Dairy Farmers of Canada present Fuelling Women Champions: Emily Ricketts Feature
Emily Ricketts has been playing rugby since she attended Abbey Park High School in Oakville. From then on, she has played at various levels of the sport and has enjoyed a quite successful career. The Oakville native went on to play with the local Crusaders Rugby Club, the McMaster Marauders and the Ontario Senior Women’s team.
Ricketts has been playing sports for most of her life, but rugby was first introduced to her in Grade 10 when a women’s rugby program was formed at the school. After graduation, she made the jump to Ontario University Athletics (OUA) to play for the McMaster Marauders.
It was with McMaster that Emily really hit her stride. Attending university for an Honours in Kinesiology, she also played for the Marauders Varsity Women’s team. Ricketts stood out in her five years, being named an OUA All-Star in 2013, 2014 and 2015. With the Marauders, she took home two OUA Gold Medals and 1 CIS Gold Medal.
Emily joined the Ontario Storm (now Blues) team in 2013 – in her second year at university. She has since remained with the team and in their most recent Canadian Rugby Championship (CRC), Ricketts started at scrumhalf and led the team to a perfect campaign and eventual CRC Gold Medal.
In 2016, she played scrumhalf – after being converted from the centres – on a Senior Women’s team which just narrowly missed out on a CRC Gold Medal on home soil. In her previous years, the Senior Women played in the Canada East Regional Championship (2015) and the National Women’s League (2013 and 2014).
Sports were always accessible to Ricketts growing up and she took advantage of almost every opportunity she had.
“Growing up I played sports that were available to me, including soccer, volleyball, field hockey, basketball, cross country, track and field, swimming, dance and figure skating,” Emily explained.
A multi-sport athlete by all definitions, Ricketts was able to take her rugby game to the next level with opportunities at the university level and the provincial level with the Blues. She also is beginning to be noticed at the National level, recently being named to Rugby Canada’s 2016 Senior Women’s long list.
With the ups and downs that an athletic career, there are always challenges along the way and sometimes there are reasons to quit. Ricketts noted that she has watched friends and teammates drop out of sports because of many reasons, including but not limited to time commitments, school and inclusivity. She hasn’t considered stopping, though.
“I’ve always loved playing sports and never considered stopping,” Ricketts said. “My parents always encouraged myself (and my siblings) to do what we love and put 100% into it.”
With the journey that has been Ricketts’ career, there have been many role models along the way and people that have contributed to her overall success. Although no one individual stands out, Emily is quick to reference her teammates and coaches as role models along the way.
“I’m constantly inspired by my teammates and coaches (past and present, both female and male),” she explained. “What inspires me are the people who put in the effort every day, are passionate about what they do and impact others in a positive way.”
“The more significant role models in my life came later in my rugby career (in university),” she went on to explain. “I think it’s important for young girls to have access to role models who demonstrate that you can have athletic excellence while maintaining balance. Young girls should know that you can pursue academia, athletics and maintain a social life! You don’t need to choose one thing.”
Ricketts also recognized that women’s sports have a long way to go. The changes that she wants to see in women’s sports are the accessibility and higher quality coaching at lower levels.
She also left us with some advice for young girls aspiring to play rugby at a high level.
“Just keep playing. Play as much as you can at any level and have fun doing it!”
ABOUT FUELLING WOMEN CHAMPIONS
As champions of healthy living, providing nutrition and playing an active role in our communities, Canada’s dairy farmers’ mission is to see that no hurdle exists that might hinder the passion for the game. The goal: to support women’s sports so they will become more watched, more appreciated and more financially stable, from the grassroots level to the elite level.
Visit womenchampions.ca to learn more
ABOUT RUGBY ONTARIO
Rugby Ontario is the provincial sports governing body responsible for the organization of rugby in Ontario. Our mission is to establish a stronger identity for rugby in Ontario by promoting the sport’s core values and by fostering a culture of inclusiveness and excellence on and off the field of play.
To learn more, visit http://www.rugbyontario.com/
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Communications Coordinator - Rugby Ontario