The multi-talented Allison Mouland has a great love of sport.
Competing for the expansion Okotoks Lady Outlawz, Mouland is getting the opportunity to accomplish a lifelong dream of playing tackle football. Competing on offense as a quarterback and on defense as a cornerback, Mouland brings enthusiasm to the growing Western Women’s Canadian Football League.
“I can't really remember a time when I didn't like football, because I always liked all sports. I think I started developing a real interest in it around grade nine. My younger brother was playing flag football, and he played tackle when he was older, so I would watch him and it looked like a lot of fun. My parents were always encouraging when it came to staying active and so they always had me involved in some kind of sport.
“I played soccer and did swimming lessons when I was young. I had really wanted to play hockey and finally got the opportunity when I was fifteen, and I've been playing that ever since. In grade 10, I made new friends who were also football fanatics, and we started playing pick-up football games at lunchtime and after school nearly every day.”
Joining the Lady Outlawz would reunite her with a former educator and mentor. Rick Crawford has known Mouland since high school and provided her with direction in pursuing her love of the game. Having competed at the touch-football level, contributed as a trainer and assisted in coaching, Mouland has paid her dues.
“Rick Crawford, the defensive coordinator for the Lady Outlawz, was actually my grade 10 social studies teacher and the senior football coach. My love for football was obvious to him, and he set me up with a ladies touch-football team. I have not stopped playing football since. He also drafted me to his arena football intramural team in high school.
“I took sports medicine in high school and did many of my training hours with his team, and he was always encouraging and let me be involved in the drills, which was great. It helped my understanding of the game. Last year, I ran into Rick at the university. After I explained that I was finishing my kinesiology degree and moving into education, he offered me the opportunity to learn to coach with his senior high-school football team.”
Contributing on Crawford’s coaching staff helped bring Mouland a new perspective on the game. The valuable learning experience is one that has paid dividends for her. Employing great acumen on the gridiron, Mouland is quick to credit Crawford as a positive influence.
“This was an excellent opportunity, and it allowed me to gain coaching experience while learning more about the game. He is also the one who recruited me to check out the Lady Outlawz. He has been extremely influential in my life and he has encouraged me and provided me with many football opportunities, and I am grateful for that.”
A proud member of the Lady Outlawz, Mouland understands the responsibility that her status as an athlete brings. The thought of possibly being a role model for young girls is one that she would gladly welcome. While the league is still growing and the level of parity has not yet been reached, Mouland hopes that today’s competitors can lay the foundation for a strong tomorrow.
“I would love to be a role model to young girls. I know there has been a lot of change in recent years when it comes to gender equality and the opportunities available to girls, and I know that my generation is very fortunate.”
Having had the opportunity to compete in the first game in Okotoks Lady Outlawz franchise history on May 4, 2013 was one that brought great happiness for her. After years of aspiring to compete, and having spent several seasons serving in coaching or trainer’s roles, the opportunity to don the helmet and step on to the field was the culmination of a dream.
“It was so exciting to hit the field for the first time. I have to admit, I was extremely nervous and had butterflies, but the experience was amazing. I love this sport, and now that I have a taste for playing the tackle version of it, I don't ever want to stop. I'm so grateful that this opportunity finally exists for women.”
The first game also brought with it humility. In playing the defending Western Conference champion Lethbridge Steel, an overwhelmed Outlawz team was defeated by a 74-0 score. While the loss was difficult, it provided Mouland and her teammates with an invaluable learning experience. Despite the heartbreak of losing their first game on home soil, Mouland noted the remarkable team spirit that existed.
“It was a very tough loss and a rude awakening against Lethbridge. What I found very encouraging was how we managed to not get down on one another. There was no blame being thrown around. Compared to other teams that I have played on, I was really impressed by the lack of negativity among the team, both during and after the game. It was tough, but we took it as a learning experience, and we are using it to inspire us for move forward and get better.”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”