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Women & Girls: Meet gridiron warrior Nicole Fournier

Hailing from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, Fournier can’t wait to show other women and girls in her community that football is not just for the boys
Nicole Fournier is a football player from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory who is determined to bring more women and girls to the traditionally men’s sport.

A young woman from Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory is dedicated to football, and after attending and playing with the inaugural Indigenous Football Canada team, and attending their training camp, she said she is more dedicated than ever to the sport she learned from her cousins and brothers. 

Nicole Fournier told most of her family played football, and she grew up watching them. 

“I'd always go watch their games, and I just started to fall in love with the idea of playing football,” she said. “Either like tackling or throwing to a receiver.”

Fournier plays both quarterback and halfback for the St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School football team. Fournier said the sport is worth all the work — not just the long commute, but the long hours of training. 

“The dedication I put into this sport is insane,” she said. “But it’s also taught me to have patience and to work hard.” That dedication even extends to the rare time she has to miss a practice. “I'll always ask my coach what we're doing that day, to make sure I get what I need to know for games.”

This year, Fournier went to a camp hosted by Indigenous Football Canada (IFC), to learn more about the sport, and herself. 

An organization dedicated to promoting football among Indigenous communities, IFC welcomed young Indigenous female athletes from across Canada to the nation’s capital this year to train together and form Canada’s first national Indigenous U18 Girls football team.  

That team competed in the Under-18 Championship which took place in Ottawa, from July 21-29, and though they didn’t do too well, the birth of an Indigenous girls squad is a milestone in itself. 

Fourneir said when she heard about the team and camp, she jumped at the chance. A recruiter she knew as a former player from St. Benedict’s team let her know about it, “and I took that opportunity right away, because I knew it'd be such a great experience and a great opportunity,” she said.

Regardless of how the games went, Fournier said that what she learned has been beyond what she thought. Not just for football, and the skill set that comes with it, but also, to meet other young women just like her, where there have only been football boys before. 

“I felt so far from home, but bonding with these girls has been great because now it feels like we've been friends for so many years, but we've only known each other for like a week,” Fournier said with a laugh. “This really intense experience that we've all been through, but also,  because we're all Indigenous girls who grew up on reserve, so we can kind of bond around that because we grew up the same way.”

Founier said she will happily play football for “as long as possible, for sure,” and said that she is more than happy to be considered a role model for other Indigenous girls who may want to tackle or throw. 

“I don't know if I would go into coaching, but definitely something in football,” she said. “I would just help a lot of the younger indigenous girls get out there for these opportunities.”

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with 

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Jenny Lamothe

About the Author: Jenny Lamothe

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with She covers the diverse communities of Sudbury, especially the vulnerable or marginalized.
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