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TORONTO — The Canadian Football League (CFL) will once again be returning to the NFL Women’s Careers in Football Forum, this year with several rising stars from U SPORTS. The forum will be held on February 26-27 as part of the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, IN.
The event provides participants with valuable networking opportunities as well as sessions preparing attendees with resources and knowledge about working in football.
Representing the CFL will be Christina Litz, the Canadian Football League’s (CFL) Chief Marketing, Digital and Strategy officer and Ryan Janzen, Senior Director, Football Operations. Representing the U SPORTS contingent will be Erin Craig, Andrea Eccleston, Reina Iizuka and Kristine Walker.
“This event is an invaluable opportunity not just for those participating, but for football organizations looking to improve their teams,” said Christina Litz. “There are a lot of women doing incredible work in football, and we’re excited to continue to support them.”
“This certainly is a great opportunity to showcase women from across the country that work in our sport,” said U SPORTS Director of Football Richard MacLean. “From players to officials to coaches, we are seeing an increase in female participation and professional development opportunities like this will help to build capacity in our sport and highlight further opportunities for women.”
Below are bios on the four women who will be taking part in the annual NFL Women’s Career Forum:
Erin Craig, who serves as the director of strength and conditioning for the St. Mary’s University football program. She attended the Montreal Alouettes’ 2018 training camp and has also worked with the Dalhousie women’s hockey program.
Andrea Eccleston, the equipment manager and team administrator for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies. Eccleston has volunteered with Football Canada in numerous capacities and served as the Chef de Mission for the women’s Team Canada tackle football team at the International Federation of American Football World Championships.
Reina Iizuka, a defensive back for the University of Manitoba Bisons who is in her redshirt freshman year with the team. Iizuka previously played for the St. Marcellinus Spirit and the Toronto Junior Argos, where she was a 10-time team captain and a three-time Team Ontario Selects.
Kristine Walker, the associate head strength and conditioning coach at Western University. She has worked with over 500 varsity athletes from a wide variety of sports, including football and hockey. Walker has also assisted the Catholic Central High School senior football team and Gary Roberts High Performance Training.
Last year there were several Canadians present, including CFL Commissioner Randy Ambrosie, and Toronto Argonauts’ director of football administration Catherine Raîche. This year the focus of the event is on the future of football, with representatives primarily from the NCAA and U SPORTS.