Kelly Campbell back for a fifth fantastic season of football

A charter member of the Baltimore Charm, Kelly Campbell contributed three solid seasons with the club before relocating to Las Vegas. While the Sin football club are in a rebuilding mode, Campbell has provided a veteran presence which translated into a patient and dignified leadership.

Raised in Maryland, Campbell would graduate from Penn State University with a degree in Anthropology. Pulling double duty as a marketing manager for the Las Vegas Sin, she brings a strong business acumen to the franchise. Many of the Sin’s promotional appearances and efforts with non-profit organizations have been among Campbell’s efforts to reach out to the community.

Of note, she once served as the Director of Marketing the Legends Football League, helping expand the brand into regions such as Canada and Australia. She is among a group of empowering women proving that athletic women can have careers after the roar of the crowd.

Collage of Kelly Campbell through the years of her football career (Image obtained from Instagram)

Collage of Kelly Campbell through the years of her football career (Image obtained from Instagram)

Throughout her gridiron career, Campbell has enjoyed the luxury of playing alongside a pair of very popular and charismatic quarterbacks. From second-generation signal caller Angela Rypien in Baltimore to Sindy Cummings in Las Vegas, she has been surrounded by elite talent. Such talent has motivated her into becoming the leader she is today. From serving as a team captain with the Charm to gaining the league’s Most Improved Player of the Year Award in 2013, it constitutes an impressive body of work.

On statistics alone, Campbell may not appear on the leader board, but the reality is that such criteria cannot measure a player’s dedication or enthusiasm. Taking into account that Campbell is among a rare group of athletic women that have logged five seasons in the Legends Football League, her value to any team goes far beyond the numbers.

Having worked tirelessly to raise the profile of the sport from novelty to national obsession, the last five seasons have represented a labor of love for Campbell. Sharing her views on how the game has positively transformed her life on social media,

“What an incredible journey it has been, and still is. 5 years of memories: From the first tryout ever in 2010 for Baltimore, to Mexico, Canada and Australia, and of course LasVegas. Five years of wins and losses, amazing women and teammates, incredible coaches, fans and friends. So many people that will be in my life forever all because of the LFL.

Not to mention it brought me to my future. But football is so much more to me than I can express. It has helped me grow in numerous ways on and off the field. It has presented opportunities and when I look back on where I started, I am in disbelief of all that has happened for me personally, and as a league.

Seeing so many women come and go from the sport, not knowing the thousands of hours of practice, personal training, film study, painting bandanas (haha), promotional appearances, and on and on. You HAVE to be passionate to play. And to play at this level is a dream and I hope to continue to help pave the way for women in football.

Maybe one day my daughter will have options that are just wishes for me right now. Football has changed me for the better and I am grateful for the last 5 years.”

Simply the best: Kelly Campbell enjoys Golden Path trophy with Western Mustangs

A pair of back-to-back shutouts at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport nationals would prove to be the coming out party for Western Mustangs goaltender Kelly Campbell. Leading the program (known traditionally for its dominance in men’s football) to its first-ever Canadian Interuniversity Sport national title in women’s ice hockey, Campbell joins the likes of former Mustangs rugby player Barbara Mervin as female sporting heroes in Western lore.

Adding to her sterling hockey legacy is the fact that said shutouts came against the top ranked teams in CIS play, the Montreal Carabins and the McGill Martlets. While the opportunity to stifle the Carabins in the semi-finals (by a 2-0 score) was a significant accomplishment, her 38 save performance in a 5-0 blanking of the Martlets was quite possibly the biggest upset in CIS national championship history.

Despite a first period against the Martlets that saw the Mustangs outshot by a 17-4 margin, Campbell was nothing short of solid between the pipes. Her performance allowed the Mustangs confidence to believe that a win was possible. By the final buzzer, a 5-0 final cemented Campbell’s legacy as the finest goalie to suit up for the program. Overall, it was part of a superb body of work in the playoffs that consisted of 93 saves and only one goal allowed three games. As a side note, the one goal was allowed in a 3-1 win against Les Aigles Bleues de Moncton.

A jubilant Campbell celebrates after a 5-0 shutout win clinches the Golden Path Trophy for the Mustangs (Photo credit: Ted Rhodes)

A jubilant Campbell celebrates after a 5-0 shutout win clinches the Golden Path Trophy for the Mustangs (Photo credit: Ted Rhodes)

Based in London, Ontario, the Mustangs presence in Southwestern Ontario makes it one of the most impressive regions for university hockey in Canada. The region boasts the likes of traditional powerhouse Wilfrid Laurier Golden Hawks (where NCAA alum Laura McIntosh serves as a coach), the Waterloo Warriors (featuring elite goalie Rebecca Bouwhuis), the Guelph Gryphons (where Amanda Parkins stars) and the Windsor Lancers right down Highway 401.

The ability for the Mustangs to emerge as OUA champions (and eventual CIS champions) against such talent is testament to the quality of their players and coaching. Of note, no goaltender may be of such elite quality as Campbell, whose numbers placed her in the CIS Top 10 in seven different goaltending categories.

Campbell’s championship season would open with a 4-3 win against rival Waterloo on October 11. One week later, she would begin a nine-game win streak, which would snapped in a hard-fought loss against Queen’s University on November 30. During the streak, Campebll’s finest performance was a 48-save effort on November 1 against rival Laurier.

Campbell (far left) was named to the 2015 CIS First-Team All-Stars. (Image obtained from: http://en.cis-sic.ca/championships/wice/2015/releases/awards)

Campbell (far left) was named to the 2015 CIS First-Team All-Stars. (Image obtained from: http://en.cis-sic.ca/championships/wice/2015/releases/awards)

Ending the regular season with a 3-0 shutout against UOIT, Campbell’s stats reveal her true value to the Mustangs. A deeper look indicates that when registering at least 20 saves in a game, Campbell’s efforts resulted in a 12-3-0 mark. In games where she allowed one goal or less, the Mustangs registered 13 wins compared to only two losses.

In the aftermath of a remarkable run to the national title, Campbell was honored as the Tournament’s Most Valuable Player, complemented by CIS Female Athlete of the Week Honors and CIS First-Team All-Canadian honors. If the CIS had a goaltender of the year award, there is no question that honor would have also gone to Campbell.