The Lethbridge Steel played our first ever season in the spring/summer of 2010. We formed a league with Edmonton and Calgary called the Alberta Female Football League (AFFL)
In 2011, our league expanded to include four teams from Saskatchewan and Manitoba, creating the WWCFL, Western Women’s Canadian Football League. In 2013 two more teams were added to the Alberta Western conference: the Northern Anarchy (Grande Prairie) and the Lady Outlawz (Okotoks).
In 2012 and 2013 the Steel went 5-0 in regular season play and 4-1 in the 2014 season. The Steel went on to be the Western Conference Champions in all of those seasons. The Steel were defeated in the WWCFL championship games by the Saskatoon Valkyries.
In 2015 the Steel went 2-2 during the regular season which lead to a 3-way tie breaker that resulted in the Steel to miss the playoffs and league final for the first time program history.
Our team includes women ranging in age from 16 to 50(!) with a wide range of sports backgrounds from soccer and rugby to ringette and roller derby! We enjoy having fun during practices and on the field, but we are passionate about football and take the game seriously.
My name is Ellen Rae Soldier, my blackfoot name is saokipisatssaisskiiaaki which translates to Prairie Flower Girl. I am 30 years old, and a proud Blackfoot Ojibway woman. I was born in southern Manitoba and moved to southern Alberta in 1999. I grew up playing all kinds of sports, like hockey, softball, volleyball, track and field, figure skating, basketball, and soccer. I first tried football in 2013 and immediately fell in love with the game. I love the thrill of the game, and the feeling of being tackled. I find football has assisted me with my mental health as it is a way to relieve stress and aggression in a healthy safe manner. I have two children that are my world and my inspiration to be the best person that i can be, i want to be a parent they can be proud of. I am an educational assistant at Aahsaopi Elementary School on the Blood Reserve, and hope to be a positive role model for my people, as well as encouraging many women to try new things.
There are so many reasons why I play football. My biggest one is the challenge. I absolutely love learning new things and football definitely delivers. It is hands-down the most complex and intricate game I have ever played. I keep coming back practice after practice, game after game, for the people. It is unbelievable how dedicated and committed to the team our coaching staff is, you can really feel it in their enthusiasm for the game. This team of women is like no other I have ever experienced. The Steel is like having a second family, we have each other’s backs on and off the field.
Stepping out on the field for our first game was exhilarating! I’m pretty sure my adrenaline fuelled me for the entire game, it was such a rush! It was one of the best times in my entire life and I will never forget it.
I play football because of my love of sport, my love for the game, and my love for the people that play it with me. I have met so many amazing people playing this sport, and continue to meet more every year I play. I play because I’m part of the Steel family that helps me grow as a player and a person.
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