By: Yelin Gemma Lee, News Writer
On September 11, 2021, Kristie Elliott became the first Canadian woman to play and score in a National Collegiate Athletic Association football game. Elliott, the SFU football team’s kicker, scored two points in the team’s game against Oregon’s Linfield University. This football game was the first game to be played in SFU’s new stadium.
“I’m just going out there, playing football, doing something that I enjoy doing,” said Elliott to The Peak. “I guess it hasn’t really sunk in [ . . . ] I didn’t even know I was making history until after the game.”
Theresa Hanson, senior director of SFU Athletics & Recreation, wrote to The Peak, “The atmosphere was so great on Saturday, and to perform well in front of friends and family is every athlete’s goal and to do it on this historic night in the opening football game of the season was pretty amazing.” She added, “I’m [ . . . ] proud of her ambition to break down barriers in sport, and her selfless dedication and commitment to her team and the program as a whole.”
Elliot shared she was unfamiliar with football before joining the football team in 2019.
“Prior to 2019, I never kicked a football in my life,” said Elliott. “When I first joined the team, it was obviously a very overwhelming experience because I had never played football before, but the constant support from my team and from the coaching staff really got me to love the game.”
According to CBC, Elliott’s football career started in 2019 with a $40 bet she made and won with an SFU football player. She bet she could kick a 40-yard field goal and succeeded.
Elliott added this historic achievement carries great personal meaning for her as well, beyond what the world sees. “I’m going out there, being the first Canadian female to score and play but for me, this is my first ever football game,” said Elliott. “[This] is a milestone for me personally just to go out there and know that I can actually do this.”
Elliott is the only woman on SFU’s football team with over 80 players on the roster. Six years ago, Hanson was the first woman athletics director to be hired at SFU. Hanson said although inequalities towards women in sports are improving, there is still a lot of work to be done.
“We hire and/or attract qualified females in positions of influences across the sports platform to help lead the necessary evolution, where female athletic directors and football players are part of the fabric of sport,” said Hanson. “There are so many quality, accomplished, and brilliant women in sport, we need to continue to tell their stories and celebrate their accomplishments to inspire others to follow in their footsteps.”
Elliott said the coaching staff made the greatest impact on her by believing in and reassuring her every day. Elliott’s future goals consist of becoming the best player she can be, joining the Canadian Football League, and graduating with a degree in psychology and human development to help other athletes through mental hurdles the way her coaches did for her.
“I want to get into sports psychology [ . . . ] Kicking is a big mental game [ . . . ] I want to help other athletes with the mental aspects of their game,” said Elliott.