Female players suit up for high school football game in Guelph

Three female players were on the roster for Friday’s Division 1 football game between Bishop MacDonnell Catholic High School and John F. Ross Collegiate Vocational Institute.

Martina Vair made the Bishop Mac Celtics as a kicker, before earning a spot on the defensive side of the ball as a corner back.

“I always thought I could potentially be the kicker on the team. I come from a soccer background,” said Vair, who hit both extra point kicks on Friday. “I played rugby for our school as well, so I knew the tackling aspect. It was more just getting used to the pads.”

Alissa Witter and Isabelle Hillen suited up for the John F. Ross Royals.

“I really like football, I love the sport,” Witter said. “I was nervous because it was such a male dominated sport, but I came out and I made the team.”

Coaches and players said it’s becoming fairly regular to see female athletes getting involved in high school football. The female players admitted there were some things they had to get used to, but both teams were happy to have them on the squad.

“I feel like it’s a little different between the girls and the guys,” Hillen said. “We don’t have the same locker room, but they are really open to accepting us on the team.”

Bishop MacDonnell head coach Justin Shoniker said anyone who pulls their weight can have a spot on the team.

“We don’t have boys’ football, we don’t have girls’ football, it’s just football,” Shoniker said. “Football is a game for athletes. If you are athletic there is a spot on the team for you.”

The game ended in a 21-14 victory for John F. Ross.