June 14th, 2024

Steel ready to hit the gridiron

By Justin Seward - Lethbridge Herald on April 13, 2022.

Herald photo by Justin Seward Lethbridge Steel quarterback Nicole van Rootselaar watches her throw completed through during a practice Saturday at Catholic Central High School.

The Lethbridge Steel women’s football team having been preparing for the 2022 season over the last number of weeks, which would be for the first time since the end of the 2019 season.
The Steel had been practicing for eight weeks in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown everything down.
“So, now to be outside three years later, it’s pretty crazy,” said Steel head coach Mike Peters.
“But it’s incredibly positive — you know I think regarding the team. You know having such a long time off, you can be concerned that maybe you’re not going to get a lot of interest or you know you might end up struggling coming out of the gate. But I think we’ve had a lot of good interest and some really good quality athletes that have come out and have been working their butts off to kind of get us prepped for the season.”
The team was able to land a Football Canada grant that allowed for the girls to get some indoor space and allowed them some practice time this spring at the YMCA.
“The last two years, yeah it was really tough, you couldn’t do much and so we weren’t really sure,” said Peters.
“But it seemed like once we kind of knew that hey we might be able to actually start getting where we need to go, it started feeling a lot better — like we weren’t going to end up folding or anything like that — we would be in good shape coming into the year and that’s kind of been the case.”
Peters said he feels like things are coming together.
He credits that to the hard work of the ladies.
“They’ve picked things up really quickly and that’s allowed us to get to where we are at this point,” he said.
“And I feel really positive about where we will be able to go, leading into the season against Calgary on the 30th.”
Peters says the team is taking a team and a player first approach this year.
“I think times in the past we got stuck in being really focused on X’s and O’s or what coaches wanted,” he said.
“I feel being able to put the focus more on the athletes and the players that we have creates more ownership in the team and I think that’s a real positive thing that we’ve been able to change up this year and moving forward.”
The team is looking for more players to add to the roster at different positions.
“Yeah, realistically, I think we just did some more work on our depth charts today and I’m really kind of happy with where they’re at,” said Peters.
“But when you have a limited pool of athletes, you know you get stuck in places where you don’t want to stretch people too thin by having them go both ways. So you try to work in rotations. But really we’re always looking for any type of players right now. The more skilled position players you can have the better.”
Due to losing their old quarterback and not having a lot of returning players this year, Nicole van Rootselaar was named the team’s pivot this year and is pumped about the upcoming season.
“But some of the new players that have showed up are just phenomenal athletes, are really dedicated and are really excited to learn and try the sport,” said van Rootselaar, who has held many positions on the team since joining in 2018.
She thinks the team has a great coaching staff here and feels that she can trust them in helping her prepare as a first-year quarterback.
“And then yeah, just like I’ve said, I’ve had a pretty good couple of years of routinely being physically active working out at the gym,” she said.
” I think I also have the physical strength to back up my knowledge and the coach’s guidance.”
The Steel are a part of a seven-team Western Women’s Canadian Football League that include teams from Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan.
The Steel will kick-off the season against Calgary Rage at University of Lethbridge Stadium on April 30 at 7 p.m.

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