March 8, 2024

Steinberg: 5 trailblazers in the CFL on International Women’s Day

Christian Bender/

All of us at are wishing you a very happy International Women’s Day!

Each year we see more and more women step into deserving and hard-earned jobs in football, which will only serve to continue opening doors down the road.

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In no particular order, here are just a few of the women who are blazing trails and helping football become even more diverse and inclusive.


Doucoure just finished her first season as offensive quality control coach with the Ottawa REDBLACKS. It was another major mile marker on one of the most fascinating football journeys we’ve ever seen. Doucoure discovered her love of gridiron football while still back home in Paris, France more than two decades ago. Now across an ocean, she’s working exactly where she belongs.

Doucoure’s football resume prior to landing with the REDBLACKS is varied and impressive. Her first stop after moving to Canada was playing and coaching in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan before taking a job as a receivers coach with Football Ontario. A stint as an offensive assistant and receivers coach at Carleton was Doucoure’s last gig before joining Ottawa, first as a scout and now as an integral member of the team’s offensive staff.


Turner made Canadian history in September 2023 when she became the first woman to suit up in a U SPORTS regular season football game. And Turner started her career with a bang that day. The University of Manitoba kicker hit three extra points and two field goals, including a 21-yard double overtime game winner, to help the Bisons to a win over the Regina Rams.

Overall, Turner appeared in six games in her first season with the Bisons and got the job done at a high level. Turner hit 11 of 14 field goals, including a season long 48 yarder vs. Regina in October, and was perfect on 16 extra point attempts. Most importantly, Turner truly stabilized Manitoba’s kicking game, which had gone just one-for-six in the four games she didn’t appear in prior to her debut.


The CFL’s digital department doesn’t run like a well-oiled machine without Costabile’s direction. As one of the many writers answering directly to Costabile, I can tell you firsthand how organized, innovative, and detail-oriented a person we’re talking about. As the league’s Senior Manager, Web and Digital Content, Costabile oversees all content strategy on

Aside from writing articles and producing her own digital content, Costabile pitches articles to her group of freelance and staff writers (editor’s note from Kristina: I promise I didn’t tell Pat to write this part about me), edits and publishes their work, sets the content schedule each week at, and ensures coverage is balanced across all nine teams. There’s no off-season at the league website and Costabile is the driving force behind that.


Tanya Henderson was the first woman to be hired as a full time coach in the CFL (Christian Bender/

When Decoure joined the REDBLACKS ahead of last season, she became the second woman to be hired as a full-time CFL coach. The first was Henderson a season prior when she joined the BC Lions as part of Rick Campbell’s staff. And now, with two years as a defensive assistant in the books, Henderson is adding even more responsibility for 2024 as BC’s assistant defensive backs coach.

Henderson started her football path as a player more than a decade ago before moving into coaching in 2017. Since joining the Lions, Henderson has worked closely with the linebackers while also helping shape the team’s defensive scheme and weekly practice plan.


Toffelmire has been the head athletic therapist of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats since 2018, holding down one of the most important off-field positions in the sport. From helping players recover and get back on the field as quickly as possible, to keeping players healthy and working with the team’s many outside practitioners, Toffelmire plays a key role for the Ticats behind the scenes.

And like the other women we’ve highlighted, Toffelmire is opening doors. On the other side of the country, Stampeders assistant athletic therapist Hailee Coll credits Toffelmire as inspiration to follow a similar path. Similar to what Toffelmire did in Hamilton, Coll has worked her way up from an intern to a full-time member of Calgary’s staff.

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