July 20, Ottawa, ON – Football Canada’s second edition of the National Women’s Under-18 Championship kicks off this weekend in Ottawa, ON. Seven provincial teams and the first National Indigenous Team will gather in the Nation’s Capital July 21 to 29 for a thrilling showcase of tackle football featuring the top youth female players from across the country.
Established in 2022, the inaugural National Women’s U18 Tackle Championship, held in Regina, SK, saw five teams compete in a round-robin tournament before crowning Alberta as the event’s first-ever champions. Perfectly representative of the growth of the game for women and girls across the country, three new teams will join the competition for 2023: a second team for Ontario, a first-time participating team for Québec, and the historical inclusion of the National Indigenous Team, who will get to compete on the traditional unceded territory of the Anishinaabe Algonquin Peoples. They join Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and New Brunswick who competed last year.
The 2023 tournament will begin with seeding games on Sunday, July 23rd played at Carleton University. Newcomers Québec (-) will get things started when they face New Brunswick (3) at 10am. Reigning champions Alberta (1) will then take the field in a rematch of last-year’s final against Saskatchewan (2) at 1pm. History will be made at 4pm when the National Indigenous Team (-) play in their first game against Ontario Black (-). The day will wrap up at 7pm with a matchup between Ontario Red (4) and Manitoba (5).
Following the opening game day, teams will be split into two divisions of four teams, divisions named Cummings and Harlow in honour of two pioneering figures in women’s tackle football in Canada. Lisa Cummings was an inaugural member of the Manitoba Fearless, Manitoba’s longest running women’s tackle football team now playing in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League, a fierce advocate for creating opportunities for youth players that helped create the Manitoba Girls Football Association, and later got involved as a mentor coach with the Canadian National Team. Lisa Harlow established the foundation for the next generation of football stars as president of Football New Brunswick and commissioner of the Maritime Women’s Football League, as well as her tireless work in coaching and player development for girls, growing a family legacy her dad had laid groundwork for.
The action continues Wednesday, July 26th, with the divisional semi-finals, with games played at the Lees Avenue Field of the University of Ottawa (9:30am) and the Stadium at TD Place (2:30pm, 5:30pm and 8:30pm), home of the Ottawa REDBLACKS of the Canadian Football League.
The championship will conclude on Saturday, July 29th, with bronze (10am and 1pm) and gold (4pm and 7pm) medal games in each division, leading to the first Cummings Division Champions and Harlow Division Champions being named. All games are open to the public, with tournament passes and single-game tickets on sale now.
Fans from across the country can also follow the tournament live on Football Canada TV. Visit https://footballcanada.com/event/2023-womens-u18-nationals/ for the complete schedule, results and links to tickets and live stream.