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.
After the warm-ups, offense and defense were separated. From this separation the groups were split again into two or three smaller groups which ran certain techniques and drills. There was so much to take in. So much talent surrounding us from women across the UK, from women of all shapes and sizes, from women with a range of experience in the contact game. It was amazing to watch.
Catches, footwork, escaping, sprinting; it was a heavy morning in humid weather. Sweat dripping from our faces even after 5 minutes of training. It was amazing how quickly the first half of the day went by. After a quick lunch, we went in again for some more drills before being asked our ideal positions for the scrimmage;
Dani: Wide reciever
Maria: Right tackle
Izabel: Defensive back, corner back, free safety, strong safety
Zoe: Buck linebacker
Once our positions were confirmed, we first ran some of the runs and movements in our own groups before moving towards the middle of the field for the real thing. There was a 7 aside, then an 11 aside. The pressure was on.
Though at some points the scrimmage was overwhelming, we all got into the momentum very quickly. Izabel got an interception to the end zone, Zoe successfully tackled, Maria and Dani maintained a strong offensive line and threw quite a few of the defense around the field.
So much knowledge was taken in. So many amazing coaches surrounding us.
Of course we all did our best, but whether or not we will get a callback is another thing. We will find out at some point this week, but regardless of the outcome it will be an invaluable day. We can’t wait to get back into the contact scrimmage, and will hopefully transfer all our knowledge of that day as best as possible in our training.
Finally, a ‘thank you’ to all who made that day possible and to all the other women players. You made us feel very welcome and gave lots of advise. Women’s american football in the UK is here and it’s here to stay. You can’t stop us! #hitlikeagirl
In other news!! We are having a friendly match again the Cardiff Hurricanes THIS SUNDAY!! Roath Rec, 11am. Come join us and say hello!