Lady Gladiators heroes Bosse and Neill lead the way in fundraising efforts for Team New Brunswick

With the common thread of having both suited up for the Capital Area Lady Gladiators, Stephanie Bosse and Robyn Neill are more than just gridiron heroes. Having both won the Judy Upward Trophy during the 2013 Maritime Women’s Football League season, Bosse and Neill are focused on the bright future ahead.

As the next edition of the IFAF Women’s World Championships looms quickly, the first rung in the ladder towards a berth with Team Canada is participation in the National Cup Challenge. With the event being held in the football hotbed of Saskatchewan, Bosse and Neill are making off-field efforts in the hopes of assisting Team New Brunswick.

Quite possibly the greatest offensive lineman in MWFL history, Neill was part of the Canadian contingent that earend the silver medal at the 2013 IFAF Women’s Worlds. In addition, she competed for Team Atlantic during the inaugural National Challenge Cup, back in 2012. This season, Neill shall not only be an offensive line coach for the Lady Gladiators, but she will be sharing her expertise with the New Brunswick squad in a similar capacity.

Bosse represents the new generation of stars making her mark on the fields of the MWFL. From earning an All-Star nod in 2012, Bosse has also attended the first two editions of the Women’s World Football Games (joined by Lady Glads teammate Alex Black), respectively. Establishing herself as a remarkable leader off the field, Bosse elaborates on her various initiatives, which also includes providing assistance for other elements of the game,

“I am also doing a practicum with Football NB and acting as the fundraising coordinator. I am currently working on the Women’s online auction which will take place shortly and am also preparing fundraising opportunities for the U18 boys’ team.

For the Lady Gladiators I am also the fundraising coordinator and am working on a fundraising barbecue at the Victory Meat Market.”

Together, the two are now assisting Football NB with a special fundraising event. News concerning the Social and Auction is shared through various methods, most notably via social media outlets such as facebook. Of note, the Social event is hosted by the Lady Gladiators trying out for Team New Brunswick.

Taking place on May 13, 2015, at the Blue Door club (located at 100 Regent Street in Fredericton), tickets are $40 per person, with the doors opening at 6pm. Wine and appetizers shall be served while attendees shall also gain the opportunity to meet two professional football players. Former CFL player Dan McCullough, along with player Jake Thomas shall be in attendance as a gesture of support.

Of note, those who cannot attend but would still like to contribute are encouraged to contact Bosse (more information on the facebook page). In addition, the Auction shall take place online and the event is geared towards helping to raise funds for Women’s Team New Brunswick.

“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”


Sarah Thomas breaks gender barrier to become the first female NFL referee

As the National Football League prepares for the 2015 season, an exciting announcement has resulted in a great day for sporting equality. After close to a decade of officiating at the collegiate level, Sarah Thomas has been hired by the NFL as an official.

In becoming the first woman to serve as official at the NFL level, it only adds to the growing momentum of women breaking barriers in football. Taking into account that this year, Dr. Jen Welter (a two-time gold medalist for the USA at the IFAF Women’s World Football Championships) became an assistant coach with the Texas Revolution, the accomplishment of Thomas makes 2015 a year to remember.

Congratulations to NFL commissioner Roger Goddell, who has shown great strides in helping make football more female friendly. From the implementation of a line of female-friendly football merchandise, to women serving as on-air personalities for the NFL Network, Goddell even invited Sam Gordon to attend the Super Bowl as his guest. With the league’s support of USA Football’s programs geared towards women in football, it marks the beginning of a golden age for women in football.

Thomas follows in the proud legacy of Violet Palmer, who became the first female referee in the history of the National Basketball Association back in the 1990s. As a side note, the 2014-15 NBA season saw Becky Hammonds become the first female member of a coaching staff, as she joined the San Antonio Spurs.

Perhaps one day, there shall be a female umpire in Major League Baseball, or a female official in the National Hockey League. For now, the appointment of Thomas as an NFL official makes her a gridiron hero in the noble effort for sporting equality.

Players should have not to apologize about Australian experience

Another tragic chapter in the realm of indoor women’s football in America is taking place. A few months ago, the league had planned its second annual season in Australia. Aggressive marketing had also taken place, as various competitors from several of the league’s franchises decided to participate down under, helping to grow the league and its brand. For various reasons, the league had pulled the plug before the season even started, with several of its players having already taken temporary residence in Australia.

Despite this setback, a new league formed in Australia, welcoming many of the stranded (to a degree) American players. The result was an exhibition tournament featuring All-Star teams from Australia, New Zealand and the United States. For several months, the American-based league made no comments about this event. Its only statement was that it was planning to give the second season another try in the near future.

With the American league opening tryout camps in the United States for its 2015 season, it would have been very easy to assume that any hard feelings about the rival league in Australia was behind. Of course, such assumptions were ill conceived.

Recently, three North American-based players have posted online apologies via social media about their playing time in Australia. Obviously, this raises eyebrows. Taking into account past incidents where league leadership became infamous for its acts of attritions and off-field mind games, how could the finger of blame not be pointed in their direction? As a side note, some of the players that are assumed to be favorites among league leadership have not issued any kind of apologies about their playing time in Australia.

Although there is very little detail as to what transpired to cause this series of apologies to take place among the three players, one cannot help but feel that the result may be broken friendships and possible bad blood, all unnecessarily generated because member(s) of the league’s leadership are grudging individual(s). Concern over another league bears more relevance than one’s own league, which is quickly becoming inconsequential.

This is another example where former players must unite and continue to make their voices heard about such bullying behavior. In addition, the Australian league must come forward as a show of gratitude to stand up for these victimized players who have likely been made to feel worthless while possibly enduring verbal abuse. While the outcome of this most recent debacle may certainly discourage other potential players to consider participation in Australia, the bigger picture shows the league sinking deeper and deeper into its own hole, continuing to add more fuel to the fires that have burnt bridges.

Let us not forget that the infamous league cancelled its planned sophomore season down under, leaving its own star players inconvenienced. If three players have to apologize to the league about their time playing down under, should all the other players follow? With all the photos that were taken by players and posted on social media, including comments about the fun they had, will there need to be apologies for that as well?

In retrospect, common sense would have dictated that the league should have made a statement about its players participating in a rival league before any events even started.
In reality, no one should have to apologize except the league itself. Of note, its leadership made promises that it was not able to keep, something that former players in Canada are far too familiar with.

This type of petty and mean-spirited intimidation is not acceptable and another example of how some of the league’s bullies poorly treat women, despite its sole existence being based on women competing. As said league continues its plans to expand into Europe, this just continues to damage their already shaken credibility.