The 2017 Women’s World Championships get underway this weekend in Langley, Canada

The IFAF New York 2017 Women’s World Championship gets underway this weekend with a field of six teams competing for a trophy that has belonged to the United States in the first two editions of the tournament. Along with Team USA, the tournament will feature the host nation, Team Canada as well as Finland, Mexico, Great Britain and Australia.

The first game will feature Finland versus Britain in a rematch of the 2015 European Championship. That year, the Finns, who finished in third place in both previous WWCs, defeated the British, who were making their first attempt at an international championship, 50-12. This rematch, along with other first round games between the United States and Mexico, and Canada versus Australia, will take place at McLeod Stadium in Langley, BC, Canada starting at 11:30 local time.

Three of the teams are veterans of previous championships. The USA, Canada, and Finland finished in that order at the 2010 and 2013 tournaments that were held in Stockholm, Sweden and Vantaa, Finland, respectively. Three teams – Australia, Britain, and Mexico will be playing in their first WWC this year, replacing Austria, Germany, and Spain that sent teams to previous championships.

The favorite, based on past performance, is the USA. Over 3,000 women play football in the country, and the Women’s Football Alliance, which will supply 42 of 45 players to the roster.

The Canadian team, who are likely to finish in second place, also has 11 players from the WFA, and in addition they have drawn players from the 4 teams of the Maritime Women’s Football League and the Women’s Canadian Football League’s 8 teams.

If the top spots remain the same, and the Finns, who have won 5 European championships and finished in the top three in the other 4, maintain their third place record, the drama of the games will be how well the newcomers play.

Britain has forged a 6-1 record in international matches, defeating Spain in 2016 after their second place finish in the 2015 EC, and the British American Football Association has 19 women’s teams playing tackle football.

Australia may be the surprise team. Women began playing American football there in 1987, and have made a splash this year by hiring Dr. Jen, Welter, likely the most visible woman in football after having coached in the NFL, as their head coach.

The Mexican team will have its work cut out for it. Although their national team fared well, defeating Canada for a bronze medal at the 2016 Flag Football World Championships, this will be their first entry into international competition in tackle football.

McLeod Stadium is the home of the Langley Rams of the Canadian Junior Football League and features seating for 2,200, a field turf surface, and a jumbotron replay screen, so the amenities for a championship are present. The games will also be streamed live at www.footballcanada.com and at www.wc17.ca

Full Schedule:

June 24

Time (PDT)Matchup
11:30 amGreat Britain (4) vs. Finland (3)
3:30 pmUnited States (1) v Mexico (6)
7:30 pmAustralia (5) vs. Canada (2)

June 27

Time (PDT)Matchup
11:30 amMexico (6) vs. Australia (5)
3:30 pmLoser of Finland / Great Britain vs. United States
7:30 pmWinner of Finland / Great Britain vs. Canada

June 30

Games based on records in previous games

Time (PDT)Matchup
11:30 am5th place game
3:30 pmBronze medal game
7:30 pmGold medal game

 

Russ Crawford
Russ Crawford is an Associate Professor of History at Ohio Northern University in Ada, OH. The University of Nebraska Press published his book Le Football: The History of American Football in France in 2016. He is currently working on a project exploring the history of women's football.
  • PJL

    There is probably a mixup about European Champinships won by Finns. Women have played only one European Championship tournament, so the five championships won are done by Finns men’s natiolnal team. Right?

    But anyhow, tonight’s game between Finland and Great Britain will be very interesting.

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