The result of the game wasn’t quite what she wanted, but there was no better experience for Prince Albert’s Ashley Viklund to end her football career as a player.
Viklund was a part of team Canada at the International Federation of American Football (IFAF) women’s world championship in Vaanta, Finland. Canada finished fourth after a hard-fought bronze medal game against the host Finland Sunday. A 26-yard field goal with only 1:11 left on the clock gave the Fins a 19-17 lead they would never relinquish in the upset win.
Viklund says the experience to compete on an international level was incredible.
“It’s a dream come true to be an athlete on a national team at a world level. It’s something I thought I’d never get to do. I couldn’t trade it for anything”
Viklund says the host Fins did a great job organizing the tournament even down to the smallest details.
“It was a really well-run tournament. Things were all super organized, super well communicated, we knew when our games were going to be. We even got introduced and go to run out with fireworks and smoke machines. Hearing the crowd yelling our name, it was really exciting.”
It was not Viklund’s first experience wearing the maple leaf on her uniform. Viklund also represented Canada at the 2017 IFAF women’s world championship in Langley, British Columbia. She says that experience was also special but for different reasons.
“That was a really special experience too because everyone’s family got to come. It was a really raucous stadium, full of Canadian fans.”
With the conclusion of the world championships, Viklund is now finished her playing career in football. But she says she plans to stay involved with the game.
“That was my last hurrah, I’m retiring now from tackle football and I’m going to move into coaching. I’m grateful for an experience to play on the world stage and that’s the way I’m going out and I’m looking forward to working with the River Riders in PA and coaching moving forward.”
Canada opened the scoring in the second quarter with a one-yard touchdown run from Saskatoon’s Sarah Wright and extended the lead to 10-0 after a 24-yard field goal from North Vancouver’s Kristie Elliott. Finland cut the lead to 7 on a field goal right before half. The host Fins would score back-to-back touchdowns in the third, both on one yard rushing touchdowns from quarterback Emilia Rahty. Canada took the lead back on a touchdown from Ricki Obed 17-16. Finland would kick a game winning field goal with 1:11 remaining to win the game 19-17.