Zoe (top left) with the rest of Cardiff Valkyries and coach Simon Browning (bottom right)
Zoe (top left) with the rest of Cardiff Valkyries and coach Simon Browning (bottom right)

Unique Welsh women's team raises funds for new kit

WALES’ only women’s American football team is raising money for kit so players can take part in the full contact version of the sport.
Without the equipment, the Cardiff Valkyries are limited to playing flag football in which, instead of tackling opponents to the ground, they remove a flag from the ball carrier.
The Valkyries, based at Llandaff North RFC, took part in a charity flag football tournament at Canton RFC on November 12, with teams from around the UK.
The annual Marcus Price Memorial Tournament, named after the former head coach of several south Wales American football teams, raised funds for the Velindre Cancer Trust.
Middle linebacker Zoe John said: “This is our first year. It’s a bit of fun and it’s a great way to raise some money.”
Women come from as far as Swansea and Carmarthen to play for the Valkyries in the South Division of the Opal Series.
“They’re all really committed,” said coach Simon Browning, who set up the team with Daniella Leopard.
Zoe said: “I haven’t really done team sports before. I wasn’t really athletic at school and teachers usually pick their favourites so you get discouraged.
“We didn’t do rugby, we did netball and that was it. There wasn’t really much exploring of different sports.
“I’ve done kickboxing, MMA sparring but I wasn’t that good. To compete I would have to lose a lot of weight. So I thought that American football would be good because I can tackle people and it’s fun!
“It’s great to have that support, that network and just make new friends.”

Cardiff Valkyries during practice
Cardiff Valkyries during practice at Llandaff North RFC.

The team are serious about their sport and want to shatter stereotypes.
“There’s loads of women, all of different sizes and I think it’s absolutely fantastic,” said Zoe.
“It’s about being yourself and doing what you’re good at. If people love doing what they do and their bodies allow them to do it, they should.”
To donate to Cardiff Valkyries, visit their GoFundMe page.