From Saskatchewan to Seattle, Amanda Ruller is on quite a journey and her dream has become a reality amidst it all.
“This is my dream to be working within the NFL,” Ruller told reporters Tuesday at Seattle Seahawks practice.
Ruller is one of the Seahawks coaches added to the staff as part of the NFL’s Bill Walsh Diversity Coaching Fellowship, along with former NFL players Akeem Dent and Jonathan Saxon.
Having played for Team Canada and the Legends Football League as a running back, Ruller didn’t hesitate to help backs in on-field drills during practices.
But the 34-year-old is truly putting her best foot forward as it pertains to setting an example for women to follow her lead.
“I want to be that driving force for more women to think, ‘I can do this. I can make a career out of this,'” said Ruller, via the Seattle Times’ Bob Condotta.
Ruller is the first woman to work for Seattle as part of the fellowship. Her time in Seattle comes after she was one of nine women earlier this year to take part in the Canadian Football League’s Women in Football Program, working for the Saskatchewan Roughriders.
It’s part of an odyssey that began with her watching Roughriders games as a child. It was there and then that she asked her father if women could play football.
“He said, you can do anything the boys could do,” Ruller said, via Seahawks.com’s John Boyle. “And from there I went out and I said, ‘Can I play football? Can I play flag football?’ And I kept being told, ‘No, you can’t do this. No, you can’t do that. You can’t even volunteer to coach in football.'”
It didn’t stop Ruller, though, who’s continued on her journey despite any initial “no” she’s been given.
Ruller’s odyssey hasn’t just been a straight shot from Saskatchewan to Seattle, though. She had an important stop in Indianapolis earlier this year at the NFL Scouting Combine. It was there that she made connections and handed off her resume to hopeful employers.
It helped her arrive in Seattle.
Thus far, she’s enjoying her new surroundings and how she’s been greeted in the male-dominated setting.
“Every single player and coach and everybody here welcomed me in,” she said. “And I want to put that out there, because a lot of people ask me that question, and I want to answer it. I felt so welcomed and so put into this organization for a reason — to help these guys. A lot of these guys said they’re not ready for women to be coming up in this industry, and maybe that’s the media, but these men have been learning from women their entire lives, whether that be mothers, teachers, sisters, grandmothers. And I’m just going to be part of that journey for them now.”
Ruller has dreamed, she’s played, she’s worked, she’s learned and she’s coached.
The journey’s hardly reached its conclusion, though, as a quest remains to be completed – not just for her, but for every other woman she’s hoping to help along the way.
“For me, one of my missions is to help young girls and women feel more comfortable within football,” Ruller said. “Because when I started, I wasn’t comfortable. I didn’t understand why I didn’t belong. I didn’t understand why people kept telling me, no, I can’t be in this industry. I said, ‘Just watch me. Watch me go forward. Watch me make this something for myself.’ And I want anyone that starts in football, whether that be media, coaching, personnel, trainers, to feel like they belong here, that they’re worthy. They can see an opportunity. I never saw that growing up. So I want to be that driving force for more women to think that I can do this. I can make a career out of this.”
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