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Female o-lineman signs with Canadian Junior Football League team in Nanaimo

Jordan Vearer among players announced by team on June 8
Jordan Vearer listens to instructions from the V.I. Raiders coaching staff during a drill Sunday, May 29, at the team’s spring camp at NDSS Community Field. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)

For the first time ever, a female player has signed with the VI Raiders.

Among signees announced by the Canadian Junior Football League team June 8, offensive lineman Jordan Vearer from Victoria. Vearer has experience playing youth football and rugby.

Vearer told the News Bulletin she doesn’t see herself as a pioneer and didn’t realize it was “such a big deal.” She will focus on her position and being a good player.

“I’m really passionate about whatever I do, so I’m willing to put in the extra hours of training,” said Vearer when asked about her strengths. “I think I’ve got some good basic skills, like foot work and hand work building up, just excited to see where the next level of coaching and playing can take me.”

Raiders’ coach Curtis Vizza told the News Bulletin that having a female lineman was a “very unique thing” and Vearer is strong, fast, aggressive, with a good understanding of the game. He envisions Vearer playing guard and shifting to the other side of the ball, playing defensive tackle, if necessary.

“She’s got very quick feet, great hands,” Vizza said. “When she engages on a block, she knows exactly how to position her body to be effective and she’s got that competitive edge that’s going to make her great.”

Vearer said she’s been accepted to the University of Auckland in New Zealand, and is set up to play rugby with a club team. She doesn’t know what the future will hold.

“With COVID and everything, life’s been a little crazy lately, so I have a lot of plans that I thought were going to go and didn’t; (I) ended up still being here,” said Vearer. “This opportunity just came forward, so I’m just going to go with the flow, see where it takes me. If I really like, it I might hang around, see how it goes or if the opportunity’s still there, I might end up going over to university, get my degree and come back, see where life’s at.”

Vizza said the Raiders want to break down gender barriers and support the whole community, including athletes.

“To us they’re football players, there’s no gender,” Vizza said.

In addition to being the first-ever female Raiders player, Vizza also said Vearer will also be the first-ever in the B.C. Football Conference and second in the CJFL.

The Raiders open their 2022 campaign at Caledonia Park on Saturday, July 23 against the Okanagan Sun.

– Files from Greg Sakaki

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