From peewee to the pros, almost all sports have a male and female outlet. There is softball for women and baseball for men. There is women’s and men’s soccer, basketball, tennis and golf. However, for the most part, football seems to be designed strictly for males (besides the occasional female kicker, that is). The world of the National Football League shows this, as it is completely controlled by men. The fan base is dominated by the male population, and the athletes and coaches have always been strictly male — until now.
The Arizona Cardinals have shattered this stereotype by hiring Jen Welter, the first woman to coach in the NFL. Welter’s official title is training camp and preseason intern, where she will focus on coaching inner linebackers, a position played by men twice her size.
Welter played in the Women’s Football League for 14 years and is a gold medalist at the women’s football world championships. After her days playing, Welter then became an assistant coach for an indoor football team, the Texas Revolution. She also has a Ph.D. in psychology and a degree in Sports Psychology, making her more than qualified and experienced for her internship position.
Although Welter is not a full time coach (not yet anyway) and her stay with the Cardinals may be short lived, she is making tremendous strides for women in the world of sports. Few girls grow up wanting to be an NFL coach, mainly because they never imagined it would be possible. Welter has proved everyone wrong and is using her position in the NFL as an opportunity to inspire other women.
Of course, Welter is not alone in breaking the barriers for females in sports. This year Becky Hammon became the first female head coach in the NBA’s summer league, coaching the San Antonia Spurs, and Sarah Thomas is the first female referee for the NFL. These women have motivated other women across the nation to take their passions for sports to the next level. They are pioneers for the advancement of women and show that our nation truly is making progress in the equality of women and men.
Girls can now grow up and dream of coaching in the NFL or NBA. They can dream of becoming bull riders, mechanics and president. There are no longer jobs strictly for males. Welter is proof of that.