Fresh off signing a contract to play professional women’s football, Julianna Raposo is still taking it all in.
“I just didn’t have that mindset of I’m going to be this far one day, I was just going with the flow each and every day and then this happened and I was like wow,” she said. “Like this just, it still doesn’t feel real to me.”
Raposo signed with the Las Vegas Devils, a team that’s part of the newly formed Women’s Football League Association (WFLA), a pro sports league that pays its players.
She started her football career with the St. James Rods as a linebacker, kicker and punter and was the team MVP three years in a row.
She then moved on to the Winnipeg Wolfpack, who play in the Western Women’s Canadian Football League (WWCFL).
It was here in the WWCFL that she finished third in the league in tackles and earned a spot on the Las Vegas Devils.
The 18 year old football player from Winnipeg hopes to be an inspiration for other girls wanting to play a predominantly male sport professionally.
“Just tell her to follow her dreams you know. Just keep pushing no matter what anybody tells you, you can prove yourself otherwise,” said Raposo when asked what advice she would give other girls growing up wanting to play football.
“You will get far, you will make it to where you want to make it one day, just got to keep fighting, keep pushing no matter and like the outcome, just keep your head up.”
She didn’t always play football – soccer was her first passion. But after her soccer team folded while she was in the ninth grade – she gave football a try – and her soccer skills paid early dividends.
“I ended up being pretty good for my first time ever playing football. We did this one kicking drill and because I did play soccer prior to, my leg was just really good and the ball just went up and like gone and then my coaches were just like ecstatic over the fact that I could actually kick,” she said.
“Yea it just went off from there.”
Football is more dangerous than a lot of other sports and can be tough on a parent to see their child getting hit or tackled every play.
Her father Anthony shared some advice to other parents if their daughter was interested in playing football.
“If your daughter is interested, just let them go for it. I mean it’s going to be nerve-wracking at the beginning but I think in the long run, I mean as a parent for myself, we want the best for our kids, best for our daughters, best for our sons,” he said.
“Just let them follow their dreams and go for it.”
The WFLA has a tentative schedule to begin their inaugural season in May of 2021, and training camps are scheduled to start early next year which is when Julianna will be headed to Las Vegas.