Isabelle Berube went to watch her brother practice tackle football when she was only nine.
She has not stopped embracing the sport ever since.
'I fell in love with the sport so I've been playing with guys ever since," she said.
The 16-year-old ecole-secondaire Algonquin student was recently selected as a quarterback for Team Ontario Red which will be competing at the National Women's Under-18 Football Championship in Ottawa from July 21 to 29.
Berube says the North Bay Bulldogs football program played a key role in getting her ready for this opportunity.
"I am super grateful to be part of the Bulldogs program, it's amazing," said Berube who also plays soccer.
"I had great coaching throughout the seven years that I played."
However, Berube also had the opportunity to play high school football this past year with the Algonquin Barons junior varsity team. Ryan Desbiens, the head coach of the NDA champion senior Barons team, believes Berube has what it takes to play with the top U18 players from around the country.
That was pretty obvious since Berube was the first selection for Team Ontario Red at the selection camp.
"Based on the clips I saw of her Team Ontario tryouts, I thought she stood out above the other quarterbacks," said Desbiens.
"So I figured she would be picked early on, but what an accomplishment to go first overall," he added.
"What sets Isabelle apart from many, including her male counterparts, is her focus and her desire to constantly improve. She is very receptive to coaching and consistently does the little subtle things right. I know she loves the game and she’s been playing it for many years now."
Berube was confident she would be selected high too.
"I think I adapted really well and performed well in both the camps and I'm super excited to get the recognition from the tournament," she said.
Berube, whose favourite quarterback is Patrick Mahomes, will play with the U16 Bulldogs team this summer and will continue doing quarterback training with a group including Bishop's University and Algonquin alum Andrew Robillard.
"I spend my free time practicing and developing fundamentals like footwork and stuff," she said about the one-on-one training.
She hopes this event and her success will open more doors for female football players in the area. She also credits coaches such as Christa Morgan, Clinton Major and Desbiens for helping her chase a football dream.
"With the emergence of women’s tackle football at the provincial and now competitive flag football at the university and college level (Ontario Women’s Intercollegiate Football Association), she will be able to continue pursuing her football passion beyond high school," said Desbiens.
"It is simply awesome."