Fraser Continues American Football Dream

In November 2021, Simon Frash Red Leafs kicker Kristie Elliott became the first woman in Canada to play and score in a college football game. The NCAA Division II Red Leafs kicker scored two extra points in a game versus Oregon Linfield University.

Simon Fraser is an incredibly unique university, as it is the only Canadian university to be a part of the NCAA. The school joined the NCAA Division II in 2010. Simon Fraser played in the American National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics division from 1965 to 2001 and competed against other schools south of the border. The school played American-style football during that time, but for a short period in the 2000s, switched to Canadian rules football to compete in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport program.

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The university has always been unique with its football program, and Elliot has added to its uniqueness of it. Elliott joined the Simon Fraser football team in 2019. According to the kicker, she knew little about American football before joining the school's gridiron team.

Her journey to the Simon Fraser football team began with a simple bet. Elliott bet a member of the Simon Fraser football that she could kick a 40-yard field goal. She wagered $40 that she could kick the ball through the goalpost's uprights. She successfully scored the kick and got video evidence of it.

Elliott ran hurdles for the track team and had played soccer before joining the school's football team. She was an athletic person, but had never kicked an American football.

It has now been a year since Elliott scored her first points from the Simon Fraser Red Leafs. It has been a crazy ride for the team's No. 88. The 5'8" junior has appeared in two games in 2022 to date. She has scored two PATs after tallying nine last season for the Red Leafs.

Elliott's role as kick for PATs seems firmly entrenched. However, her chances of getting on the field are down to the Red Leafs' offense. Simon Fraser have struggled to put points on the board. In the team's opening three games, they scored just 14 points, 2 touchdowns, and Elliott added the extra point following the 2 touchdowns.

Elliott isn't the first woman to play American football. In 1970, Patricia Palinkas became the first female to play a pro football game. She played for the Orlando Panthers of the Atlantic Coast Football League as a place-kicking holder. The ACF was a minor football league.

In 1997, Liz Heaston became the first woman to score in a college football game for Willamette University. And perhaps the most famous female American football player was Katie Hndia. She started at the University of Colorado in 1991. She was a backup kicker for the Buffalos and a part of the team that played in the Rose Bowl in 2000. Hnida later transferred to New Mexico and became the first woman to score in a Division I game.

Elliott isn't the first woman to play college football, but she is the most recent. The placekicker could parlay her success on the gridiron into much more. However, she may need a few PATs before that happens.

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