Vancouver to host world’s finest as 2017 IFAF Women’s Championships adds to city’s sporting legacy

Having served as host city for some of the most prestigious sporting events, highlighted by its unforgettable role in shaping sporting Canadiana with the 2010 Winter Games, Metropolitan Vancouver is rumored of having been bestowed the honor of another world class event. Although there has been no official announcement, discussion has made the rounds on social media, which would be a watershed event for women’s football in Canada.

As anticipation builds for the 2017 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) Women’s World Championships, there is an increased feeling of momentum for Team Canada, as they shall gain the opportunity to grace the gridiron on home soil as Vancouver was recently revealed on social media as host city for the event. Prior editions of the Women’s Worlds (2010, 2013) were held in Europe, which would mark the upcoming 2017 tournament as the first to be hosted in North America.

Currently held as a quadrennial event, speculation is that the lower mainland on Langley, BC, which is part of the Metropolitan Vancouver district would serve as the site for Games. Tournament events would likely be contested at MacLeod Stadium. Current sports teams which compete in Langley include the Rams, a member of the Canadian Junior Football League along with the Vancouver Stealth of the National Lacrosse League and the Vancouver Giants of the Western Hockey League.

Although Vancouver does not have an existing franchise in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL) or in any other league, the presence of the Women’s Worlds may definitely set the stage for a possible expansion team to emerge in its aftermath. Undoubtedly, many WWCFL supporters should be on-hand for the 2017 Women’s Worlds as players from Alberta and Saskatchewan (which feature six teams in the budding league) are vying for spots on Team Canada. As a side note, Vancouver’s only previous exposure to women’s team football came when the BC Angels competed in the four-team Canadian division of Legends Football League play, which saw the Angels emerge as champions.

Considering that the United States and Canada captured the gold and silver medals in 2010 and 2013, a clash between the two for the gold once again in 2017 would not come as a surprise. With American city Seattle within earshot of Vancouver, home of the Seattle Majestics in the Women’s Football Alliance, there will likely be a significant amount of supporters from both sides of the border, proudly cheering for both nations on-hand as the quest for the gold medal unfolds in Vancouver.

The Pacific coast has proven to be a territory rich in elite football talent. In addition to the Majestics, the Portland Shockwave are among the most competitive teams in the WFA, having supplied talent to Team USA. Among the footballers to hail from British Columbia, Stevi Schnoor is one of its most competitive, having starred at the indoor level most notable with the Seattle Mist. Adding to the Pacific presence shall be the fact that Australia is making its debut in the event.

During the summer of 2016, Dr. Jen Welter, a member of Team USA’s gold medal teams in 2010 and 2013 made an appearance at Vancouver’s Andy Livingston Park as part of a tour of Canadian cities as an ambassador for NFL Canada’s Play 60 initiative, which seeks to encourage youngsters to be active for 60 minutes a day.

Another accomplished woman in football shall make her mark in Vancouver as the build-up to opening kickoff takes place. Saadia Ashraf, part of Canada’s roster in both 2010 and 2013 was named quarterbacks coach for Team Canada on December 16, 2016. Having once starred as a signal caller for the Montreal Blitz, she is one of three members of the Blitz that is part of Team Canada’s coaching staff including Pierre Migner as Defensive Coordinator and Charles Migner in a capacity as Defensive Backs coach. The only female on the staff of head coach Jeff Yausie, Ashraf becomes the first woman in the history of Team Canada to participate in the IFAF Worlds as a player and coach, which shall definitely one of the lasting legacies of the event.



Advocating for football prospects one story at a time.

Leave a Reply