Manitoba Bisons’ kicker Maya Turner becomes first female player to score points in U Sports history

Photo courtesy: Bisons Athletics

The University of Manitoba lost its preseason contest against the University of Saskatchewan 10-9 on Thursday night but made a little history in the process, as kicker Maya Turner became the first female player to score points in the history of Canadian university football.

Turner accomplished the feat by drilling through a 25-yard field goal with 8:01 remaining in the third quarter. It would be the Bisons’ first points of the game.

A native of Maple Grove, Minnesota, Turner is entering her first season at Manitoba since transferring from Loyola College in Chicago. She was a Division 1 soccer player for the school before setting aside that sport in pursuit of her dream of becoming a football kicker.

“It’s not a question of gender, it’s a question of technique and the process and everything that goes with it. She’s talented, she works hard. She proved it. She’s proved it all through training camp. She got our first points on the board today,” Bisons’ head coach Brian Dobie said post-game.

“I’m very excited for her, because if you compound all the other pressures that go with it: when can I come into the locker room? When do I have to stay out? Just fitting in with the culture of the team, she came from a Division 1 women’s soccer team at Loyola and here she is on a men’s [football] team in the country of Canada. Night and day, two completely different cultures. Every day is a learning experience for her. It’s unique for her and she handles it so professionally.”

Turner follows in the footsteps of Simon Fraser University’s Kristie Elliot, who became the first Canadian female to score points in an NCAA game last year. She is the second female player in Bisons football history, following defensive back Reina Ilzuka — who redshirted but never dressed for the program.