If all goes as hoped it will be the girls turn to shine on the gridiron in Yorkton.
The minor football program has grown substantially in recent years, and there have been a few girls getting into the action, but work is underway to launch the Lady Gridders football team this fall.
The team initially will encompass girls ranging from Grade 7 to Grade 12, said the team’s coach Tyrell MacLean, who added he hopes that will be split into at least two teams once the program gets established.
The idea to launch a team actually came from MacLean’s daughter Caelen, age 13.
“It’s not really an initiative province wide. It started with Melville and Moosomin this spring,” he explained. “My daughter played in Melville this spring and came home one day and said we have to do this next spring.”
But two or three weeks later Caelen upped the time table by suggesting the team get going this fall. Instead of nearly a year to get a program going, MacLean had only a few months.
The Yorkton team will be one of four playing in the area this fall, Melville, Moosomin and a new program in Regina the others.
“We have four games lined up, two home, and two away,” said MacLean.
MacLean said he is hopeful the program proves popular, adding it has in Melville and Moosomin.
“They had close to 30 (girls) on each of those teams,” he said. “The way we look at it if Melville can get those numbers no reason we can’t.”
The team will play full contact, nine-man football.
The cost for the program will be reasonable with players responsible for their own girdle and cleats and Yorkton Minor Football providing gear at a rental cost.
The first game is set for Sept. 9, and MacLean said the team is starting to shape up.
“We’re getting close. I’d like to get close to 30, but we are close to the minimum numbers,” said MacLean.
To bolster interest they will be offering a free camp over a week, starting Aug. 11.
“We want to get the girls out, no equipment, no commitment,” said MacLean, adding it will be a chance to introduce football to new players, “and hopefully we can use that as a stepping stone to who’s playing where.”
So far, while some parents are asking about the physical nature of football, many have also said, “this is an amazing opportunity for these girls.”
The first home game will be Sept. 9, and then Sept. 29. The 9th game the Lady Gridders will be part of football day which will see Mighty Mites, Atoms, Pee Wees and Bantams all playing games.
“It will be awesome,” said MacLean.
Anyone interested in playing, or volunteering with the Lady Gridders can call the coach at 621-5728, or email firstname.lastname@example.org