkyries. A conversation turned into an improvised recruiting pitch, resulting in a new friend and another contribution to the Valkyries growing lore.

“The first other Canadian that I met was Phelycia Black, a former player for the Regina Riot. I was sitting in the Minneapolis airport by myself, eagerly waiting to join the rest of the Valkyries girls in Tampa.

I saw the Riot logo on her jacket so I went and sat with her while we waited for our next flight. I think I can take credit for convincing her to join the Valkyries this season, as she had already been released from the Riot.”

As the WWFG was a four-day event featuring an intrasquad game on the final day, a lot of time was devoted to drills and dissecting film. In the middle of such preparations, the vast majority of time was spent meeting other women that played the same position. Although this resulted in Dyck having minimal contact with Canadian players, the positive experience of football without borders was a common bond for all attendees, one that Dyck cherished,

“The majority of the time that I was at the WWFG I was with the other receivers, none of whom were from Canada, and therefore I did not associate too much with the other Canadian girls. My focus was on getting to know the receivers and being encouraged by them and my coaches. I spoke briefly with a few of the players and a coach from the Edmonton Storm, but not enough quality time to get to know them.”

Her return to the WWCFL gridiron in 2015 was certainly augmented by an empowering experience at the WWFG. In reflecting on what she enjoyed most about the Games, the assiduous efforts of her coaches helped her to unlock her potential.

“I had phenomenal receiver coaches who constantly pushed me to my limits and forced me to see my potential. My confidence was elevated even after I returned, which has played a huge role in my athletic performance back here in Saskatoon.

The coaches there were able to teach me skills and concepts that stepped up my game to the next level, skills that will hopefully make the difference between being a good player and being a great player. The WWFG is such an energy-filled environment, with talented and passionate football players, and new friends that I hope to have for a very long time.”

An energetic and ambitious athlete that represented a new acquisition for the Valkyries, Dyck has fit in remarkably well. In her debut with the green and white, an impressive 75-0 victory against the Winnipeg Wolf Pack, Dyck paid positive dividends for the team scoring a pair of touchdowns. Armed with positive energy and an even stronger determination, Dyck is ready to help the Valkyries reach the summit of five consecutive championships.

The most enjoyable part of the whole experience was definitely the bonds that were formed with the other Valkyries girls, as well as with a fellow receiver from the WWFG, Gabrielle O’Neil. These women are my family and my inspiration.”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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