Amanda Ruller wants to be the first woman to coach in the Canadian Football League.
She moved from Regina to Hamilton — driving for five days on her own — to start her coaching position with the McMaster University football team this fall. She’s an athlete and coach who has travelled all over North America to make her dreams happen.
“I want to be the first CFL coach, there has never been any female coach in the CFL — ever,” Ruller said. “There’s 19 in the NFL right now. So I’m wondering, Canada, can we step up and get some more football women in the industry?”
Ruller wants to answer her own question and supporters like Tom Brady’s agent, Don Yee see her potential. The 33-year-old handled strength and conditioning duties as well as coaching running backs and defensive backs at Yee’s Hub Football NFL free agent camp in San Diego in July.
“Amanda Ruller from Canada, very happy to have her, very happy she was able to make the trip and she was a big hit,” Yee said.
Her latest stop: joining the defending Ontario University Athletics champion Marauders. She’ll have a handful of coaching duties with the team, including strength and conditioning, special teams and running backs.
“One of the things that really caught us in the interview process was just how organized and confident she was when she was speaking. Just talking about her love for football, that passion that she was showing was one of those things that’s just infectious,” McMaster offensive coordinator Corey Grant said.
Ruller will be spending a large part of her season at Ron Joyce Stadium, which is just steps away from where she’ll be staying in residence on campus.
“It’s an all boys club and I’m not afraid to say that because the more I say that and voice that opinion, the more we can do something about it,” Ruller said.
During the 2021 season, Ruller will be working closely with senior running back Justice Allin.
“A lot of the guys have been asking her questions, getting to know her and she brings a lot of insight into a lot of stuff that I hadn’t even known after playing for as many years as I have. But with her knowledge and what she knows about the sport, she’s going to take us far,” Allin said.
The five-foot, 120-pounder was a running back for Team Canada at the 2017 Women’s World Championships, earning a silver medal. And played in the Legends Football League, a women’s professional league in the United States.
Ptaszek can envision Ruller becoming the first woman to coach in the CFL.
“She’s committed to this long-term, she’s sacrificed personal savings to get opportunities and she’s looking for anything to grow her resume and get her foot in the door,” Ptaszek said.
“She’s never going to ask a student-athlete to do anything she hasn’t done 10 times over. And that’s a trait I have on most of my staff, frankly.”
Along with coaching Ruller has Olympic weightlifting ambitions, she holds the Saskatchewan provincial clean and jerk record at 215 pounds. And being hired by McMaster has already made an impact among young women who love the sport across the continent.
“I’ve gotten so many good messages from people — women and men — saying congratulations,” Ruller shared, “I have a daughter that’s going to be looking up to you for inspiration.”