May 3, 2019 7:10 pm
Updated: May 6, 2019 8:14 am

Regina football star levelling the playing field as 1st female spring league player

WATCH ABOVE: A rising football star in Regina is tackling stereotypes on and off the field.

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A high school football player in Regina has become the first female player to be selected for the Regina Minor Football (RMF) spring league.

Jayda Duval, a 16-year-old student at Balfour Collegiate, is the first female to play for the team in the league’s 11-year history.

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“I hope that people will begin to understand that girls can do stuff that guys can do too,” Duval explained.

READ MORE: The complex history of deciding who can compete in sports as a woman

The developmental league had more than 240 high school players tryout, but just over 170 of them made the cut.

“We’re trying to provide opportunities for as many kids to learn and play the game of tackle football and that includes female,” RMF president Kelly Hamilton said.

“When I got the email saying I made the team, I was shocked,” Duval said. “I couldn’t believe it.”

In 2018, Duval was also picked as a wide receiver for her high school football team – the Balfour Bears.

READ MORE: Best plays from fall in Saskatoon high school sports

“Jayda is an intense athlete no matter what form she’s playing in,” said Claire Doré, the running backs and special teams coach for the Bears.

Duval said at first the other players didn’t realize she was actually on the team.

“As long as I tried my hardest then they respected me,” Duval said. “I did everything they did and I hustled as much as they did.”

While she’s happy to be levelling the playing field, Duval is adamant that her gender isn’t calling the shots.

READ MORE: Wage gap continues to affect sports world: female sports expert

“Playing football is better than anything no matter what gender or team you’re on,” Duval said. “It shouldn’t matter what gender you are.”

“Jayda doesn’t want to be noted in spring league as ‘the girl who plays football’ but as an athlete who plays football,” Doré said.

The spring league runs until the end of May.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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