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IC Vignettes – Aimee Legault (Canada Northern Lights)

  • Sunday, August 17 2014 @ 07:59 am ACST
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International Cup 2014
Aimee Legault has proudly led her team, the Canada Northern Lights, onto the fields of battle in this year’s International Cup. Aimee has taken the time to share her footy journey with us.

“I first discovered footy in 2009. After a long soccer career I wanted to take a small break from the semi-pro soccer life and I found myself on an open ground with strange looking balls after my sister’s boyfriend, Ronan Shaughnessy, got my sister Margo and myself out to just come for a "kick". The first time I played my hands on a Sherrin, I fell in love. I engulfed myself with learning everything and anything about the sport. I think people were getting annoyed with all of my questions but I just wanted to learn as much as I could.”

“I began playing in late summer of 2009. At this point in time there was only a men's 9 aside league in Montreal, ECAFL (Eastern Canadian Australian football league). Margo and I competed with the men at club level and we also travelled to play in the Ontario men's division 2 league, OAFL (Ontario AFL). Along with our men's provincial team, the Quebec Saints, we played in various 18 aside tournaments with the men. After much recruitment, we finally gathered enough ladies to create our female provincial team, the Montreal Angels. With this team, we would have to travel to Toronto, a six hour drive in order to play against other females.”
“In 2010, we created AFL Quebec where we then had three teams competing in the league with a mix of men and women. In 2011, we moved to four teams in the competition. And 2014 marks our start with the” first ever women's division in Quebec with 2 teams where we have divided to a men's comp and a women's comp, no more mixed teams.”

“I have played for the Quebec Saints men's team, the Montreal Angels women's team, the Montreal Demons co-ed team, the Ottawa Swans women's team in the OAFL and I have been in the national team program with the Northern Lights since 2010. I moved to Australia in 2011 to learn from the best players in the world where I started on ball for the Eastern Devils in the Premier Division, learning from the great Lou Wotton, captain of the devils and my role model.”

“After my season with the Devils in 2011, I was then named captain of the Canadian national team. We competed in the first ever international cup in 2011, where we finished runner up to Ireland.”

“The women's game in Canada is quickly expanding and is played in five of the Canadian provinces. We have dedicated athletes across the country who train hard for a spot on the national squad. The majority of these athletes actually run their respective clubs back home and are highly involved in the development and recruitment of the players.”

Despite such an impressive list of achievements to date, Aimee still has plenty of goals. “[For the team] to be International Cup champions. To be selected in the women's draft to play amongst the most talented and best players in the world. To see the women's game played professionally in Australia to start (as I have heard) in 2020. To continue to grow the sport in Canada and develop the game and skills across the nation.” But maybe Aimee’s biggest wish is still out there. “My ultimate dream is to play at the ‘G’ under the lights with an entire nation supporting the women's game.”

What are Aimee’s tips for the International Cup? “In a tournament like this you will never know, but my money is on the Kiwis for the men’s and I will not comment on the women's until the end of this tournament. But for the women's I wish all teams the best of luck!”

“I would like to thank the AFL International for creating this competition and promoting it as much as they did this year. We are grateful for the live streams and the community rounds as this raised awareness about women's footy and allowed our supporters to follow us across the globe.”

“My only wish is that the AFL will continue to drive the development of the women’s game.”