PWHPA Explainer: Pro league status, Dream Gap Tour schedule, roster selection and more

Players from the U.S. and Canada compete in a "Rivalry Rematch" hosted by the PWHPA
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Originally published on October 14, 2022; Last updated October 19, 2022

The 2022-23 Secret Dream Gap Tour, hosted by the Professional Women’s Hockey Players’ Association (PWHPA), is underway. Competition began the weekend of October 15-16 in Montreal, Quebec, and continues on November 4-6 in Truro, Nova Scotia.

While this year’s competition will look more like a traditional hockey season, the Dream Gap Tour is not the PWHPA’s end goal. With that in mind, here are a few answers to frequently asked questions about the PWHPA, including an explainer on how rosters were determined, info on how to livestream games, a schedule of upcoming games, and an update on the organization’s long-term goal of launching a new women’s pro hockey league.


When and where is the PWHPA playing this season?

Results from the October 15-16 stop in Montreal, Quebec (Centre 21.02): 

  • October 15, 1:30 pm ET: Team Scotiabank 2, Team Sonnet 4
  • October 15, 4:15 pm ET: Team Harvey’s 2, Team adidas 4
  • October 16, 1:30 pm ET: Team adidas 0, Team Scotiabank 5
  • October 16, 4:15 pm ET: Team Sonnet 2, Team Harvey’s 3 (SO)

Two additional stops have been announced as of October 19, 2022: 

  • November 4-6: Truro, Nova Scotia (Rath Eastlink Community Centre) — Note: Truro is one hour ahead of eastern time (ET)
    • November 4, 3:30 pm ET: Team Scotiabank vs. Team Harvey’s
    • November 4, 7:00 pm ET: Team adidas vs Team Sonnet
    • November 5, 2:30 pm ET: Team Sonnet vs. Team Harvey’s
    • November 5, 6:00 pm ET: Team Scotiabank vs. Team adidas
    • November 6, 11:00 am ET: Team adidas vs. Team Sonnet
    • November 6, 2:30 pm ET: Team Harvey’s vs. Team Scotiabank
  • November 25-57: Pittsburg, Pennsylvania (UPMC Lemieux Sports Complex)
    • November 26, 12:30pm ET: Team Harvey’s vs. Team adidas
    • November 26, 3:30pm ET: Team Scotiabank vs Team Sonnet
    • November 27, 11:30am ET: Team Sonnet vs. Team adidas
    • November 27, 2:30pm ET: Team Scotiabank vs. Team Harvey’s

How can you watch PWHPA games?

Fans worldwide will be able to watch every PWHPA game this season via CBCsports.ca, the CBC Sports app, CBC Gem and the CBC Sports YouTube channel.

How were PWHPA rosters selected this year?

In a change from previous years, the four competing PWHPA teams — Team adidas, Team Harvey’s, Team Scotiabank and Team Sonnet — are no longer regionally determined.

“The goal from the beginning was really to create parity across the four teams and make it very competitive all season,” said PWHPA Operations Consultant Jayna Hefford.

While the PWHPA has traditionally used a tryout process for its regional sites, Hefford noted the timing of August’s IIHF Women’s World Championship made that complicated. The organization didn’t want to hold tryouts in July, when most players typically aren’t in hockey mode, but waiting until September wasn’t an option given that the organization’s player pool shrunk this year.

“We didn’t think (September) was fair for players who may not make a roster and then, at that point, wouldn’t have a chance to tryout for another team or another league,” said Hefford.

As a result, the PWHPA implemented a new ranking system. A nine-person selection committee — with experience in the NCAA, U Sports, and national governing bodies — began by providing the 150-plus players who registered with a skill rating and experience rating. In addition to the ranking process, players who weren’t with their respective national teams during the summer were invited to a more traditional tryout at the regional sites.

“No player in the PA knows what their ranking is, which I think is really great,” said Kristen Richards, who attended the tryout in Toronto and was ultimately named to Team Harvey’s. “So everybody kind of went into the tryout thinking, we’re gonna do our absolute best and do whatever it takes to make the team.”

Following the tryout, the PWHPA invited the top-100 players — based on their original ranking or their tryout score — to participate in the 2022-23 season.

The process of dividing the players into four 25-player rosters was also complicated, as Kristina Rutherford highlighted in this Sportsnet story, with everything from nationality to sponsorship affiliations playing a role. (Final PWHPA rosters are listed below.)

