Saturday 1st April saw almost a 100 women from all over the UK travel to Northampton to take part in the open trials for the GB women’s flag team, as they look to continue their preparations for the forthcoming European championships later this year. The trial was aimed at adding successful players to the existing GB squad ready for training camps over the summer, after which the final team will be announced.
What to say about Round 2 of our first Sapphire Series?!
Though we had a fun warm-up to Taylor Swift’s “Shake it off” (courtesy of Chester Romans we believe), we knew before we even started the games that these two teams would be tough. We have seen these women in action; they hit and run with a lot of power, and have the experience that we just don’t have. Unfortunately we lost to both teams, but nevertheless we scored in both games and continued our streak of scoring in every single game, and learned some new things along the way. With their experience level in mind, scoring against them is certainly a massive achievement in itself.
For those of you who don’t know, it’s International Women’s Day! We want to say thank you to all the women in our lives who support us and mould us (from our younger years to our continuing ones!), and especially to all the women who have broken boundaries in sport. The expectations and abilities of women and girls – what they can do, what they have a right to do – are constantly challenged as reshaped, and here we are as Wales’s first and only American Football team, part of the strong and growing network of women footballers (both amateur and professional) who show every single time we go onto that pitch that we CAN and we WILL play. As a team we like to think that we are a strong resource of support and encouragement for other women who join us, regardless of their skill and background, and challenging negative thoughts about what we can achieve and replacing them with a new and positive sense of empowerment.
Nerves and excitement were definitely present with the Valkyries even days before the opening of Sapphire Series took place. Had we trained enough? Do we know enough? Especially for the rookies who had only 6 hours of training, there were questions as to how the day was going to go. And it turns out, we did brilliantly! We had far surpassed the expectations that we held against ourselves in both games; Winning our first game against another newly formed team Staffordshire Surge, and holding back an experienced team in the league, Sandwell Steelers, from overwhelming us on the scoring board. One win, one loss, but a hell of a lot of experience to take into the next round.
It has been a little while since the previous Coach’s View – but things certainly have not been quiet.
The team is currently gearing up for the forthcoming Opal Series, the national flag tournament. This year sees the most teams ever enter, with several new teams joining – including the Valkyries. As such it promises to be a great event and a great chance for us to showcase what we have been doing on the national stage.
On Saturday four the the Cardiff Valkyries – Maria, Dani, Izabel, and Zoe – traveled all the way to Northampton for the Diamond Series tryouts. With limited or zero experience in contact football, the day certainly started off as a morning of anxiety. We were in a room with some of Britain’s best women American football players, which included Team GB players scattered among them. However, once we were all kitted up the anxious feelings went away, and we were soon filled with excitement.
As many of you will know, the Cardiff Valkyries have been giving their all in the last few months. For many, they have learned a whole new sport from scratch. Some have even experienced coaching the team, communicating and directing new members and old. Regardless of the level of experience, however, there is always room for development in both skill and strength.