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Women In Sports: NFL’s First Female Coach, Jen Welter, Paved The Way For Women And Her Leadership Continues

Jen Welter (AP Photo/Matt York)

Jen Welter (AP Photo/Matt York)


Take a look back at 2015 and all the accomplishments women have made in sports.

In just one year we saw the first female coach in Major League Baseball and the National Football League.  Jessica Mendoza became the first woman to provide color commentary for a nationally televised baseball game.  These are just a few of things that women did in 2015 that stood out.

For Women’s History Month, I had the honor of interviewing Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL.  Jen coached inside linebackers for the Arizona Cardinals.

Her success has led to other women obtaining coaching positions in professional men’s sports.



Like many girls, Jen grew up loving football, but she never played.  When she got to college she began playing Rugby. Despite all of the amazing accomplishments female athletes have made, the reality is female sports do not get the same recognition.  Female athletes simply don’t have the same resources that males do.  Jen, just like other female athletes learned how to hustle.

“Being a female athlete is a full-time hustle,” said Welter.  “We don’t have the same resources as male athletes.  I work by day, football by night and do schoolwork on buses.”

For some looking in, it may seem hard for female athletes to stay motivated and continue playing the sport they love.  Jen says the motivation for her and for many is chasing the dream.

“You have to realize that there’s a bigger dream,” she said. “And the women who are chasing that dream and looking to be better and be the “first” are the reason why women are where they are today.”

If you look at what the daily life of a female athlete is compared to a male, it is very different.  Female athletes have to find their own sponsors and many have to work regular jobs just to make ends meet.  It’s the dream and looking at the “bigger picture” that makes it worth it.

“You have to realize what you’re doing in terms of the bigger picture,” said Welter.

“It’s changing the way girls see themselves and how men see women,” she continued.

Jen gets pictures of little girls dressed up like football players, its small things like that, which truly show our society changing as a whole.

Finally, there are more and more powerful women stepping up into bigger roles.  You see more women being the first, and society being okay with it.

When women are being successful in so many levels and places, why would you keep them off the field and out of the game?

Jen was the first female coach in the NFL, and even though she was only there for training camp, her being the first served as the catalyst for other females to coach professional men’s sports.

“When you’re the first in something, you’re committing to being a leader,” she said.  “ You have to continue pushing the envelope for women in football and in life.”

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Diane Quail

Diane is a Staff Writer here at
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