For the first time, a tackle football league for girls and women is up and running in Ontario. It launched this spring with six teams in a U19 division and three in the U16. "As soon as I started it, I loved it," said London WOLFPAAC U19 team captain Jessica Knight, 15, who also plays high school rugby and flag football, the contact-free version of the sport. (WOLFPAAC stands for World of Ladies Football, Amateur Athletic Combine). "I knew I wanted to be part of a tackle team." The Ontario Women's Football League launched this spring with two divisions.
In the most senior division, U19, there are six teams: London WOLFPAAC, Peel Region Panthers, Kingston Sharks, Cumberland Panthers, Gatineau Valkyries and Guelph Jr.
Gryphons. Jessica, who plays on both the defensive and offensive lines, scored two touchdowns in the WOLFPAAC's season opener earlier this month, to beat the Peel Region Panthers 25-7. "I'm fully loving the contact," she said.
The problem until now has been that if a girl wanted to play tackle football, she'd have to play with the boys. "I know a lot of girls who wanted to play but didn't want to play with guys," said Jessica. "The boys are either afraid to hit them when they play or they go a little overboard to try and make a point that they really don't belong," said WOLFPAAC president and coach, Scott Knight, who is also Jessica's father. Watch the WOLFPAAC take on the Peel Region Panthers: "It's not really a playground sport for girls so they really don't get a lot of opportunity to develop those skills early," Scott Knight said. "This is a chance for them to step aside and do it without the guys looking over their shoulder." And the girls play the game differently then the guys, said Jessica. "WeRead more on cbc.ca
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