Summer 2015, and the Arizona Cardinals make an announcement about a coaching intern. Nothing too exciting about that you might think, but you'd be wrong, because this was an announcement that lit up social media, and even made the press here in the UK!
Jen Welter. That's Dr. Jen Welter as it happens.
She's the intern, and she'll join the Cardinals for preseason training camp. She's the first female coach in the NFL, and while her position is not exactly head coach, and might be seen as only a tiny breach of the male domination of the game, it's a move that must be welcomed, and after researching Welter it doesn't come as a surprise that she's the one to make the leap...
She's an achiever through and through, in life not just sports.
She has a Masters in sports psychology and a PhD in psychology, and it's not hard to see that anyone getting to that kind of level of qualification is an achiever that has put in some serious hard work!
Hang on though, if you're going to coach male American Football players, shouldn't you have played it yourself?
Well, not always, but that *is* usually the case in the NFL, and Jen's got that covered too! She played many many years in the female game, and in 2014 made history (again) by playing for the Texas Revolution, a male indoor team, making her the first woman to play in a pro male sports league in a non kicking position.
So, she's no token gesture. She's clearly someone who knows how to play hard, and knows how to work hard to get things done. You can bet she has high expectations for herself, and you can bet just as surely she will have high expectations for anyone she coaches.
Who wouldn't want someone like that on your coaching staff?
Now, of course we'll need to see how it pans out, but I've written before about the lack of female managers in soccer's Premier League in England, which is one of the richest leagues in all of sport, a move like this has to be welcomed, because once the first has done it, the second will surely follow, leading to, yep you guessed it, the third, and so on until it no longer becomes a story.
Then the women will start to rise up the level of the coaching ladder. Don't hold your breath for a female Head Coach in the NFL anytime soon, but considering her achievements so far at 37, I wouldn't put it past Jen Welter to be blazing the trail for women a good deal more before she's done!
She simply says " I want little girls everywhere knowing they can do anything, even play football."
The NFL hardly gets any press coverage here in the UK, but this story actually made it into a few of the sports pages, just showing the ripples it has made.
I say well done to the Arizona Cardinals, but an even bigger well done to Jen Welter herself. I find it impressive. Am I wrong?
You might enjoy that other article I mentioned:
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