There has been a lot of talk as of recently regarding the growth in talent for football in Canada. With multiple Canadians getting drafted into the NFL each and every year it is clear that football has gotten bigger in Canada, and the football has gotten better, but when we talk about football, for the most part we just talk about young men. Something that should be getting more attention, and be talked more about are all of the talented young women that play football as well in Canada.
Shanya Murape is a perfect example, and should be looked at more for what she is accomplishing coming out of Toronto.
Murape is a flag football quarterback that has recently announced her commitment to Kansas Wesleyan University in the states where she is going to play football and attend post secondary school on a partial scholarship. This has been done before by a few Canadian girls before, but Murape’s story, being a quarterback, and the way she got to Kansas Wesleyan is going to pave way for more girls in the future.
She was first introduced to the game of football in the seventh grade, and showcased her natural athleticism on the field, excelling with her club team, the Toronto Generals. The success she was having, along with the fun playing football early on helped her fall in love with the game. When the COVID-19 Pandemic hit in 2020, her passion for the game really kicked in and opened her eyes to a future with football. “When COVID hit, I was thinking a lot about the sports I was playing,” she told JZ Media’s Jordan Zlomislic, “I didn’t want to quit football and focus on something else, and I didn’t necessarily want to do something else while I play football, so when I saw the NFL post about the NAIA and the women’s flag football that schools were offering, it felt like the perfect thing for me.”
Without knowing much about NAIA Womens Flag Football, Murape began reaching out to schools that offered a flag football team, and coaches across the NAIA. She was sending out all of the film she gathered from before the pandemic playing a number of different positions, and ended up talking to a number of people, getting a lot of interest across the NAIA. Murape really took the recruiting process for flag football the same way she’s seen young men go about it to go division one in football, and showed exactly how it’s done for the next group of girls from Canada that want to go and play flag football at the next level. Talking about the process, she mentioned, “I had a lot of interest. It was nice to talk to coaches, and get the opportunity to commit finally with Kansas Wesleyan.”
She goes to Kansas Wesleyan as a quarterback with the ability to play anywhere on the field, a strong athlete, and Murape has high hopes for herself as she goes to the next level. “I want to show-out for Canada.” she said, “There aren’t a lot of Canadian girls that are across the border in the states playing football, so I want to be able to show everyone that we can play good football, and also be someone that young girls can look up to. When I’m there, and everything I want to tell my story for more girls to know about it.”
Her story will without a doubt be told, and she will have the opportunity to do as much as humanly possible to spread the word about girls flag football in Canada as well as the opportunities that can come with it. In the states it is becoming more popular, and with the NFL helping them out the interest is getting larger every year, and more opportunities open up as more schools begin to offer a team. Unfortunately the same growth is not happening yet in Canada however with the right people, and with time, Shanya Murape believes Canada will have a good presence for flag football. “It’s very slow paced, but there is some growth.” she acknowledged, “its disappointing that the CFL hasn’t taken the same role that the NFL has in the states, but with more girls getting opportunities like me, and with what I want to do too, I think it can be bigger for sure.”
While at Kansas Wesleyan, Shanya intends on taking Exercise Science, and hopes to one day work in football, and in sports once she is finished playing football, so not only does the world have to keep eyes on Shanya Murape the football player but also the young woman off of the field as well. With a good head on her shoulders, and a plan, she is set to be doing big things.