The new roster format will result in some players playing on the same team together for the first time, including the hypothetical — and thrilling — prospect of Canadian Sarah Nurse and Americans Amanda Kessel and Kendall Coyne Schofield competing on the same line for Team adidas.

“We’re mixing it up a little bit and there’s four star-studded rosters that we’re really excited about,” Coyne Schofield said ahead of the first stop in Montreal, adding that she didn’t yet know who her linemates would be.

Richards, who is based in Toronto, is personally excited to play with two players from Montreal: the legendary Marie-Philip Poulin (the “obvious” choice), as well as Karell Emard.

“We typically butt heads on the ice quite a bit, so it’ll be exciting to have her on my team this time around,” Richards said of Emard. “We always battle about who has the most penalties, too.”

How is the PWHPA organized?

Hefford serves as the PWHPA’s Operations Consultant, while the organization’s strategic decisions are made by its board, which consists of nine current and former players: Jocelyne Lamoureux Davidson, Karell Emard, Alyssa Gagliardi, Brianne Jenner, Hilary Knight, Sarah Nurse, Noora Raty, Kimberly Sass, and Kendall Coyne Schofield.

“I bring suggestions to them, or if our advisory board has suggestions, I’ll bring those to the board. And ultimately, the board decides how they want to proceed,” Hefford explained.

“I think trusting the process and trusting the leadership is a huge part of being a player and being a member of the PWHPA — and understanding that you’re not going to know the ins and outs of every conversation, every phone call,” Richards said of what it’s like for non-board members.

“As players, we’re not used to non-disclosures. … There’s some information that some players will be privy to and there’s going to be information that players aren’t. The best thing about being in the PWHPA is that my job right now is to show up, play hockey, and put the best product on the ice… while I’m trusting that the others are doing their best to build what is going to be the future of women’s hockey.”

While the nine-player PWHPA board makes the big decisions, they aren’t the people doing the groundwork or crunching the numbers on market prospects.

“We’ve spent the last year-and-a-half or so working with the team at Deloitte and other industry experts and developing our own business plan for a women’s professional league,” explained Hefford. “We felt like it was time for us to take control of our own destiny and not wish and hope for anybody else to do that. So it’s been a really empowering process for our players and our board.”

Do players make money playing in the Dream Gap Tour?

PWHPA players receive stipends for competing in the Secret Dream Gap Tour, and there is also the potential to earn prize pool money. While Hefford said that players will be compensated more this season than in the past, she noted that player contracts are still being finalized and that the organization won’t be announcing figures until that process is completed.

How close is the PWHPA to launching its own hockey league?

To be clear: the Secret Dream Gap Tour is not the PWHPA’s end goal, even if this year looks more like a traditional season.

The PWHPA formed in May 2019 after more than 200 players announced they would be sitting out the 2019-20 season, essentially boycotting the then NWHL (later rebranded as the PHF). While the Dream Gap Tour has served as a stop-gap solution in recent years, most of the organization’s work has been happening behind-the-scenes and away from social media.

In May, the PWHPA signed a letter of intent with Billie Jean King Enterprises and the Mark Walter Group, with the goal of creating a new women’s professional hockey league.

It was previously reported that a PWHPA-led league (seperate from the Dream Gap Tour) would launch in January 2023, but that timeline has since shifted, and this season’s Dream Gap Tour will continue through March.

“When I’m up close to it as a player, I wanted it (a new women’s pro league) yesterday. I think we all did,” PWHPA board member Hilary Knight told On Her Turf in August.

At the Women’s Sports Foundation Annual Gala on Wednesday night, Billie Jean King confirmed that talks with the PWHPA are ongoing. “We’re doing due diligence and we’ll see what happens,” she said.

But the connection between King and the PWHPA extends beyond their current letter of intent.

In 1970, the “original nine” in tennis — led by King — broke away from the men’s tennis tour to take a stand for equal pay, despite warnings from U.S. tennis officials.

“We were willing to give up our careers,” King remarked ahead of the first Dream Gap Tour stop, noting that she’s seen the same in the PWHPA.

“They’re willing to give up their careers for the future generations so I really admire them. … You have to visualize where you want to go, see the dream, and then you have to build it. And that’s not easy. It’s really not easy.”

This isn’t some theoretical concept for Richards, who knows she might not play in the league that eventually launches.

“For me, I hope the PA gets so good that, at some point, I don’t make this league,” she explained. “Our goal as the PWHPA was always to create something that was much bigger than ourselves.”

What will the future league include that doesn’t currently exist?

Things like a living wage and health coverage are just two bullets on the PWHPA’s laundry list of requirements. Other highlights include team medical staff, player representation, and arena standards.

