Competitive Clubs

She-Gees Powderpuff football team prepare to defend last year’s championship

Maclaine Chadwick | Fulcrum Staff

Photo courtesy of Simone Julien

THEY LOVE TO play football, they do it all for charity, and they practice in the snow. That’s what makes the She-Gees the coolest club on campus.

The women’s Powderpuff football team started five years ago and, after a slow start, has come a long way.

“Our first year was definitely a drinking year—it was a club that wasn’t taken seriously,” explained master’s student Simone Julien, who plays defensive line for the She-Gees. “When I entered the team the second year, there were a lot of athletic people on the team and from then we raised the calibre of play.”

Dreary winter weather doesn’t stop this team, either—they have been practicing under the coaching of Gee-Gees men’s football team members Morgan Johnson-Koehn, Darren Castaldo, and Mike Randazzo.

The team takes off-field training seriously, and follows strict gym routines together.

“Practice and training starts in November,” explained Julien. “We practice outside on Robinson Field—probably the shittiest field around. [Practices are] done in the snow. Rain or shine, we are out there on the field every Saturday and Sunday from November to February.”

Maybe the fact that it’s all done for a good cause is what keeps the She-Gees and other Powderpuff football teams warm—last year’s Powderpuff tournament raised around $8,000 for charity.

“Our fundraising is mainly for breast cancer research—that’s the whole point of the tournament. We collect our own funds to pay for our hotel, travel, and to pay for the tournament, but all the fundraising is for breast cancer,” said Julien.

Don’t be fooled by the fluffy name of the tournament, either—the She-Gees are a force to be reckoned with. Last year, they competed with 27 teams from across Ontario and won the annual Powderpuff tournament hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University.

“We won last year. We’re champions,” explained Julien with a smile.

Here at the U of O, women’s football is gaining popularity but can’t compare to  Powderpuff teams at other campuses. Laurier normally enters around 10 separate teams into the tournament, and the team at Queen’s University is recognized as a varsity club.

“We had an exhibition game against Queen’s A and B team,” said Julien. “They didn’t score on us; they won with field goals—they were unable to break our defence. It was a good challenge for our team to see what play we will be faced with, and we are expecting to do well.”

The She-Gees will defend their championship title Feb. 7 to 9 at Wilfrid Laurier University.