With plans to launch in 2015, the Central Canadian Women’s Football League holds the potential to make the game of female football one that is truly coast-to-coast. Based out of Nobleton, Ontario (located north of Toronto), the league is aiming for a four-team league in its inaugural season.
For its planned 2015 season, all franchises shall compete in the Greater Toronto Area, while a projected two to four expansion teams shall be added every year afterwards, with the goal of having a province-wide league. With the next IFAF Women’s World Football Championships taking place in 2017, it would be a tremendous triumph should the CCWFL manage to provide some players for the Canadian contingent.
Although the league has not yet announced any information on the franchises, let alone any coaches or potential managers, early partnerships have been arranged in the hopes of developing talent. Its most notable involves the Super Elite Football, which is sponsored by Under Armour. In 2013, SEF held camps in three provinces with over 1000 players participating.
While SEF has never held a female football camp before, it still holds the potential to serve as a measuring stick as to whether potential players have the ability or not. With due deference, there is no question that the concept of a female camp is a work in progress and will only improve with time. Taking into account that instructors feature CFL players and university coaches, it is the most fundamental learning tool available to women in Ontario to develop football skills.
For potential players intimidated by the concept of a camp, there is also the opportunity to engage the services of Toronto Argonauts wide receiver John Chiles. Offering one-on-one training for players looking to compete at the offensive positions of quarterback, running back and wide receiver, Chiles will assist in the instruction of technical skills, speed, agility and quickness.
An innovation that the CCWFL has introduced is its rookie status. Similar to NCAA Football teams redshirting players, the rookie status initiative is one where 16-17 year old players have the opportunity to get involved with their respective teams. Although they will not be permitted to play in any regular season or playoff contests, their designated rookie status would allow them to practice and train.
In theory, the CCWFL is a positive start in helping stimulate growth for the game in Canada’s largest region. Considering that Ontario has not been represented on the Canadian teams that captured silver at the 2010 and 2013 IFAF Worlds, such a trend cannot continue. With its population of over 10 million, Ontario certainly has elite talent that can one day contribute to a gold medal finish.
The goal of serving as the engine for growth of female football in Ontario is admirable. While there has been encouragement from the likes of Football Canada and Canadian leagues such as the MWFL and the WWCFL, this new league holds the potential to add a new dimension to female sport, creating with it new athletic heroes and the chance for many empowered women to become role models.
One of the great successes of female football in Canada is that it has allowed women of all ages, body types and backgrounds to transform their lives and experience the thrill of team sport. For other women who may have played competitive sports in the past, it helps add a new chapter to their athletic endeavors. Should the CCWFL be able to maintain this legacy, it shall certainly be a victory for the growth of female football in Canada.