“It’s very easy for a lot of people to be like, ‘This is the girls complaining. They don’t have enough, they want to make millions of dollars like the NHL.’ No, we don’t. We want basic employee rights, where we have parameters around our work day and we have access to the needs of professional athletes,” PWHPA Advisor Liz Knox told On Her Turf last spring.

“We’ve been saying for years now that it’s not just about the salaries,” echoed Hefford on Friday. “If it were about salaries, our players would be playing in various leagues around the world. It’s really about infrastructure and the resources… and that’s why it’s taking as long as it is — because those things don’t happen overnight.”

The importance of proper infrastructure has only been emphasized in recent weeks. The U.S.-Soccer commissioned Yates report detailed how the lack of basic workplace protections in the NWSL created an environment in which abuse could thrive.

Following the release of the Yates report, On Her Turf reached out to a variety of women’s pro leagues — both established and those in planning mode — about whether they have or plan implement an anti-harassment policy. PWHPA media consultant Ashley McLellan confirmed that player safety policies (including an anti-harassment policy) will be implemented from the beginning of their planned league.

“What’s happened recently with both the Yates report and the Hockey Canada situation, it’s a good reminder that we need to ensure (a strong foundation) and we have an opportunity to do it from day one,” Hefford said.

“I read some of the comments from the soccer players that they just wanted to play, they just wanted to be in a league. And our players feel the same way and that’s what’s made this so challenging is that they just want to play. I get that. As a former player, I feel the same way. But I think we also have a lot of comfort in knowing that we are doing this the right way, we are doing the work that — in our minds — has never been done for women’s professional hockey.”

PWHPA Rosters – 2022-23 Secret Dream Gap Tour

Team adidas

  • Defenders: Emily Curlett, Jessica Digirolamo, Jincy Dunne, Megan Eady, Renata Fast, Halli Krzyzaniak, Jocelyne Larocque, Meaghan Mikkelson
  • Forwards: Kendall Coyne Schofield, Samantha Donovan, Laura Dostaler, Kelly Gribbons, Jess Jones, Amanda Kessel, Sarah Nurse, Kristin O’Neill, Sarah Potomak, Jill Saulnier, Laura Stacey, Kayla Vespa, Kaitlin Willoughby
  • Goaltenders: Aerin Frankel, Maddie Rooney, Sydney Scobee, Shea Tiley
  • Staff: Matt Leitner (GM/Head Coach)

Team Harvey’s

  • Defenders: Mellissa Channell, Laura Fortino, Jacquie Greco, Savannah Harmon, Kristen Richards, Lauriane Rougeau, Lee Stecklein
  • Forwards: Emily Clark, Rosalie Demers, Jessie Eldridge, Karell Emard, Alexa Gruschow, Rhianna Kurio, Bailey Larson, Marie-Philip Poulin, Alexandra Poznikoff, Jamie Lee Rattray, Hayley Scamurra, Sophia Shaver
  • Goaltenders: Marlène Boissonnault, Ann-Renée Desbiens, Geneviève Lacasse
  • Staff: Danièle Sauvageau (GM/Head Coach)

Team Scotiabank

  • Defenders: Jaime Bourbonnais, Mélanie Desrochers, Katelyn Gosling, Megan Keller, Brigette Lacquette, Makayla Langei, Cat Quirion, Ella Shelton
  • Forwards: Victoria Bach, Alex Carpenter, Mélodie Daoust, Madison Field, Grace Graham, Rebecca Johnston, Nicole Kosta, Hayley Lunny, Kelly Pannek, Tatum Skaggs, Natalie Spooner, Blayre Turnbull
  • Goaltenders: Kristen Campbell, Amanda Makela, Emerance Maschmeyer
  • Staff: Becky McGee (GM), Dean Seymour (Head Coach)

Team Sonnet

  • Defenders: Erin Ambrose, Leah Bohlken, Lilian Braga, Emily Brown, Emma Buckles, Ella Matteucci, Nikki Nightengale, Claire Thompson, Micah Zandee-Hart
  • Forwards: Hannah Brandt, Hanna Bunton, Samantha Cogan, Demi Crossman, Iya Gavrilova, Brianne Jenner, Hilary Knight, Rebecca Leslie, Carolyne Prévost, Abby Roque, Malia Schneider, Natasza Tarnowski
  • Goaltenders: Lindsay Browning, Nicole Hensley, Erica Howe
  • Staff: Rebecca Michael (GM), Laura McIntosh (Head Coach)

Follow Alex Azzi on Twitter @AlexAzziNBC

Diana Flores looks to break down gender barriers with turn as AFC offensive coordinator in 2023 Pro Bowl

Courtesy Diana Flores
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Diana Flores admits she was surprised when she became a viral sensation last spring, courtesy of a 15-second slow-motion clip showcasing her evasive maneuvers and fancy footwork while leaving at least three defenders in the dirt during Mexico’s 2022 national collegiate flag football championship.

