2016 Flag Football World Championships open Thursday Sept. 8 in Miami-area
Canada’s women look to defend gold while men look to reach podium for first time since 2008
Canada is one of 15 nations heading to the Miami, Florida area to take part in the 2016 International Federation of American Football (IFAF) (Men’s and Women’s Senior) Flag Football World Championships, September 8-11, at Brian Piccolo Park in Hollywood, Florida.
Canada’s women’s flag football national team is represented by Montreal-based Fleur de Lys who return to their fourth IFAF tournament as the two-time defending champion from 2010 and 2014. On the men’s side of the draw, Canada looks to reach the podium for the first time since 2008, after falling to Italy in the bronze medal game in 2010 and 2014.
Canada’s representatives at the IFAF Flag Football World Championships were decided at the 2016 Senior Flag Football Invitational, held May 27-29 in Halifax. The 2016 edition of the tournament marks Saskatchewan’s first time representing Canada.
“Being the first team from Saskatchewan to represent Canada [at the flag worlds] is a great feeling. We started playing adult 5-on-5 flag football in Saskatchewan only four years ago with the ultimate goal of winning a national championship,” said head coach, Chad Palmer who leads a roster composed of players with past CJFL, CIS and CFL experience that have since transitioned to flag football. “To have our goal realized in only four years was a great feeling for everyone involved.”
The women’s national team, led by long-time head coach François Bougie, will lean on an experienced roster as it looks to defend gold in Miami.
“The fact that most of the team has been together for almost 10 years is a big advantage,” said Bougie. “We have added good young players to the experienced core. We know what it takes and these girls will do whatever it takes to win the championship.”
The tournament in Halifax provided teams with the chance to test their skills against top competition from across Canada in pursuit of a berth at the world championship.
“The senior invitational tournament was great for us. When we got to Halifax we had never played together as a team and as the tournament went on we got better each game,” said Palmer, who’s team rallied following a loss in their opening game, going undefeated during the remainder of the tournament. “That (invitational) experience has helped us and will be something we can take forward into this next step.”
At first glance, participating countries like Denmark, Italy, Austria and Israel may not be seen as strong contenders but when it comes to flag football, the sport is well established around the world. Denmark reached the men’s gold medal game in 2008 and 2010, falling to Canada and the U.S. respectively. Italy is also a two-time men’s bronze medalist, defeating Canada in the third place game in 2010 and 2014. On the women’s side of the draw Austria, Japan, and France join the U.S., Canada and Mexico in the medal hunt tournament after tournament.
“The flag worlds is a very competitive and wide open tournament with medal contenders from across the globe. The sport is evolving very quickly, particularly in Europe as the close proximity between countries allows for regular high level tournaments and competitions,” said long-time men’s national team player Jason Warren. “Having played in the 2010, 2012 and 2014 IFAF Flag Football World Championships, it was really interesting to not only experience the sport being played at such a high level by teams from around the world but also the comradery and familiarity that’s developed between many of the European nations because of their regular competitions.”
Canada’s women’s national team will look to defend their gold medal from two years ago but know they have to bring their A-game throughout the tournament.
“The best players have to be the best players on the field, at all times,” said Bougie when asked what his team needs to do to put themselves in contention to repeat. “Our players know they are here for one goal and that is to win the gold medal again this year.”
Canada’s rosters at the 2016 IFAF FFWC in Miami
Women’s National Team
Coaching Staff and support staff
|François Bougie||Head Coach|
|Richard Lachance||Assistant Coach|
|Jean-Pierre Moreau||Assistant Coach|
Men’s National Team
|1||Braxton Lawrence||Defensive back|
|2||Karl Phillips||Receiver, Centre|
|3||Chris Friesen||Defensive back|
|10||Joel Lipinski||Defensive back|
|20||Mitch Stevens||Receiver, Rusher|
|23||Taylor Rehn||Defensive back|
|24||Mitch Friesen||Defensive back|
Coaching staff and support staff
|Chad Palmer||Head Coach|
|Lyle Evanisky||Assistant Coach|
This post is also available in: French