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Russian women brave injury for American Football glory in Europe

“When you say you’re playing American-football, people ask, ‘Do we have that in Russia?’. When the girls add that it’s a women’s team, they’re just shocked!” admits the Valkyries' trainer.

Allow RTD to take you on a ride with Saint Petersburg's very own Valkyries, Russia’s leading women’s American-football team, in its quest to win the Finnish League, the toughest in Europe. You can also join in the fun as you contemplate whether this brutal contact sport's compatible with femininity.

In spite of the bruises and early starts, the players just can’t stop smiling. They come in all shapes and sizes, from the offensive linewoman who, off the field, is the chief economist for an energy company to the defensive linewoman on maternity leave or the cornerback who spends her days in a swimming pool as a physiotherapist for toddlers.

The young women explain why they're willing to pay to play. For a start, none of them can sit still, and while some love pushing through the pain, others relish the sound of clashing helmets … and enjoy beating people up!

From the initiation of new teammates to practice sessions, photo-shoots and a sleepless overnight coach trip to Finland for their first game of the season, the Valkyries never give up. The prizes are many; the chance to travel, friendship, self-confidence and even romance but most of all, just maybe, getting to lift the trophy.