“I never expected someone to record that moment,” said Mexico City native Flores, who led her team – the Monterrey Tech Borregos – to their third consecutive national title as a senior last May. “I was just having fun. I was just playing the game I love and then days later to see that it was viral on the internet — it was crazy. But at the same time, it was exciting because I remember when I was younger, I didn’t have a lot of flag football role models to follow. So now, for me to be a role model for many boys and girls that play my sport is something that really makes me happy and proud and also motivates me to keep getting better.”

Flores, who led the Mexico Women’s National Flag Football Team to a gold medal at the 2022 World Games, will have the chance to promote her sport on one of the world’s biggest stages this weekend when she serves as the AFC offensive coordinator for the NFL’s 2023 Pro Bowl Games, featuring the first-ever AFC vs. NFC Flag football games on Sunday in Las Vegas.

Organized in partnership with RCX Sports, the NFL’s flag football operating partner, and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), Sunday’s Pro Bowl event will feature three 7-on-7 AFC vs. NFC flag games. Each game will be 20 minutes in length (two halves) and played on a 50-yard field with 10-yard end zones. Flores will be joined by Peyton Manning as the AFC head coach and Ray Lewis as defensive coordinator. On the NFC side, U.S. Women’s National Flag Football team quarterback Vanita Krouch will serve as offensive coordinator, with Eli Manning as NFC head coach and DeMarcus Ware as defensive coordinator.

“I think that this has been one of the best things in my life,” she recently told On Her Turf about her Pro Bowl appointment. “It is like a dream. I mean, I grew up watching football, watching the NFL, playing flag football. And now to be able to be part of all of this — it is bigger than my biggest dreams.”

Flores’ football dreams began as when she was just 8 years old. Her father — who played quarterback for the perennial football powerhouse Monterrey Tech program — took her to a practice and she fell in love with the sport. But as the time there were no teams for girls her age, so she played with girls twice her age and used it to her advantage, focusing on her own abilities and sharpening her skills. By age 14 she was playing NFL Flag in Mexico, where she was the only girl in the league, and at 15 she started playing NFL Flag in the U.S, where she finally played on an all-girls team.

ALSO FROM ON HER TURF: U.S. flag football star Vanita Krouch ‘living the dream’ ahead of NFL Pro Bowl debut as NFC coordinator

“I remember when I started playing, I used to receive a lot of like comments, directly and indirectly from other people, like, ‘Why do you play that sport? That’s not a girls’ sport, that sport is for boys, you’re get injured, you’re going to get hurt, don’t play with boys, that’s too rude.’ And the list keeps going. But my mom and dad were so supportive. They always encouraged me not to listen to anybody, to just follow my passion.

“And I think thanks to them, I’ve always had this mentality that gender doesn’t matter. It just matters how passionate you are about your dreams, how hard you work for what you want to achieve. And that you will always demonstrate what you’re made for, depending on the hard work you do. So, I’ve lived through that [negativity], I have experienced that. And I think that it has been one of my biggest blessings to be able to experience — for myself — what sport can do and how gender barriers get broken when you follow your dreams and you connect with other people through your passion.”

At just 16 years old, Flores made Mexico’s national team, playing in the first of four Flag Football World Championships – so far. Last summer at the World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, the 24-year-old Flores led Mexico to a 6-0 record, which included two wins over the U.S. women, who took silver. In the gold medal game against the United States, she completed 20 of 28 pass attempts for 210 yards and four touchdowns in Mexico’s 39-6 victory. She finished the tournament with 23 touchdown passes, the third-most among women’s teams, and she was the only starting quarterback to beat USA’s star QB, Krouch, who is 19-1 in international tournament play.

All that international experience so early in her career has given Flores a wise-beyond-her-years approach to playing flag football, a sport where she was frequently the only female player on the field and often the only Latin American as well.

