SFU football player becomes first Canadian woman to play and score in college game

© Linfield Athletics SFU football player Kristie Elliott, pictured here, gets ready to kick the ball for a point against Linfield University in September 2021. She’s the first Canadian woman to play in, and score in, a college game.

Going into last Saturday’s game against Linfield University in Oregon, Simon Fraser University football player Kristie Elliott didn’t know she would be making history. 

Elliott, who’s a kicker with the team, became the first Canadian woman to play in, and score in, a college football game.

“It’s amazing, it’s cool. I’ve gotten so much support from around the world,” said Elliott.

The SFU football team is in the NCAA II division. Although the team lost the game 20-56 to Linfield University, Elliott scored two points by twice converting an extra point following a touchdown.

Started with a bet

Elliott, a psychology major, earned a walk-on spot with the SFU team in 2019 following a bet she made with player on the team that she could kick a 40-yard field goal.

Before that she had never even watched a football game or played the sport. She was a member of the SFU track and field team.

Soon after sending a video of her successfully kicking the ball 40 yards through upright posts, she heard from SFU’s football coach. He encouraged her to invest some time into learning the sport and crafting her kick.

“I was just thinking like, ‘this is an opportunity that doesn’t happen every day. And if I go out there and practice and I don’t like it, then I can always stop, right?'” she said.

© Anita Bathe/CBC News Elliot said it can be overwhelming at times being the only woman on the team. But she also said her teammates are like her brothers and always support her.

After doing well at training camp in 2019, she earned a spot on the team that same year but did not play in a game.

In 2020, no games were played due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this fall games are back on and Elliott was also back with the team as a kicker for her third straight year.

“Looking back two years ago, I can never imagine myself being in the situation, but I guess hard work pays off.”

Paving the way

Elliott said the team has more than 90 male players, and the coaching staff is also all men.

Although it can be overwhelming at times, Elliott said her teammates are like brothers to her, and always support her.

“Honestly, I think I’m going to have best friends for life,” she said.

Elliott is celebrating another win this season: getting the keys to her own locker room. 

It’s an old storage room, but she said she plans on making it her own safe space where she can hang out. 

© Anita Bathe/CBC News Elliott said she had never played football prior to 2019.

She wants other girls and women to take inspiration from her achievement and is actively telling her story and acting as a mentor to others.

“Given my situation and experience, I want girls to know they can do anything. I think my story can be beneficial,” she said as part of a release from SFU.

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