Airdrie’s all-girls football team plays its first game

“We’re the first tackle football team out of Airdrie so it’s nice to be part of history and watch the girls pave the way for someone else to follow next year.”

Airdrie sporting history was made on May 15, as the Airdrie Raiders women’s soccer team took to the field for their inaugural game.

Although the final score didn’t end in favor of the Raiders, who lost 58-32 to the Calgary Wildcats at Shouldice Athletic Park, head coach Chris Glass said it was great for the women’s team. U17 to face another team in a competition. match-up, after practicing together for a few weeks.

“It was the very first [all-girls tackle football game] in Calgary history, and we were the first team in our division to play,” said Glass, who coaches the team alongside Gina Horwood, Parkey Ney and Trent Ney. “We’re the first tackle football team out of Airdrie so it’s nice to be part of history and watch the girls pave the way for someone else to follow next year.”

The new Calgary-based league was announced earlier this year, after gaining approval from Football Alberta and the Calgary Bantam Football Association. The four-team league includes teams from Airdrie, Calgary, Lacombe and Wetaskiwin, and is aimed at female high school athletes. Teams play a seven-on-seven format of tackle football on Sundays at Shouldice.

Glass said the Airdrie players brought a lot of energy to the opening snaps.

“They didn’t have the nerves I thought they would have,” he said, noting that the Airdrie players threw and ran well. “They were pretty ready to go. Once we had the first two games and started seeing success, it was good to see the reaction and how excited they were to play against someone else.

Although the Raiders’ roster includes a few girls who have played co-ed football at the bantam and peewee level before, Glass said having an all-girls team for local athletes who are interested in football is a great way to encourage girls take up sports as teenagers.

“It’s exciting to see a version of this sport tailor-made for them,” he said.

Early in the game on Sunday, a huge cheer went up after Raiders quarterback Grace Baron and wide receiver Zoe Lang teamed up to complete the first pass in fledgling league history.

“I thought it was pretty historic [and] Zoe ended up having a great game,” Glass said.

The Airdrie squad will take a break over the May long weekend before returning to the grill on May 29.

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