“When I first came to the U.S., it was a little shocking to notice that I was probably the only Latin American girl playing,” she recalls. “But I think that it was easy for me because I got all the support from my coaches and my teammates. And since a young age, I think that I started to realize that sometimes what you do is for something bigger than yourself. That’s why you have to always give your best, in any situation. Even at that young age, I understood that I was representing more than myself on the field, I was representing Latin American people, Latin American girls in a sport that [many people thought] was meant to be for boys.”

RELATED: NFL still pushing for Olympic flag football with a chance ahead

One door Flores hopes to help open is the one leading to the Olympics. Flag football is on the short list being considered for inclusion in Los Angeles in 2028 Los Angeles. As an ambassador for flag football for the NFL and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), she’s participated in talks with the International Olympic Committee, and just last month she was joined by First Lady Dr. Jill Biden in Mexico City where they joined forced to promote women’s empowerment and inclusion.

“I think for me, that experience is one of my top three,” she said of spending time with Biden. “I call them gifts from life, something that you didn’t expect it to happen, and somehow, one day, you’re right there in front of the First Lady. I admire her for what she does for boys and girls, for empowering woman and giving opportunities for everybody to achieve their dreams. So it was truly an honor to meet her, and also to be able to keep impacting my sport, not only on the field, but [off] the field, and have the opportunity keep inspiring others and keep impacting the world.”

As for what she hopes fans at the Pro Bowl and viewers at home take away from Sunday’s flag football showcase, Flores hopes they’ll see the characteristics that made her fall in love with flag in the first place: creativity, speed, agility, teamwork, passion and a lot of heart.

“I hope to show to all little girls and women that dreams come true, that nothing is impossible, to keep inspiring and opening opportunities and doors for women in sports, especially in the world of the NFL and football and flag football,” she says. “We’re going to make history, and I am so proud and happy for that. I’m really hoping that it is just the first step, not only for me, but for all the women that are coming after me.”

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Flag football star Vanita Krouch ‘living the dream’ ahead of NFL Pro Bowl debut as NFC coordinator

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When Vanita Krouch got the news that she was named NFC offensive coordinator for the 2023 Pro Bowl Games, featuring the first-ever AFC vs. NFC Flag football games on Sunday, the U.S. Women’s National Flag Football team quarterback admits her jaw nearly hit the ground.

And then she realized something even more profound.

“For the longest time, thinking about the moment, everything, you’re like, ‘Oh, my gosh, this is a dream come true. Is this really happening?’” said the 42-year-old Krouch, known as the “Tom Brady of flag football” with a 19-1 record as USA’s starting quarterback in international tournaments since 2018.

“But then I started thinking to myself: You know what? None of us grew up thinking of this as a dream to obtain. So really, it’s kind of reversed where I’m living a dream. I get to be a pioneer in this growth of flag football for all and inclusion for all, youth and adults, [women and men]. It’s such an inclusive sport, and I get to be a part of this growth and still actively play. It’s exciting. I’m literally living the dream. I’m very much like, ‘Guys, don’t pinch me. Let me keep sleeping.’”

Organized in partnership with RCX Sports, the NFL’s flag football operating partner, and the International Federation of American Football (IFAF), Sunday’s Pro Bowl event will feature three 7-on-7 AFC vs. NFC flag games. Each game will be 20 minutes in length (two halves) and played on a 50-yard field with 10-yard end zones. Krouch will be joined by Eli Manning as NFC head coach and DeMarcus Ware as NFC defensive coordinator. On the AFC side, Mexico Women’s National Flag Football quarterback Diana Flores will serve as offensive coordinator, with Peyton Manning as head coach and Ray Lewis as defensive coordinator.

But Krouch’s journey to the Pro Bowl stage began under the unlikeliest of circumstances and was inspired by her own family odyssey, which began in Cambodia during the horrific regime of the Khmer Rouge in the late 1970s. Krouch’s mother, Phonnary Krouch, fled the country with three young sons in tow, running by night and hiding by day to escape, finding safety initially at a refugee camp in the Philippines. That’s where she welcomed Vanita, in September 1980, and two months later the family made its way to the United States. Krouch’s father exited the picture upon their arrival in America, leaving Phonnary to raise four children alone.

“In a nutshell, my mom is an amazing woman,” said Krouch, who first found sports via an elementary school flyer advertising youth soccer in Carrollton, Texas. “On the journey, she had a lot of trials, tribulations, … and after our dad left us, it was just mom and four kids in this little one-bedroom apartment. So, it was a challenge. I’m just so amazed by her strength and will to never give up.”

She also credits her mom for standing up to then-stereotypical notions that Asian girls should not play sports.

