BUILT TOUGH: A ONE-ON-ONE WITH TORONTO CAPTAIN KRISTA FORD
The face of the Lingerie Football League north of the border and the captain of the expansion Toronto Triumph, Krista Ford is well known yet mysterious all at the same time. Leading up to this Saturday’s All-Fantasy game in Hamilton, Ontario what better time to dig deep and learn more about the Mayor of Toronto’s niece both on and off the turf.
LFL360: What type of leader are you as captain?
Krista Ford: I’d like to think I’m more of a ‘mental..feeling’ captain that comes out closer to game day. It’s a feeling you have with your teammates when you look at them, you feel their pain, their glory, and you feel the fire burning inside of them. However, being the Market Manager as well, I feel takes away from that “feeling” or it isn’t as strong because they see me in a different light.
LFL360: Being the highest profile player on the team do you feel extra pressure to perform since all eyes will be on you?
KF: I don’t see myself as being the “highest profile player”, to be honest with you, and I hope to never see myself in that light. My whole life, all I wanted to do was to play football. That’s what I’m here do, and I’m going play it right, and I’m going to play it hard.
LFL360: Is there any resentment from other players, or was there at any time, for you being named captain or getting the majority of media attention?
KF: There could have been, but I told the girls how I felt about my position right away and I think they understood. It didn’t go exactly the way I would have hoped for it to go, as in life I work hard to earn things I get. I don’t want football to be any different. I want to earn my position, both on the field and off. I need to prove to myself I’ve earned it, and until then, everyone is a captain. As for media attention, coming from such a political family, it was bound to start off with me. But I’ve found a way to use the media leverage I have in Toronto to brand our team. Everything I do is for the better of the league and the Toronto expansion team. I want to see my girls succeed – I want to see the entire league succeed!
LFL360: What are your thoughts on the coaching staff so far overall and for yourself working with the intense Sebastian Clovis on defence?
KF: Seb is awesome. I think it’s the coaches too, that win bowls. I know me, personally, I need a coach that will get inside of me on gameday. All team athletes need a good coach that get’s into you and fires you up emotionally, mentally and physically, sometimes without saying a word. It’s the bond between a coach and a player that brings the fire out on gameday. If all of the girls can relate to me, and come gameday, one, if not all of our coaches can have that unspoken bond that gets inside their hearts with each player, that’s winning enough for me.
LFL360: In your mind, where does the most improvement have to be done on offense and defence for the Triumph?
KF: You have our offense, where, almost all of the girls with the exception of 1 or 2 have played football before. Our defence is the opposite, where only 2-3 have played ball before. Both sides take time to mesh, however I believe our offense with the talent it holds, should be running/passing in a different manor.
LFL360: What are the Triumph’s greatest strengths a) on offense, b) on defence, c) overall
KF: Our talented Quarterback Donna Paul can work with a variety of talent levels, which helped us stay on track. Our other QB Jen Mancini is also a great leader, she’s very vocal, I think it comes with her being a teacher. Kat Trabulsey, our HB on defence, is by far the most knowledgeable and experienced on ‘D’. I feel like our work on the field together is AMAZING and that her and I work as a strong HB/LB pair. Overall, we are open with each other, We listen to our coaches, and there is no sh*t talking each other.
Born just west of Toronto, Krista is the eldest of three sisters and has been involved in competitive sports most of her life. After not taking to hockey, this feisty blonde embraced soccer, “I got many penalties for being aggressive. I moved up the ladder to play provincially, as a mid-fielder defender .” However, much to the chagrin of her Toronto City Councillor father, Doug, she not only took up boxing, but excelled at it. Krista combined the fitness of the sweet science and lifting weights to train and go after her true passion…playing football.
Once in high school she went to try out for the junior varsity football club and was received with anything but open arms from the head coach. “When I asked to tryout he told me, ‘Oh…sweetie, you can’t play…don’t be so silly’, needless to say, I stayed out there every single practice with the team and every single game.” Krista’s relentless tenacity sought out a new teacher at her school, Richview C.I., which had taught girls football in the past.
Together they fought to create the first all girls football program at the high school. “We also had other schools create teams and form a league. We did it! I took my girls to the city finals that year and was named MVP for the two seasons I played,” remembered Ford. She graduated three years ago and missed competing in football at a high level, which is why when Krista heard the LFL was coming to town she had to jump at the opportunity. She gained the ‘C’ and currently works double duty as the club’s Market Manager.
“As Market Manager I introduce the team to potential business partners in Toronto, deal with most media inquiries, and plan for the Triumph to make appearances around Toronto. It’s fun and stressful,” said Ford.
The journey through training camp, scrimmages, and preparing for the first ever Triumph franchise game has been a taxing experience for Ford. Currently recovering from a severe ankle sprain is just one of several injuries incurred from the gruelling physicality of becoming a Gridiron Goddess. “I was off with ligaments pulled in my lower back that were severely inflamed, which was causing pinching in my sciatic nerve that had me bed bound for 12 weeks before the first try out,” explained the captain. “Once I was healthy I started watching my diet and focused more towards sprinting, plyometrics, fast twitch training, lifting weights, and football drills daily.”
The intense training shocked the linebacker’s body, resulting in a hip flexor injury and following that the tearing of her left quad. However, it was the mental strain and pressures from the media that hit Ford the hardest. “Before even the first tryouts, the media already snagged me. I was hoping I would go through the process (of camp) without being noticed until game day. The attention put a lot of mental stress on me.” She continued, “I just wanted to play football no bells and whistles, just football. At first I thought ‘F this’. But I couldn’t let go. The more I’m set back, the harder I want to fire out. I think my girls see it, and despite being injured, I go with that mentality to every practice.”
Ford’s passion is clear and unwavering when she says of her teammates, “we have one heart when we are together, that heart beats strong and that is what is going to lead us to victory.” The rest of the Lingerie Football League has officially been put on notice and better be prepared because…the Toronto Triumph are built ‘Ford’ tough
Photo courtesy of: Joe Petro, LFL International Director of Photography and JAG Photography