By: Dylan Webb – Sports Editor
A dramatic video of the second day of training camp, uploaded to Twitter by the SFU Football account, provides a glimpse of the swift adjustment that the Clan’s new place kicker, Kristie Elliot, has made to a sport she has only formally played for the first time in the last few weeks.
In the video, Elliot, just weeks into her university football career, nails a 30-yard field goal, splitting the uprights with plenty of yardage to spare, thus saving her teammates from a post-practice run.
Though fellow freshman David Eisenkraft was recruited this off-season to be the primary place kicker, SFU Football’s head coach Thomas Ford, in an interview with Howard Tsumura, indicated that Elliot will get an opportunity to help the team during gameplay based on her performance in camp.
“Kristie is a first-year player, but she has already put herself in some pressure-packed situations and done well [ . . . ] she is definitely a player that can help us, so her future is bright if she wants to keep on kicking,” Ford told Tsumura.
According to an interview conducted by CityNews, Elliot, a member of the SFU track and field team, originally considered the idea of kicking pig skins for the Clan only because of a friendly wager amongst friends. In fact, Elliot kicked her first successful football field goal, a 40-yarder no less, in her Vans sneakers after track practice.
“This isn’t about her being a female, this is about her being able to do a job we need someone to do,” Ford told CityNews when asked about the novelty of a female player in what is typically a male dominated sport.
On the strength of her right leg, Elliot will make history as the first female SFU football player to suit up for a regular season game. She is far from being the first female NCAA football player though — the list is actually quite extensive. While Elliot won’t even be able to claim the record for first female to kick a field goal in NCAA football, since that feat was achieved by Tonya Butler in 2000, she will become the first female Clan football player to score points for her team in an officially sanctioned match — if she were to convert a field goal this season.
Though Elliot lacks the usual years of football experience expected of an NCAA football player, there is little doubt about her athletic abilities and their potential transferability to the field. Ford noted that, in track, “you’ve got to do a lot of training and you don’t get many live reps, and when you do, it’s a pretty high-pressure situation to perform in that one rep. I think mentally, that experience will help her.”
While the degree of NCAA football success Elliot achieves in her budding career remains to be determined, one thing is clear: Kristie Elliot has set an exciting precedent for female athletes with the ability and desire to compete on an NCAA football field wearing Clan red.