“I’m just thankful, honestly, that my mom allowed me to break the Asian culture barriers of a woman playing sports because that’s not easy,” she said. “She faced a lot of backlash from the community. But she said, ‘Hey, my child’s making good grades. She’s healthy, she’s good. She’s staying off the streets. I don’t see a problem.’ And she just let me do it. I was just lucky to have a mom that let me spread my wings.”

Krouch also had a few mentors along the way. Her elementary school PE teacher, Toni Neibes, stepped in to pay for those initial soccer fees and continued her support as Krouch transitioned to basketball in the fourth grade. She fell in love with the sport and excelled at it as well, eventually earning a full scholarship to play college basketball at Southern Methodist University. She wears the No. 4 to this day in honor of Niebes, who wore the same number as a young athlete. She also credits her fourth-grade teacher, Judy Ward, as having a lasting impact after the teacher made a habit out of showing up for her youth basketball games.

She pays tribute to them both through her clothing line, 4Ward Apparel, which features ever-changing collections emblazoned with relevant slogans encouraging female empowerment, inclusion and her personal mantra of “paying it forward” – something she does with the line itself. Each month, Krouch donates a portion of the sales to individuals, families or organizations in need.

After graduating SMU in 2003, Krouch continued to play basketball in semi-pro and adult leagues, but she was still searching for something to satisfy her competitive drive. She and a former college teammate stumbled on flag football during a Google search for local Dallas-area activities, and the rest – as they say – is history.

“It was like I drank the Kool Aid and I never looked back,” she says of her start in flag in 2006. “It’s just like every game, every play is a new challenge, and it’s addictive for a competitor, so I just fell in love with flag. I actually think I’m way better at flag than I was at basketball.”

She moved into the quarterback position through some sly maneuvering by current USA Women’s Flag Football head coach Chris Lankford. They were playing together in a local tournament when he “tricked” her into the QB position, despite Krouch knowing “zero football language.”

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“One day I showed up for a tournament and I asked, ‘All right, guys, who’s our quarterback?’ And he says, ‘We’re looking at her,’” she remembers. They kept the plays simple, and her team made it to the playoffs that season. Krouch has been a QB ever since.

Krouch joined the national team in 2016 and was inducted into the National Flag and Touch Football Hall Fame that same year. Last year at the 2022 World Games in Birmingham, Alabama, a 41-year-old Krouch set a new mark as the oldest Flag football player, man or woman, in the games, and she ranked second among women with 25 touchdown passes at the tournament where USA won silver.

She aims to bring that expertise to the field at the Pro Bowl games, where she’s looking forward to seeing NFL players take on the flag football style type of plays. “Flag is a very finesse, quick game, a lot of footwork, and these guys can’t grab or hold, no downfield contact or downfield block or anything off the line,” she explains. “So it’s going to be exciting just to see skill for skill, footwork for footwork, defense to offense, and to see flag football language with those type of elite athletes.”

As for the biggest challenge, Krouch believes it will be crafting a concise playbook and language that puts everyone on the same page. “A challenge for me is getting a coach’s mindset,” she adds, “I have to actually come up with plays ahead of time and I don’t usually have premeditated plays in my head. I just read it so for me to tell Kirk Cousins or Geno Smith [what to do], it will be different, you know?”

But beyond the Pro Bowl, Krouch is excited that flag is being considered for inclusion as an exhibition sport in the 2028 Summer Olympics. While she’s keeping a hopeful eye on that development, she’s also working to shape the next generation of potential athletes as a physical education teacher at La Villita Elementary in Irving, Texas.

RELATED: NFL still pushing for Olympic flag football with a chance ahead

“It’s an honor to be a role model – for other youth flag football players, for my students, both boys and girls,” says Krouch. “Then at my campus and in my community, it’s amazing to be able to break the barrier of like, ‘Asian women can’t do this.’ And then to be at my age, still doing this, I feel very lucky and blessed. …I think I still got some years in me.”

As for what she hopes viewers and fans walk away with after watching the Pro Bowl flag games this weekend, Krouch feels confident folks will walk away enlightened by the show.

“I just hope that they have fun with it,” says Krouch. “And for those who don’t know flag to be like, ‘Wow, that’s really amazing. Maybe that’s something I really can get my son or daughter into at a young age.’ So I just hope that they see that the sport is real – it’s not just something we play at recess. It’s a real thing now. I think they’ll see that the world loves it, the world can play it and is playing it.”

Be sure to check back with On Her Turf later this week when we catch up with AFC coordinator and Mexico Women’s National Flag Football Team quarterback Diana Flores.  

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