As the preseason No. 1 selection, the BC Angels have benefitted greatly from the superlative performance of Vancouver native Stephanie Manou. The running back and linebacker had a background playing rugby for the University of British Columbia. In addition, she was a member of the BC Lions Felion Dance Team in the Canadian Football League.
Experiencing what it is like to be on the football field, she was a primetime player in the first win of the season. In a 41-14 whitewashing of the Regina Rage, Manou scored the first ever touchdown in the history of LFL Canada. She got the score with 1:53 left in the first quarter on a three-yard run. She would be named Co-Player of the Game with a 108-yard rushing effort in the win. Her play against an overwhelmed Regina Rage opponent established her as a force to be dealt with.
The second match of the season did not provide the desired results for Manou, as the BC Angels' weaknesses were exposed in a visceral loss to the surprising Saskatoon Sirens. Her 44-yard performance was the worst of the young season. While the setback could have tarnished the season for the Angels, Manou stepped up in the third game.
Nicknamed the Locomotive, she had a rushing battle against Petshauna Pinnock of the Toronto Triumph that reinforced her status as a premier running back. In the first half of the contest versus the Triumph, Manou had two touchdowns behind 65 yards to give the Angels a 19-14 lead. Manou would have a 21-yard run (her longest of the season) in the third quarter as she ran for daylight with a touchdown. She continued to overwhelm the beleaguered Toronto defense. Winning the Co-Player of the Game award for the second time in the season, she added to the maligned Toronto losing streak and forced it continue to search for its first win in franchise history.
After three games, the masterful Manou has accumulated 313 rushing yards with an incredible 7.5 yards per carry. Her five touchdowns leads all BC Angels players. Along with Kylie Rossler of the Regina Rage, the two have quickly established themselves as the finest Canadian superstars in the nascent league. They are the building blocks of LFL Canada for seasons to come, having captured the hearts and minds of Canadian football fans with their superlative play.
Manou has quickly established herself as an assiduous player who carries herself with great acumen. While the Angels have also had contributions from players such as Mary Anne Hanson, Jessica Hopkins, Kate Marshall and Stevi Schnoor, Manou’s ability to accumulate yards, eat up time on the clock and pile up points have made her an incredible asset and the team’s Most Valuable Player. Should the Angels run into Saskatchewan in the postseason, the rematch will be one that Manou will relish greatly.
In many ways, Manou is the prototypical LFL Canada woman: Ambitious, intelligent and courageous. While Manou is a university graduate and works as an athletic therapist, she is also an entrepreneur, with her own health services firm. She is helping to inspire a generation of young female athletes by proving that the impossible is possible.