A women’s football team in southern Alberta is excited about kicking off a new season in an expanded league.
The Lethbridge Steel are preparing for their second season in a league that has teams in Edmonton and Calgary along with new ones in Regina, Saskatoon and Winnipeg.
“One of the greatest successes of last season was starting a football team with a group of athletes, most of whom were strangers, and playing so well as a team and learning how to play tackle football in a very short time-span,” Steel president Rebecca Medel said.
The Steel played its first season last year, earning a playoff spot with a roster of players with little previous tackle football experience.
“We all had a great time last year,” coach Blair Takahashi said. “We will continue to improve and get stronger.”
Coach Kyle Hussey agreed.
“Taking a group of women who have never played football and making it into the league finals,” was a great start, Hussey said.
Takahashi said the women worked hard as a team, developed football skills and made lasting friendships.
The focus this year will be to continue skill development and improve on execution of plays.
“We’re excited about improving and having fun working hard,” Takahashi said.
The Steel started training earlier this month, with 12 veterans and 11 newcomers turning out for the initial practice at the Lethbridge Soccer Centre.
It is anticipated as many as 20 of last year’s 25 players could return for the 2011 season, but more players are needed.
“We need girls who want to be physical,” Hussey said. “Overall, the Steel could use any kind of athlete.”
There is a particular need for women willing to block and tackle and play on the offensive and defensive lines.
“What I hope we improve on is learning each position better,” said Medel, who is also a player. “Last year it was both good and bad for most of the team to have to play both offence and defence. Good because we got to learn to play from both sides of the field, bad because it tired us out and there was too much moving around. It would be better if the girls could just focus on one or two positions instead of playing where they’re needed.”
In addition to players, the Steel is looking for people interested in coaching and working as trainers.
The Steel will practice Monday and Wednesday nights and Sunday afternoons in Coaldale.
“We were really happy about our overall performance last season,” Hussey said. “However we‘re also very excited to get the new season started, bring in new schemes and drills and work with some new faces.”
For information about practice times and locations contact Rebecca Medel at email@example.com.
The team’s Web site is www.lethbridgesteel.com.