Woodroffe among the exciting new faces on Rage

Over the last two seasons, the Calgary Rage has seen a share of new faces don its team colors. Among the new generation of enthusiastic women gracing the gridiron, the result was an exciting 2015 campaign that saw the Rage appear in the Western Conference championship game.

With a willingness to learn and an eagerness to contribute, Shae-Lyn Woodroffe demonstrated that the future of female football in Alberta is bright. Despite only being 5’1”, Woodroffe possessed a gigantic determination to succeed. As a side note, former Team Atlantic player and MWFL All-Star Emily Armsworthy is also 5’1”, yet her elite play at the cornerback position established her as a fan
favorite.

In addition to her love of the gridiron game, Woodroffe is an exceptionally talented ballet dancer who has extended her love of performing into the acting realm. Recently, she enjoyed her first runway experience at a fashion event in Calgary called Circus of the Strangely Beautiful.

Woodroffe displaying her ballet skills (Image from You Come First Modelling)

Woodroffe displaying her ballet skills (Image from You Come First Modelling)

Having spent her off-season engaging in acting classes at the Gulf Islands Films and Television School, she was recently nominated for her performance in a short film called SIRIal Killer at The Joey Awards, a Vancouver film festival. Such ambition is akin to former Rage player (and Team Canada alum) Kora-Lea Vidal, who recently relocated to Los Angeles, where is pursuing an acting career.

“I have been dancing since the age of two and that is really the only other sport that I have participated in, asides from a little bit of basketball. I had always loved watching Stampeders games with my mom and dad. I also would race outside during the lunch hour everyday in junior high school to throw a football around with the guys.”

Having played with the Broncos midget football in Calgary, she would also compete at the high school level against boys. When she was given the chance to compete at the high school level, it would prove to be the breakthrough moment in her athletic career,

“I just enjoyed it so much but never thought I would be able to play, until one of the most inspiring people in my life (my high school football coach) told me I could play on the senior boys’ football team. The day coach Fraser believed in me and told me that I could be a team member changed my life forever.”

As the youngest player on the Rage roster in 2015, Shae-Lyn Woodroffe brought an infectious enthusiasm that brought a feeling of renewal among the members of the roster. Gracing the cover of the Rage’s program for its season opener against Edmonton, it represented a special milestone for Woodroffe.

In addition, the game provided her with a new exposure to the game. Not only did she contribute to a victory against their division rivals, but she gained more playing time than she ever had at the high school level, resulting in a great source of motivation.

“It was almost like any other football game I had played during high school and Midget football. Then once the game was in full force, it was so exciting and new because I was on the field every single defensive play, which was something I was not used to while playing with the boys.”

Throughout the season, Woodroffe’s confidence only grew, as she relished the opportunity to be part of such a remarkable sporting movement for women in Western Canada. She would quickly learn that one of the unique aspects of the sport is the range of ages that comprise the players on the roster. Akin to the rebirth of women’s ice hockey during the 1970s and 1980s, it was not uncommon for players to have teammates that may be in the same age range as their mother.

Woodroffe would quickly tap into the wisdom of the older players. Not only did it bring improvement to the quality of her game, she found new friends in the process. Such inspiration was found in a group of veteran players that consisted of Team Canada alum Erin Walton and Whitney Issik (whose father once played for legendary coach Don Coryell). Along with former Rage player Connie Fekete, who made the transition to coaching, it would lay the groundwork for an exciting transition to the highest level of female football in Western Canada, hoping to emulate her new heroes.

Woodroffe (left, wearing #4) consulting #44 Whitney Issik during game action (Image obtained from Facebook)

Woodroffe (left, wearing #4) consulting #44 Whitney Issik during game action (Image obtained from Facebook)

“Myself being the youngest on the team, I looked up to all the ladies on the Rage. They are all incredible athletes and such strong women. I really look up to Erin Walton because she is so experienced and knows just what to say before and after a game. She also helped me one on one with training and that was really special to me. I also looked up to Connie, my enthusiastic and awesome DB coach. I am so thankful to have someone so awesome to know and train with.

Another lady on the team I admire is Whitney. She is the oldest on the team, and we share the same position and I thought it was really interesting to see the age gap between us. I am inspired by her because she is so wise and I love the amount of strength and stamina she holds. I hope to grow up and have the qualities these three kick ass ladies have.”

Woodroffe’s determination was highly symbolic of the Rage’s ambitions in 2015. Although the Rage did not capture the Western Conference crown, the club enjoyed a solid season, confidence for a promising 2016 to come. During her inaugural campaign of WWCFL football, Woodroffe reflects on two memorable moments. From her introduction to the obligatory pat on the bottom, to a football follies worthy blooper-reel highlight, it was part of a season that shall provide her with the confidence and empowerment to follow her dreams, on and off the field.

“There was this one time when I made a play at the beginning of the season during practice and our talented quarterback slapped my butt right after the play. I thought it was so funny because my previous football experience was only with boys and if one of them were to do that to me they know they would be in trouble!

Another moment that I remember quite well was during kickoff. I made a tackle and her elbow got stuck in the visor of my helmet. I had to remove my helmet so she could wiggle her elbow out. It was so weird because something like that had never happened to me and man did she ever have a nice bruise after that!”

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”

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