As we step into the New Year it’s time to stop and reflect on the amazing 2017 the Cardiff Valkyries had.
Many are aware that the Cardiff Valkyries have worked really hard as a team to build what we have. We started off with flag football in 2016 with the aim of tackle football in mind, and so perhaps the most significant achievement of the year was participating in our first ever tackle tournament, Sapphire Series 2017! It was the first ever experience of a real tackle football game that the team had faced, with most of the players never even participating in the flag football season, going head first into a world of new terminologies, routes and plays. With the help of our friends at the South Wales Warriors we trained for Sapphire Series in a relatively short period of time, but went and gave it all we had.
Winning our first ever game was perhaps the most exhilarating feeling, and with comments from players, coaches, and referees from other teams throughout the course of the tournament noting on our improvement and team attitude, it really was a wonderful experience to be a part of and got us all hungry for more. It’s hard to think of another moment of feeling as proud as we did at the end of our first game day, and there are few words to really describe how we felt at the end of the tournament looking at how far we had come.
However our football adventures didn’t just stop at the end of Sapphire Series. We had several players attend GB flag trials, even having a player accepted into the Silver Lions team! Training and playing with the best players in the UK there was certainly a lot to be proud of. We also had a player feature on BBC3’s ‘Amazing Humans’ which was later shared by the NFL. The piece documented how being introduced to American football changed impacted her life for the better, and it’s great to see the general impact it can have on so many others too. A lot of people would easily agree that a sport or a team can install confidence, a sense of family and belonging, a feeling of achievement. We hope that all of our Valkyries and others can relate!
The team returned for a some flag football fun after Sapphire Series to play in Summer Series. With most of the new Valkyries never playing flag football it further added to our skill set, also catching up with friends from other teams as well. During the year we also connected with our community, featuring on ‘Made in Cardiff’s: The Lowdown’! Presenter Rob came to one of our training sessions to have a go at the positions and understand the game, and although he wasn’t necessarily the best at the sport, it was definitely fun to tackle him all day…
Our club president Lois and head coach Simon also visited Radio Wales this year to talk about American football, the team, and the Superbowl, and we certainly can’t forget the amazing experience of being in the Pride parade (there were so many pugs in costume as well and it was the best time ever).
We had players represent the team at Diamond Series both in the training days and in the scrimmage itself, and participated in our first 7 aside experiences with Division 1 teams through the Topaz rounds. With these informal game and training situations, as well as hosting and playing with our friends from Staffordshire Saxons, the team notably developed their positions and knowledge of what awaits in the 7 aside games. Alongside this the team worked really hard to hold a fundraiser for the club, raising nearly £500!! Every penny counts and it was wonderful to see our local football friends come on down to the quiz to help us out.
All of this leads to our main goal this year for kitting out and participating in the 7 aside Sapphire Series in the upcoming months. However, the best (and most important) thing of this year are the people who make up the team. Holding several rookie days through the year we welcomed many more Valkyries into the family, and with another rookie day this Sunday we really can’t wait to get stuck back in and meet some new faces, introducing the sport, and the excitement that awaits them.
It really is looking to be an incredible year for this team.