New-look BC Angels Ready To Work Towards Second Consecutive Title
By Mark Staffieri
If one theme is prevalent for the 2013 LFL Canada season, it would be change. With the absence of LFL US stars for the 2013 season, every roster shall have a bevy of new faces ready to provide their teams with the opportunity to win.
For Clayton Campbell, the new head coach of the BC Angels, he has some very big shoes to fill. With head coach Kevin Snell not returning for a second season as Angels head coach, Campbell is going to be the bench boss looking to bring the Angels their second consecutive league title.
“Stepping in and taking over the reins from an established and highly successful coaching staff always offers some operational challenges,” remarked Campbell.
“I myself did not have any pre-conceived expectations as to whether or not the returning veterans would or would not take on an increased leadership role. My main concern coming in was…How are the returning players going to respond to the loss of a championship coaching staff, and will they be receptive to the new staff?”
Any concerns that Campbell had were quickly dissolved. Upon meeting several team leaders (including Mortaza Award Winner Katie Marshall); along with his predecessor Kevin Snell at the team’s first try-out, Campbell was ready to take the plunge.
“On the day I first met Kate Marshall at our open tryout on June 1st, she, along with Stevi Schnoor and former Head Coach Kevin Snell, openly welcomed the new coaching staff into the BC Angels family.”
The 2012 LFL Canada sack leader (and Defensive Player of the Year Award Winner), there is no question that Marshall has established herself as the Angels’ franchise player. Campbell has the confidence that she can step in and take an even strong leadership role
“From that day on, Kate Marshall has consistently demonstrated natural leadership ability. She leads by example on and off the football field, and offers valuable insight to the new players in regards to their assignments, and responsibilities.
She is extremely passionate about the game of football, and shares that passion and enthusiasm with the entire team and coaching staff. That said, I don’t expect her to take on an increased leadership role, she just does it… that’s Kate Marshall.”
Although Campbell has a strong piece of the championship puzzle in Marshall, he enters the 2013 season without the Angels centerpiece on the offense. Fan favorite Stephanie Manou captured the imagination of LFL fans with her superlative rushing and strong work ethic.
Her loss is also compounded by the departure of Angels’ receiving leader Alessa Garcia. Despite a season where she won the league’s rushing title (and scored the first touchdown in LFL Canada history), Manou has opted to not suit up for 2013.
“Stephanie Manou however is no longer with the BC Angels; she officially retired from the LFL in the offseason to pursue other athletic endeavors. We wish her well.
With the loss of Manou, the torch has been passed on to returning veterans Stevi Schnoor, Mary-Anne Hanson, Heidi Nordby, Courtnee Clark, and Sara Carly.
Our coaching staff, and the BC Angels fans themselves can expect to see an increased leadership role from all of the returning players in the 2013 season.”
While Schnoor, a former member of the Canadian national rugby team, proved herself as a prime-time player in the 2012 LFL Canada championship game, her experience will be counted on to mentor the new faces coming to the Angels this season.
“All of the new players are capable of making great contributions on the field. Players like Deanna “ The Beast” Schaper-Kotter, Ayisha Wilson, Renae Lorie, Kimberly Blott and the Velludo sisters to name a few.”
Schaper-Kotter will likely become Manou’s replacement at the running back position. Wilson, Lorie and Blott shall have opportunities to contribute on defense.
The Velludo sisters, like the Sedin Twins in Vancouver hockey, should quickly emerge as fan favorites. Being given the number one, Becca Velludo is assigned as a wide receiver and defensive back. Veronica (who shall don number 14) is also going to be playing the same positions, while serving as a backup quarterback.
“There is a great deal of athleticism with the new players and we have the utmost confidence that all of new players will contribute and continue to build a solid base and a bright future for the BC Angels.”
Stability at the quarterback position is assured with the return of Mary-Anne Hanson. While Regina and Saskatoon had American-born players at quarterback in 2012, Hanson’s experience may be one key factor in the Angels’ hopes for another title.
“Winning a championship once takes dedication and commitment from all. Repeating and winning a second straight championship with every LFL Canada team looking to knock you off; (that takes) nothing short of 100% commitment to excellence. Whether that is on the field, off the field and in the gym. Or in meetings, reviewing game video and our performance.”
As every franchise in LFL Canada looks for an edge which shall help make their Legends Cup championship dreams come true, Campbell is confident that he has the winning formula.
“Preparing for one game at a time with a solid game plan, and not looking past any opponent.
Having the players’ confidence in what you are teaching, and buying into the system and philosophy always gives you an opportunity to win.”