IFAF Women’s World Championship kicks off: Who will challenge Team USA in their quest for an international four-peat?

There will be any number of story lines for the upcoming International Federation of American Football’s (IFAF) Women’s World Championship (WWC) that will be held in Vantaa, Finland from July 28 to August 8.

Callie Brownson played for Team USA in 2013 and 2017. This year, after having coached in the college, and now professional ranks, she will be the head coach of the American team – the first time a woman has held the head job for Team USA. The U.S. has dominated the games, but Team Canada made a significant improvement in 2017. Finland lost to Great Britain in the European Championships in 2019, but came out on top in point differentials – will the British continue defeating Team Finland, the two-time European champions? Mexico surprised many at the 2017 WWC – could they keep up their winning ways? Australia got their first taste of international competition in 2017, will they win their first WWC game in Finland? Germany and Sweden are also back in competition, after IFAF healed their schism.

The world’s top women’s American football teams will therefore vie for the championship in Vantaa, which is near Helsinki.

All of the teams are championship veterans. Australia, Great Britain, and Mexico were the newcomers when they played for the first time in Langley, BC in 2017. Sweden was there for the first two championships in 2010 (Stockholm) and 2013 (Vantaa). Germany took 4th place in both of those tournaments. Team USA and Team Canada have finished 1st and 2nd in all three of the championships, but the point differential has decreased from 66-0 in 2010 to 41-16 in 2017.

Team USA has 11 players returning from the 2017 team. They will be without their entire quarterbacking corps from that year, but the offense will have the services of running back/quarterback Chante Bonds of the Women’s Football Alliance Pro Division champion Boston Renegades and running back Grace Cooper of the runner-up Minnesota Vixen. The Renegades will not only have players on Team USA, but also on three other teams competing in Finland. Tytti Kuusinen and JJ Seiles will play for Team Finland, Heather Marini for Team Australia, and Ruth Matta for Great Britain. The Texas Elite Spartans, champions of the Women’s National Football Conference, are sending nine players off their roster, led by champion quarterback Brittany Bushman. The Elite Spartans also has Breanne Ward who will represent Team Canada.

Mexico and Great Britain lead off the games that start on July 30. This is a rematch from the third place medal game in 2017. Mexico defeated Great Britain then 19-8. Canada and Australia take the field next, and the Canadians handled the Australians 31-6 in 2017. Finland versus Sweden recapitulates a series of games that has been going on since 2008. In the 2019 European Championships, Finland was only able to defeat the Swedes 27-20, so this might be one of the more competitive matches of the first day. The final game of the day will pit Team USA versus Team Germany. The Germans missed 2017, but in 2013, the Americans ran up 107 points against them, after Team Germany became the first to score on the U.S.

The Suomen Americkkalaisen Jalkapallon Liitto ry (SAJL), the Finnish American football federation, is sponsoring the WWC for the second time. Their website promises to livestream the games for those who cannot make the trip to Myyrmäki Football Stadium.

The action promises to be good, and the story lines compelling. Will Sweden or Germany be the surprise teams of the championships, as Mexico was in 2017? What players will emerge as the stars for their national teams? Which fan bases will be the best at following their home team this time? Stop by or tune in to find out. You will be sure to see some great football!

Russ Crawford is Professor of History at Ohio Northern University in Ada, Ohio. His latest book, Women’s American Football: Breaking Barriers On and Off the Field will be published by the University of Nebraska Press in November of 2022. Along with several chapters on sport history, he has also published two earlier books. Le Football: The History of American Football in France was published by the University of Nebraska Press in 2016. His first book, The Use of Sport to Promote the American Way of Life During the Cold War: Cultural Propaganda, 1946-1963, was published by the Edwin Mellen Press in 2008.

Russ Crawford is an Associate Professor of History at Ohio Northern University in Ada, OH. He has published three books: Women’s American Football: Breaking Barriers On and Off the Field (2022), Le Football: The History of American Football in