Amanda Ruller never took no for an answer.
Her fierce determination and lengthy resume have led her to make history, becoming the first female offensive coach in the CFL.
“Focus on coaching high school, focus on coaching U Sports,” Ruller said. “I said, no I’m going to aim higher, I’m going to keep going. I never let someone say no to me and you can feel that in my heart.”
Ruller is one of nine women who are part of the CFL’s Women in Football Program, a four-week development opportunity that coincides with training camp.
She is from Regina and gets to coach in her home province for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
“I sit, absorb, I ask them so many questions and I’m able to use that now in my coaching going forward,” Ruller said. “This is so huge for my development.”
Ruller comes from Hamilton’s McMaster University where she’s an assistant football coach.
She’s a former elite athlete herself and has several certifications in coaching, strength and conditioning and exercise physiology.
“When I see the other women or girls out there watching me, it just adds inspiration and excitement. I’m actually more motivated than stressed because I know that once they see this, they can do that. I just want to be the best coach, I don’t want to be the best female coach, I want to be the best coach out there,” Ruller said.
This opportunity allows her to grow as a coach, and also impart her nutrition and performance wisdom on these elite athletes.”
“She’s been everything we expected and more,” Riders head coach Craig Dickenson said. “She’s been a fantastic coach, an outstanding person and has really brought a lot of good energy to that room.”
Riders running back Kienan LaFrance adds that Ruller has a whole other perspective.
“She works really hard in terms of speed and strength and conditioning,” LaFrance said. “She does add a little bit more of a dynamic.”
While Ruller is enjoying her time with the Riders making an impact on the coaches and players, this is just a stepping stone.
“I’m very excited because CFL first, and then (I’m) going to the NFL with the Seahawks next, so I’m very excited to have this opportunity and be coaching there so I’m recognized not only in Canada but in the United States as well,” Ruller said.
No matter what league Ruller is part of, she’s already changed the game for Canadian women.