SFU Football’s Kristie Elliott makes history as first Canadian female to score in college game
Simon Fraser University kicker Kristie Elliott made history this weekend, becoming the first Canadian female to ever play and score in a college football game.
The SFU team was taking on Oregon’s Linfield University in National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) play when Elliott stepped onto the field near the end of the first half to kick the extra point after a touchdown.
“It was terrifying,” Elliott laughed. “There was a lot of pressure on me and I was really nervous. I don’t really remember it much because it was such a surreal experience. I’m pretty sure my eyes were closed. I’m glad that first one is over with.”
The team would lose 56-20 but Elliott converted for the extra point twice in the game while putting her name in the record books.
Earlier in the game, Elliott missed a 40-yard field goal attempt and was eager to get that miss out of her head.
Elliott said she hasn’t had much time to let the moment sink in or think about what it means to be the first Canadian female to score in a college game.
Like any athlete, she’s looking ahead to the next game.
“I didn’t even know I was the first Canadian female to play in a game, to be honest,” she said. “I haven’t really had time to reflect on that yet. It’s great being the first female but I’m just like anyone else out there. I just love to play football and I just want to improve and know what I need to do. I made two field goals but I also missed one.”
It all started with a bet
You don’t want to bet against Kristie Elliott repeating the feat and becoming an even better player.
After all, it was a bet that led to the former track and field athlete kicking the 40-yard field goal that eventually earned her a walk-on spot on Simon Fraser University’s football team in 2019.
The unique tale of a woman earning a spot on a NCAA men’s team made for great headlines at the time, but Elliott knew it was just the start.
“The first year was very tough on me mentally because I was so new in the sport, and in an environment I had never been in before,” says Elliott. “There were 100 guys on the team, I felt like I had a lot to prove, not just to myself but to the other players and the coaching staff. And there was a lot of media attention because I was a female. That was extra pressure on me and took me a while to get used to.”
Elliott didn’t see competitive action on the field in those first two years but kept grinding in training every day.
Now into her third year, Elliott is brimming with confidence for the season ahead.
She finally feels like she’s earned her spot on the team among all her “brothers”, has shot up the depth chart and was rewarded for her development and dedication with a football scholarship in late August.
With the unrelenting support of the team’s coaching staff, she stuck to “the process” laid out for her and now battles for a spot as the team’s starting field goal kicker.
“I have a lot more confidence in myself right now, the difference from two years ago is huge. I’ve seen so much growth as an individual, in football and in life,” she says. “I know I’ll be kicking this year and that’s very exciting for me because I know I’ll be travelling and playing.”
An inspiration on and off the field
While the attention of being a female on a men’s team heaped added pressure on her at first, Elliott now channels it for good.
She’s started sharing her story on social media, providing inspiration and advice to other women looking to pursue a football career.
Elliott has also served as a female mentor for local charities that work on building up girl’s self-confidence.
“Given my situation and experience, I want girls to know they can do anything. I think my story can be beneficial,” she says. “I never thought I would be playing men’s football. So I’ve been doing some motivational speaking and talking to young women about the possibilities in their lives.”
Her triumphs on and off the field dovetail nicely with her academic life.
Elliott is in the fourth year of her psychology major at SFU and is minoring in human development and counselling.
“I want to get into sports psychology, that’s been my goal for the last couple of years because of my kicking and football background,” she says. “I’ve learned from experience the mental aspect of the game is about 80 per cent and 20 per cent is skill. If I can use my experience to help other people it can be a good pathway for me because it’s such a unique story.”
Catch the action
Don’t miss the SFU football team’s first home game of the season this Saturday, Sept. 18, at 6 p.m. when they take on Central Washington University. It’s also opening night for the new and improved SFU Stadium at Terry Fox Field. Click here for tickets.